I'm not an Avid expert, but I know they typically use proprietary codecs. What 
container were they in? AVI? 

If QT can't play the files, that could either be an issue with the codec per 
se, or your Mac not being equipped with the extra widgets needed to handle the 
headers of PC-based containers.

All H.264 encoding software is not created equal. Use x264, which is freeware 
available as a stand-alone plug-in that works with stuff like MPEG Streamclip, 
and also comes built-in with recent versions of Handbrake (also freeware). 
There are more tweaks available in the interface than Carter has pills. I've 
never had any odd color or contrast problems using the presets (since the 
individual setting parameters are mostly WAY over my head), but if you did get 
results you don't like, you could probably find a setting that would do the 
trick if you got under the hood far enough.

Anyway, as Aaron said, the problem may be the playback software, not the files 
you've generated themselves. I agree with Aaron that H.264 is usually the best 
thing to send out, if only due to file size. For shorter pieces, I'd use ProRes 
if the venue accepts it. For the H.264, I recommend putting it in an .mp4 
container, as that's more universal than .mov .avi .mkv etc. etc.

> 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?
> 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 ...?
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