Category Archives: Business of Photography

How to color grade Premiere Pro projects if you bought a new 5K i-mac.

There has been a lot of recent discussion on the Adobe Premiere Pro forum about why folks working on newer i-macs are seeing pretty radically different color in the Premiere Pro program monitor compared to exported videos played back in QuickTimePlayer, vimeo, & YouTube. The reason they weren’t seeing the problem so much on their 2011 i-macs or their older MacBook Pros is because those screens are not as wide gamut as the new i-mac pro & mac book pro which now have what Apple is calling P3 color.

Here is the problem, since PP Pro doesn’t allow you to make the program monitor adjust for your wide gamut screen, what happens is that the Rec 709 space, being a relatively narrow color space, (like sRGB), is inappropriately mapped to the wide gamut screen. As you can see in Photoshop, if you have an sRGB image file but you ASSIGN a wide gamut profile, such as Adobe RGB, you will see that the image becomes very saturated. This is essentially what is happening in Premiere Pro on your new i-mac.

This is a huge fail on Adobe’s part. Apple’s Final Cut Pro is color managed, so your footage looks correct as you are working on it. Adobe can fix this easily, why they don’t is a mystery. Imagine if Adobe Photoshop wasn’t color managed. How much fun would that be?

To make matters worse, it isn’t possible to make your new i-mac emulate sRGB, so if you are using Adobe Premiere Pro, you must have a second monitor capable of emulating sRGB or rec.709 so you can color grade accurately.

Some people have been using an adjustment layer that sits on top of the Premiere Pro timeline that attempts to adjust the color to emulate what you would see on a screen that is emulating sRGB or rec.709. While this might get you sort of in the ballpark, it seems unlikely to be accurate enough to count on for commercial color grading.

When this topic comes up in the Premiere Pro forums, the recommendation from Adobe is that if you are working commercially, you should have a broadcast monitor to display the program monitor. While this is true, it isn’t particularly welcome news to video professionals who bought new 5K i-macs thinking that they would be an all-in-one solution to commercial postproduction. Besides, real broadcast monitors are pretty expensive. Eizo makes a great one for around $5700.00. That’s more than the entry-level i-mac pro. Fortunately, you can get a workable solution for much less by using a second monitor that can actually emulate sRGB or Rec.709. I have an older Eizo that fits the bill. A better solution might be something like the NEC Multisync PA272W.

IMHO, every video editor should be working on at least 2 screens, so the practical work-around while we wait for Adobe to come to their senses, is to have a second screen which would be actually profiled to sRGB or Rec.709 and that is where you should put the program monitor panel.

You should keep your i-mac screen set to the i-mac profile, or better yet, profile is to something like D65, 120 cd/m2, and native gamma. That way, your web browsers will look good, & your playback with Quick Time will look good, and so will YouTube and vimeo.  VLC, will look over saturated on the i-mac screen since it has the same problem as Premiere Pro, namely being stuck in Rec 709, but it will look good on the second screen that is emulating sRGB. This may not be as belt and suspenders a solution as a dedicated broadcast monitor, but at least your clients won’t question your abilities.

I hope this helps!

Highly Recommended: Peter Krogh’s Adobe Lightroom Multi-Catalog workflow e-book

My longtime friend and colleague (UPDIG, dpBestflow), Peter Krogh is a brilliant thinker and accomplished teach of digital imaging workflow.  Following up from his highly acclaimed Dam Books, Peter is at it again with his release of the Lightroom Multi-Catalog e-book.  Clearly and concisely written, the e-book also contains 47 short how-to videos which show Peter’s workflow recommendations in action.

I have been advising folks for some time now that if they shoot lots of photos and are not using Lightroom, then in my opinion, they are making their life more difficult.  The caveat is that it takes some time and effort to learn all the nuances of this surprisingly deep program especially with regard to managing multiple catalogs.

Peter’s book is divided into 2 sections; 4 chapters which will deepen your understanding of how Lightroom works, followed by 5 Workflow sections that show how to execute the multi-catalog workflow that is right for you. If any part of the written explanation leaves you unsure or scratching your head, just go ahead and watch the excellent demonstration video that accompanies the chapter or section and you will understand what you need to do and how to do it, guaranteed.

Although I have been using Lightroom since version 2, I still learned a few new tricks from this e-book that have benefited my workflow. Keep in mind that this e-book focuses on image file management and Lightroom catalog management and not on how to develop image files. There are other books and tutorial videos for that. Those other books and videos, however, don’t address the nuts and bolts of organizing and preserving your digital images and preserving the work you do to them. Peter’s book is unique in that respect- which in my mind makes it uniquely valuable to amateur and pro alike.


Adobe Creative Cloud did not cause the sky to fall

Most of the dust has settled around Adobe’s announcement that CS6 would be the last non-subscription version of it’s software and would be replaced by Creative Cloud (CC) which is subscription only. There was a lot of concern in some quarters that this was anti-consumer, or anti-consumer choice, but I don’t see it that way. Much of these opinions seemed to come from two factions, those who are running marginal businesses and who tended to buy upgrades only every few years, and the Luddite faction that have a hard time with change.

In my view, $50.00 per month for EVERYTHING ADOBE MAKES is a DEAL. If your creative business cannot support $600 a year for critical software, (without which you could not even be in business), then you should probably consider doing something else with your life.

A big advantage to the subscription service is that updates can be rolled out continually. We accept this for almost all other software, including the OS, so it makes sense here as well. Speaking for myself, I find that small incremental updates are a lot easier to deal with then the 2-3 days of installation/learning curve that used to happen under the old regime of 18-24 month major updates. Hopefully this aspect will encourage Adobe to be more assiduous with bug fixes as their software is buggier (but also more complex) than most.

Part of the concerns that people had hinge on some other things, such as Adobe’s very bad reputation for customer service (it sucks), and with concerns about how CC works with regard to your internet connection (or lack of in certain cases like extreme travel). Most of these concerns go away when people come to understand that the software is local on your machine and that it doesn’t stop working if you are not connected to the Internet, even for extended periods. There have been a few hitches/glitches with the authentication process. I, myself, had a bad day where the authentication server was down just as my CC called home, causing my Adobe Premiere Pro to lose all its presets making it unusable. However after only two hours on hold, I was able to get customer service to fix the problem. Adobe does seem to be fixing these issues and making the authentication process more robust.

It would be nice if Adobe would improve it’s customer service, however, and I have a few ideas about how they can do that- stay tuned.

YouSendIt sucks Bandwidth & the work-around

Seems that living the digital life, as we must do now, requires us to deal with a steady stream of curve balls. When digital delivery of image files became mainstream a few years ago, I was very happy not to have to make those end of the day screaming runs to the nearest FEDEX box.

All was good until recently I noticed that when I sent files via YouSendIt, a popular FTP utility service, the rest of my internet activities came to a halt. YouSendIt (YSI for short) would max out my upload bandwidth and the result was that I couldn’t even send or receive emails, much less follow up on Kim Kardashian’s latest fashion mistakes while idly waiting for files to be delivered.

If it was just my digital life that was on hold, it wouldn’t be so bad, but I share the network with my web designer wife, and she gets in a really bad mood when the Internet shuts down. At first, I blamed Comcast, my ISP, since they have been implicated in nefarious plots to “shape” web traffic. Maybe they had me figured for a uTorrent type and threw a switch every time I hit “send”. Hours of tech calls convinced me that Comcast wasn’t to blame, so I turned my attention to YSI. Their tech people finally admitted that it was possible that their express service, with its increased upload speed, could use up all the available bandwidth.

What YSI really needs to do is either limit the upload speed to something like 80% of available bandwidth, or better yet, provide an upload throttle -much like vimeo does- so that the user can choose the ratio of speed vs. lack of internet for him/her self.

Since that though hasn’t occurred to the YSI folks yet (or maybe they don’t want to go to the trouble to implement it) I searched for a work-around. I found that web based FTP utilities, including the YSI web based utility sent files at about 50% of the upload speed of the YSI Express application so the problem was avoided, but at the cost of double the time to send files.

My current strategy is to use the web based YSI during the day (especially if the web designer was online) and to use the Express application late at night or when the resident web designer was taking a lunch or gym break.

If anyone out there has other thoughts or solutions, I’d love to hear them. You can email me at: