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Quality loss after color correction/grading in Premiere Pro
  • Hi,

    I do my color grading (color correction) in the same place where I do my montage - Adobe Premiere Pro CS4. The effects I use are Three-way Color Corrector (for color grading) and ProcAmp (for Brightness, Contrast, Saturation), in order to achieve more "cinematic" look. But I have noticed that the video that comes out looses sharpness and quality, when compared to the original footage. Has anyone noticed this with Premiere Pro?

    Am I missing something? Is Premiere Pro a bad tool for color grading? If so, what would you recommend?

    (I'm using GH13, usually shooting in NOSTALGIC (Contrast -2, Sharpness -2, Saturation +2, Noise Reduction -2) and sometimes in SMOOTH (Contrast -2, Sharpness -2, Saturation +-0, Noise Reduction -2).)

  • 7 Replies sorted by
  • If you have After Effects, look into Color Ghear for color grading. Its very useful and when you buy it, you gain access to tutorials that will help you use it.

  • What did you render as?

  • @sam_stickland I always render as .MP4 files. These are my rendering settings for most of my clips: Crop - Top:130 Bottom: 133 (that gives me a nice 2.35:1 aspect ratio) Format: H.264 (not "H.264 Blue-ray" option) Preset:Custom Export video [tick]. Export Audio [tick], Open in Device Central [no tick] Summary: NTSC, 1920x812, 23.976 [fps], Progressive AAC, 160 [kbps], 48kHz, Stereo VBR, 1 Pass, Target 32.00, Max 40.00 [Mbps] (I must say, I don't know how to increase these) Pixel Aspect Ratio: Square Pixels (sometimes I set it to Widescreen 2.21:1)

  • Well, if you're coloring shadows and adjusting curves especially in the shadows / midtones, it's going to come out softer that's for sure. I notice that myself, but it's a reasonable drop compared to the original footage. Why don't you upload the same shot, ungraded and graded so we can see what you're referring to exactly.

  • Also try rendering out at least part of your footage using a loseless codec (perhaps Lagarith or HQX) and check it isn't the render, although I doubt it given the bitrate you are using.

  • Is it just a loss of sharpness you're experiencing? Could be the cropping you're doing during export. I'm not sure how it works in Premiere, but in FCP I would take my edited sequence that's 1920x1080, create another 2.35:1 sequence (1920x816) and use that to cookie-cutter my edited sequence. Basically, crop before you export. Then, I export using the current dimensions (w/ square pixels). Sort of the same thing you're trying to accomplish, but more exacting 'cuz you can actually see the final image dimensions and any sharpness loss before you export (and you will lose sharpness due to the crop, but normally it shouldn't be too bad). Also make sure there's no deinterlacing going on.

  • Just checking .. do you have 'Maximum Bit Depth' and 'Maximum Render Quality' checked in the sequence settings? By default they are not selected.

    I have premiere (CS5.5 production suite) .. but don't use it .. media composer .. and I am learning after effects. You want all colour calculations performed at the highest bit depth