For the last few months I’ve been shooting using a Hybrid Log Gamma color1 profile to shoot footage in the Rec 2020 color space. After importing footage into Final Cut I’d then convert clips to a Rec 709 color space before using a technical LUT (Leeming) to correct it.
Everything was going swimmingly, or that is to say I’d not encountered any issues with this approach. Not until Final Cut updated to v10.4.7 which included ‘Improved HDR Support’ anyway.
I wasn’t aware of the changes in the update2, had I been I would likely not have seen an issue anyway. My working color space remained set as Standard and I carried on as usual.
After importing new footage from a recent family holiday I noticed no difference, until a short while later, after background rendering had transcoded the clips to produce High Quality Media.
Some of the clips, not all but a good few, had changed in the browser had developed a strong yellow tinge with blown highlights and crushed blacks. I had no idea why they’d suddenly changed and in the first instance I assumed I’d made some horrible mistake while shooting that was only now being brought to light. Other clips also looked wrong, though not as drastically, while the remainder looked okay.
First off I checked the mp4 files from the camera. No weird color casts there. Next I opened the Library in question in Finder using ‘Show Package Contents’ and navigated to the High Quality Media folder for the project and deleted some of the offending clips files before going back into Final Cut Pro and re-creating the High Quality Media from there. This led in most cases to the same result.
Next I tried going to the original RAW files, ‘right’ clicking to bring up the context menu, choosing ‘Services’ and then ‘Encode Selected Video Files’. In the dialog that appears I chose the Apple ProRes setting then once the .mov file was produced I copied it into the Library Package Contents overwriting the dodgy Final Cut transcoded version and I was back in business.
Yesterday Apple released a new version, which amongst other things lists ‘Improves reliability when working with Sony XAVC media’ as one of the changes. There isn’t any more detail on what the reliability issues were, but it’s quite likely transcoding was one, if not all of them.
Cine 2 and Other Sony Color Spaces
Though the issue I encountered might have been solved in version 10.4.7 of Final Cut (which I just checked the App Store for the update and it’s not yet available to me), I’m still going to try the Cine 2 profile on my Sony A6400 (with Leeming LUT recommended color profile adjustments) for awhile to see if it’s easier to work with and what the difference is, if any, to my untrained eye.
I initially went with HLG (and the Leeming LUTs for correction purposes) as soon as I bought my Sony camera after watching the excellent Gerald Undone’s excellent guide to ‘Working with Sony Color Modes’ by Gerald Undone and I highly recommend checking it out as a great resource on color spaces and grading as well as correctional LUTs and more.