"Same as source" means that your footage is encoded with the same codec as your original footage, or perhaps the intermediate editing codec you've chosen in your timeline/sequence.

H.264 is actually your best option for festivals. The contrast issue is a bug in some versions of Quicktime and VLC for Windows. It happens because some "clever" broadcast engineers decided that the range of an 8-bit channel should be from 16 to 235, instead of the full range from 0 to 255. The encoder is supposed to restrict video levels to 16-235 ("Studio IRE") at export time, and the decoder is supposed to expand those levels back to 0-255 at playback time. But sometimes the decoder does not expand the levels, and you get dark gray "blacks" and light gray "whites".

On Windows you can fix this playback issue through the NVIDIA control panel (if you've got it). But it's almost certain that the venue will be playing back on OS X. Provided that the OS and Quicktime are up to date on that system, then your levels will be displayed correctly.

If you really don't trust H.264, then you can export to DNxHD, but there's an extremely low probability that your festival can actually play this back. The Animation codec is lossless if you crank the quality up to 100%, but then the file sizes are ginormous.

Bottom line: encode to H.264 at the bitrate appropriate to your format, and take it on faith that it will play back with the correct levels. I've been through this a zillion times; video editing on Windows is still markedly inferior to OS X, even after decades.


At 7/14/2014, you wrote:
hey folks

tested some mov files today (exported 'same as source' from avid 3.0 on a pc) on a mac, quicktime wouldn't open them & vlc played them back deinterlaced (& with a green line at the top, in one case)
any ideas what's up?

(cue bad jokes about 'mov'ing targets or 'mov'ing goalposts ...)

i've tried H264 exports but the colours/contrast get washed out, so i'm avoiding that option; thought that 'same as source' would be better than any form of compression ...?

cheers all round

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      Aaron F. Ross, artist and educator

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