I woke up this morning with this twitter mention on my phone this morning:
@videoaaron Need a 3rd opinion.Is there any way to properly stop gamma and colours changing when you export from FCP?Any plugin etc? TY!
— Jonny Jones (@MrJonnyJones) April 18, 2012
I remembered encountering this a few times a while ago, but couldn’t remember it happening any time recently. After brainstorming on it for a few minutes, it suddenly hit me why I hadn’t seen that problem in forever, and also a good, quick workaround for the issue! Most of the projects I do at my full-time job are mine from start to finish, so I write it, I shoot it, I edit it, I color it, etc. And I almost always end up in After Effects as a last step for one reason or another (matting for a different aspect ration like 2.35:1, some light title or mograph work to polish the final edited piece, or even just to make my fade-ins and fade-out more cinematic using Video Copilot’s Film Fade Presets). That ended up being the reason I had so rarely encountered this issue. After Effects is a color managed program (which I learned from Stu Maschwitz’s book and blog), so by bringing my timeline into After Effects, I was avoiding FCP’s gamma shift on exporting.
So if you’re pulling your hair out because of a gamma shift from FCP, and you happen to have a copy of After Effects, try this: Export an XML of your sequence from Final Cut Pro. Import it into After Effects using Automatic Duck’s (now free) Pro Import AE. Export from there (or for the more unexperienced AE user, don’t “Export”, but add to the Render Queue). Since the Automatic Duck plugin pulls the source files and recreates the timeline in AE, you avoid any gamma adjustments from FCP. If you still see a shift, you might want to check your color management settings for your project, but otherwise, problem solved!