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When exporting a QuickTime movie from Avid Media Composer, you may want to take a quick look at your color levels.  Chances are you may be exporting with ‘safe broadcast’ levels.  The RGB equivalent of broadcast levels are 16 (black) – 235 (white).


Save Broadcast levels are only necessary if you plan on â€˜broadcasting’ your program.  For example, if you’re producing a ½ show for Sportsman Channel.

If you are producing a project that is going directly to DVD, or a multimedia movie, you may want to consider adjusting the range of luma levels.  Otherwise, the blacks won't be 'super black', and your whites will be slightly 'grey'.

You can see the difference in this example when the luminance levels are stretched ot use the entire luminance range of 0-255 instead of 16-235.


The black levels on the left are washed out as a result of using a maximum luminance value of 16.  

An easy fix is to apply a ‘color effect’ to a top most track within the Media Composer timeline.  This will allow you to adjust the luminance levels for an entire sequence, without have to place the same effect onto each segment.  This is also referred to a ‘submaster’ effect.  Better yet, you’ll only need to render the top color effect.


*In an un-related note, you can also use Media Composer submaster effects to apply any sort of filter to an entire sequence.  For example, a film-grain effect, or wide-screen effect.

Enter into ‘Effects Mode’ by pressing the effect editor button.  Then set the Luma Range to 0-255.  Pull the white point slider to 255, and the black point slider to 0.    You should see an immediate improvement within the available color space.


Also, before you export your final QuickTime movie, make sure the Avid Media Composer export setting is set to export as 'RGB' levels.


In a related note,  after you export your QuickTime movie, I recommend that you check your QuickTime movie player preferences to ensure you are viewing your QuickTime movies at the highest quality.  The high-quality playback setting is turned off as a default setting within QuickTime.


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Media Composer Windows XP install 3GB was the previous entry in this blog.

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