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Quicktime pro gamma shift bug no fix

Posted on February 24, 2011  7 Comments
Filed under Education

[update] NONE OF THE TRICKS ARE WORKING but as I said it in the comments, there is nothing to worry about, it is only a problem with Quicktime when playing videos locally. If you watch them with a webbrowser like Google Chrome, the gamma doesn’t shift.

Some of you might have noticed a realllly annoying bug with Quicktime pro when outputting to H264. No matter what compression, the video looks “washed out” or covered by a white layer.

This problem seems to be due to the latest version of Quicktime pro that would assume the video you are importing has a Mac gamma (1.8) instead of the PC one (2.2).

A trick has been running around consisting in tweaking the Blend and Straight alpha settings but the most picky of us realized that the blacks still weren’t as black as they should be.

I found what seems to be the solution in the looooong series of comment following Andrew Krammer’s original post with the above trick.

One of commentator is suggesting to fool Quicktime pro by first opening a Tiff picture then importing the video. This way Quicktime doesn’t apply that screwed up gamma.

1) Create a small (32×32 pixels or so) tiff or bitmap – doesn’t matter what color, just make it 8bit and RGB
2) Open a new player and ‘Open image sequence’ and select the tiff/bitmap. set the frame rate to whatever you’re going to be working in
3) Open your desired quicktime in another player, ’select-all’ and ‘copy’ the clip
4) Back in you ‘tiff/bitmap’ movie hit ‘add to movie’ – this will add the video over the top of the tiff/bitmap on a second video layer
5) Export using your desired codec
All going well the gamma will match your original video very closely

Thanks Andrew Stewart and Andrew Krammer

As a side note, I have a conspiracy theory on this but let’s not get into that :-)


7 Responses to “Quicktime pro gamma shift bug no fix”

  1. Joost on February 24th, 2011 06:29

    Hey Olive, I will for sure try this new trick. I was always manually trying adjust the brightness during exporting to get the colors to look a bit normal again. It’s pretty annoying that Apple has still not fixed this issue. I had the idea this colorshift did not happen on PC’s. Only on Mac’s when converting to H264.

  2. Karim on February 24th, 2011 09:04

    Enfin, une explication a ce problème!!!
    merci camarade.

  3. Olivier Ladeuix on February 24th, 2011 09:52

    so this is also happening on Mac?!? what the hell! Is the video market so tiny Apple doesn’t care about it?

    I have a bad news…. the tiff trick is not working here…..

  4. Olivier Ladeuix on February 24th, 2011 11:56

    hehe. GOOD NEWS!!!! This is a non issue! The problem only happens in Quicktime player not when you play the video through Google Chrome or Firefox for example ;-)

  5. Dan Harris on February 24th, 2011 19:13

    Arg! This is something that has bothered me for a long time also :-(. Good to hear it’s only playing in Quicktime that does it… but that raises a really good question. Why is it Broke? it’s been that way for years!!

  6. Elisabeth on March 21st, 2011 12:04

    Wow,the “TIFF” tip does work! We used to switch the visual settings to “straight alpha” (in the Movies Properties menu from Quicktime Pro) to bypass the washed color issues in H264. It worked for a couple of months but lately, this solution caused video lagging problems… J’étais vraiment découragée! :(

    I used a compression NONE Quicktime on a PC to test your tip… One that gave me headaches last week with wrong color/bad playback! I will do test it with others codecs. Merci beaucoup pour cette merveilleuse solution! :))

  7. Olivier Ladeuix on March 22nd, 2011 05:09

    Hey Elisabeth, like I wrote in the comments, the bug is only a visual problem when using the standalone version of Quicktime. The video actually has the correct gamma embedded.

    If you drop the video onto Google Chrome or probably any other browsers, you will find out that the video will display with the correct gamma. I share all my videos online so that doesn’t bother me at all. All the other tricks are no good workarounds for local playback as they will either require the CPU to work harder or destroy the colour balance.

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