If you’re a Windows user and the videos you post online look great before you upload them but faded or washed-out when played back on YouTube or Vimeo, this may interest you.
I’ve been working with video for a few years now but it’s only recently that I’ve begun creating content for YouTube and I wanted to share an issue that caused me some major headaches. Every video that I uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo looked great when played directly from my PC, but then looked like crap when I viewed in a web browser (Google Chrome, to be specific.)
|Watch the complete video|
Something was compressing the luminance levels from their original full range of 0-255 to the old NTSC broadcast standard of 16-235. The result was my videos all looked faded like a shirt that’s been washed one time too many. Blacks had turned dark grey and whites were dingy — the overall contrast was just ‘off’.
At first I thought everyone would be seeing my work the same crappy way I was until a buddy over at Spectracal confirmed the problem was at my end when he measured the luminance levels of my work in their web browsers and found my videos were in fact, unaltered. Pure black measured 0 and pure white measured 255. Good to know, except my monitor is hardware color calibrated in the sRGB color space, I work in the latest releases of Adobe products, and my NVIDIA graphics card is new and using the latest drivers. So what the heck was going on?
I pored over the YouTube creator guidelines and copious user forums and came up with nothing but more frustration. Apparently I was doing everything right and no one else was seeing what I was seeing. Grrrrr… It was only when I Googled “youtube luminance shift” that I started seeing posts from people who were not only suffering with the same problem as myself, they had similar hardware as well.
Digging deeper I discovered that NVIDIA has included settings in their control panel that exist solely to adjust the look of DVD video displayed on your computer (I never watch DVDs on my computer so I was totally clueless.) Unfortunately these settings do not discriminate between DVD video and video content streamed from sites like YouTube. To sum up, NVIDIA [in their infinite wisdom] decided it would be just awesome to make video played in web pages ‘default’ to the same low dynamic range as DVDs.
Okaaayyy… = |
Anyway, a few clicks in the NVIDIA control panel solved the problem and now mine [and everyone else’s] videos look great.
1.) Click Start, then the Control Panel (if you can see the NVIDIA Control Panel icon then skip to 3.)
2.) Under View by: select Category then Large icons.
3.) Click the NVIDIA Control Panel then under Video select Adjust video color settings.
4.) Click the button for With the NVIDIA settings then select the Advanced tab.
5.) Under Dynamic Range select Full (0-255).
6.) Select the Gamma tab and make sure all three ranges are set to 1.00
7.) Finally, select the Color tab and check that:
Brightness = 50% Contrast = 50% Hue = 179 Saturation = 50%
When you’re done go to the lower right corner of the NVIDIA window and click Apply. Wait for the Apply button to disappear then close the Control Panels and you’re done.
|Step 1||Step 2||Step 3|
That’s it! YouTube and Vimeo videos should now playback in your computer’s full luminance range — blackest black (0) should appear black and brightest white (255) should appear white.
One final note: If you watch DVDs on your computer these changes will obviously mess with the picture however, many software DVD players have their own controls for adjusting color, brightness, and contrast that will allow you to compensate for the changes described here.
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