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View Full Version : What's with Vimeo's changing black levels?



DPStewart
10-12-2016, 03:44 AM
I can't be the only one seeing this.

I'm getting it in both Chrome and Internet Explorer.

I upload a piece, and at 720p and 1080p it plays back with a massively raised black pedestal. (and washed out colors) The whole thing goes milky.
But then if I switch it to 360p or 540p it snaps back to black levels that are very close to the original material. So it's NOT like Vimeo can't stream back something that looks damn close to the original.
But then at these two lower resolutions, the black level will often start to pop back up like the HD stream...and then maybe back down once or twice over a couple minutes.
WTH?

But ALL downloads at all resolutions show the lifted milky black level, again NOT reflected in the lower resolution streams.

As I've seen it - Vimeo used to be 'reliable' for what it was, up until the beginning of this year when they rolled out their "auto" bit-rate scheme, etc..

I even tacked on a modified SMPTE color bars chart at the end of a piece to see if it would have any effect on their system - it didn't.

Anyone have any tricks to get Vimeo to at least lock down its own black level?
Or have we all just given up on streaming being as good as it was in 2014?

wsch
10-12-2016, 10:20 AM
Same for me - on OS X and Firefox. During playback the black levels suddenly shift up und down. Without changing playback resolution.
I would suppose it has got to do with the browser colour management?

k Stark
10-12-2016, 11:10 AM
.."There is none more black".. - Nigel

DPStewart
10-12-2016, 03:23 PM
.."There is none more black".. - Nigel

If only that were true in this case!

"it's more of a pastel black really..."

DPStewart
10-12-2016, 03:26 PM
Same for me - on OS X and Firefox. During playback the black levels suddenly shift up und down. Without changing playback resolution.
I would suppose it has got to do with the browser colour management?

Hard to say since it seems to happen on multiple browsers on both Mac and Windows.

It has made Vimeo UTTERLY NON-USABLE for any type of delivery of anything whatsoever.

YouTube may not look quite as good as Vimeo (used to) but at least it's solid - but it doesn't have the 'Download' feature that Vimeo has, and I need that.

FUG!

WTH??!

Revdesign Industries
10-12-2016, 09:16 PM
are you encoding h.264? i noticed i got funky (bad) results until i downloaded a third party h.264 codec that premiere will then use, it fixes the "red" color shift that usually was quite strong after upload, and no more messages saying it couldnt find the color space or recongize it. Curious to know what you upload. I can share the codec if you think it will help

DPStewart
10-12-2016, 10:04 PM
are you encoding h.264? i noticed i got funky (bad) results until i downloaded a third party h.264 codec that premiere will then use, it fixes the "red" color shift that usually was quite strong after upload, and no more messages saying it couldnt find the color space or recongize it. Curious to know what you upload. I can share the codec if you think it will help

I've been uploading 10-bit DNxHD for over two years. At about a Gig per minute. Last year I was getting fantastic encoding from Vimeo - I could download their 720p 40mb version and it would look insanely close to the original DNxHD. Considering the massive file size difference of course.
Last year I tried a bunch of encoders and I could not find ANY software anywhere that could create as great looking an encode as Vimeo did.
Their downloadable encode at 1080p looked FAR better than say Adobe's Media Encoder at TEN TIMES the bit rate.
Like I said up top - it all went to shit when they made all those huge changes at the beginning of this year.

I never use h.264 encoders for anything because I hate them all. When I really absolutely need it I use HANDBRAKE.

*I also upload DNxHD to YouTube and I get very good results there too.

**The biggest clue that it is Vimeo's problem not ours - is that multiple people are seeing the black level bounce up and down during streaming playback EVEN AT A LOCKED DOWN DATA RATE.

EDIT:
I just uploaded a 1/2Gig four-minute h.264 file I made in handbrake.....absolutely no difference.

rick.lang
10-13-2016, 06:26 AM
Just reviewed several of my Vimeo videos on my iPad Air Retina and not noticing any milky blacks.

DPStewart
10-13-2016, 06:35 AM
Just reviewed several of my Vimeo videos on my iPad Air Retina and not noticing any milky blacks.

Using Safari?
And do your pieces show different black levels at the different streaming playback resolutions? Across my browsers I'm getting a darker more accurate black level and saturation level at 320p and 540p, with 720p and 1080p immediately showing the jump.

I should get a screen recorder and just show all this happening live.

rick.lang
10-13-2016, 07:26 AM
Yes, Safari on the iPad. I was just playing back 1080p which was the size I upload added to Vimeo.

Edit
The way these sites update their videos for their own purposes, perhaps they just haven't got around to 'fixing' my videos yet.

Andrew
10-13-2016, 07:31 AM
I've experienced this problem but I don't have a solution. Extremely frustrsting, especially because vimeo used to be the best and now you're better off using YouTube. Hope someone can chime in with a universal solution

martinmcgreal
10-13-2016, 02:46 PM
are you encoding h.264? i noticed i got funky (bad) results until i downloaded a third party h.264 codec that premiere will then use, it fixes the "red" color shift that usually was quite strong after upload, and no more messages saying it couldnt find the color space or recongize it. Curious to know what you upload. I can share the codec if you think it will help

I've had this issue for years w/ H264 .. Well, more with the infamous gamma shift you experience with H264/Quicktime .. Please do share it the codec .. Cheers!

NorBro
10-13-2016, 03:40 PM
How many of you here have a PRO account and are experiencing this? Plus? Free?

Just wondering...

DPStewart
10-13-2016, 03:54 PM
How many of you here have a PRO account and are experiencing this? Plus? Free?

Just wondering...

I'm paying for the Plus account. Garbage.

DPStewart
10-13-2016, 03:55 PM
I've had this issue for years w/ H264 .. Well, more with the infamous gamma shift you experience with H264/Quicktime .. Please do share it the codec .. Cheers!

I tried the same video uploaded in 10-bit DNxHD and then in h.264 and the results were exactly the same.

NorBro
10-13-2016, 03:58 PM
I haven't seen this yet (I'm on a Mac and export straight from FCP X), but I'm keeping an eye out as I would really not like this, ha.

I am testing out a video where I have the blacks very crushed, and I don't see any difference. But that video was uploaded months ago...and I haven't uploaded anything yet this week to test.

DPStewart
10-13-2016, 05:01 PM
I haven't seen this yet (I'm on a Mac and export straight from FCP X), but I'm keeping an eye out as I would really not like this, ha.

I am testing out a video where I have the blacks very crushed, and I don't see any difference. But that video was uploaded months ago...and I haven't uploaded anything yet this week to test.

Yeah...I should grab a little screen recorder app and record it as I change the playback resolution and you can watch the black level and saturation take huge jumps back and forth.

DPStewart
10-13-2016, 11:18 PM
Here's a screen capture of the Original h.264 file on the right, and the 1080p Vimeo stream seen through Internet Explorer on the left.

Last year Vimeo was NOT this drastically off. And strangely, the streams of SD 540p and 320p look MUCH more like the original on the right - just in lower resolution.

I'm done with Vimeo. NEVER AGAIN. This is utterly useless for any purpose whatsoever.

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WhiteRabbit
10-13-2016, 11:31 PM
Looks somewhat like the 0-255 verses the 16-235 thing, happening at the Vimeo end, which may be beyond your control. (Said the guy viewing this from a small phone screen):D

DPStewart
10-13-2016, 11:37 PM
Looks somewhat like the 0-255 verses the 16-235 thing, happening at the Vimeo end, which may be beyond your control. (Said the guy viewing this from a small phone screen):D

It rather does.
And yet....the original file had its levels set to 16-235.
I should post another comparison with the 540p stream since its levels are totally different.

WhiteRabbit
10-13-2016, 11:49 PM
Assuming you're on PC, you can modify gfx card output (global or app based, if I recall) to your display via Nvidia panel via Control Panel, and also VLC has ability to modify how clip is displayed with its preferences. Problem solving can sometimes just be too much...

WhiteRabbit
10-14-2016, 12:30 AM
Sorry, the Nvidia Global or app based modification relates to Nvidia 3D settings. Nvidia colour can be set by other applications or you can manually adjust via the Nvidia control panel for a global display correction. I select other application to set colour, as I have calibration hardware/software that has modified the display.

stip
10-14-2016, 12:31 AM
On a Macbook, using Safari and testing 3 different videos, I did not see a shift in black levels. But I did see a weird, very slight shift from being more magenta to being more green overall when switching from 360p to 720p on one video.

I'll try on a PC later.

stip
10-14-2016, 12:35 AM
Assuming you're on PC, you can modify gfx card output

That's exactely what messed up my Vimeo viewing for a long time - blacks weren't displayed correctly. Took ages to find out it's that damn Nvidia setting.

DPStewart
10-14-2016, 01:06 AM
That's exactely what messed up my Vimeo viewing for a long time - blacks weren't displayed correctly. Took ages to find out it's that damn Nvidia setting.

Yet when I download the Vimeo files they ALSO show the same radically raised black levels when played back locally on the computer through the same player that will then play the original file with the much lower black point. Vimeo is doing it. The question is: is there anyway to upload ANYTHING to them without it taking a radical black level shift....you know, like how it worked last year.

ALSO - I DO NOT want to fix "playback black level" on MY computers because this is all about CLIENTS seeing the videos.

I am going to try rendering out the master file in REC.709 instead of RGB. See if that has any effect.

DPStewart
10-14-2016, 01:19 AM
On a Macbook, using Safari and testing 3 different videos, I did not see a shift in black levels. But I did see a weird, very slight shift from being more magenta to being more green overall when switching from 360p to 720p on one video.

I'll try on a PC later.

Remember the whole point is to compare the Vimeo video against your original master that you used for the upload.
Now, none of us expect it to be perfect. Of course not - it's being re-compressed. But this drastic black level shift I'm getting is utterly unusable.

DPStewart
10-14-2016, 01:47 AM
Now check THIS out from late last year. EXACT SAME render settings used for the DNxHD master file I uploaded.

Yes, they are under colored performance lights. That makes no difference because while the lights were constantly changing, the Vimeo files matched the original at all points.

The frame on the left is the one Vimeo compressed and then I downloaded it and played it back - it's DEAD ON to the original file on the right considering that the file on the left (the Vimeo compression) is a 95Meg 8-bit file, and the original on the right is a 3.5Gig 10-bit file.
And YES, the streams looked no different in Internet Explorer (although Chrome streams video with a noticeable ugly color shift but NOT a black level shift.)

They USED to be such a fantastic service. Now they're approaching worthless.

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WhiteRabbit
10-14-2016, 02:03 AM
https://vimeo.com/forums/topic:68624

Thread link is a year old. Maybe something has changed with Vimeo recently?

DPStewart
10-14-2016, 02:10 AM
https://vimeo.com/forums/topic:68624

Thread link is a year old. Maybe something has changed with Vimeo recently?

Yeah - a LOT about their system changed around the beginning of this year. And it's all been for the worse unfortunately.
Vimeo constantly just says "it's to provide the viewer with a better viewing experience". Whatever that means... (it means they wouldn't have to manually select SD or HD playback anymore, because that must have been a fate worse than death.)

Also, that problem seems to be the opposite - blacks getting crushed. I've never encountered that with Vimeo myself.

WhiteRabbit
10-14-2016, 02:24 AM
Exactly what I have been thinking, regarding Shadows raised instead of being crushed.

Any chance of creating a one second original file available to download somewhere, say a colour chart or footage you can release. Then upload to Vimeo and also make download options available in 1080p or source res? We can try and compare original and Vimeo file on various OS computers and other devices and provide feedback. Just a thought, probably a flawed thought...

WhiteRabbit
10-14-2016, 02:30 AM
h264 might be more universal than say QT, noting Android and TV media player, etc.

DPStewart
10-14-2016, 02:34 AM
Exactly what I have been thinking, regarding Shadows raised instead of being crushed.

Any chance of creating a one second original file available to download somewhere, say a colour chart or footage you can release. Then upload to Vimeo and also make download options available in 1080p or source res? We can try and compare original and Vimeo file on various OS computers and other devices and provide feedback. Just a thought, probably a flawed thought...

Yeah, I'll put that together. It will have my modified SMPTE chart on it too. #00 black, #ff white, 40% Gray, and 5 standard SMPTE colors: Red, Blue, Green, Cyan, and Magenta. I was tacking it on the end of videos to see if it would trigger their encoder/compressor. It made no difference.

Although this is all about "before and after" so I don't see why you couldn't test it with any of your own footage.

I'm checking out the Vzaar.com encoding engine tonight too. See if it's better. They are more expensive ($25 per month) but none of the limitations of Vimeo library size and a FAR more professional service and interface for bringing your videos to customers and clients.
Vzaar.com has a 1-month free trial thing.

I was all set to switch to Vzaar a few months ago - but I never did. Can;t remember why. I think I just hit a patch of time where I didn't need to bounce a lot of videos off of clients.

WhiteRabbit
10-14-2016, 03:31 AM
Thanks for the info.

stip
10-14-2016, 05:17 AM
Have you checked all this on another device, say your smartphone?

Have you changed your GPU or updated drivers?

I always saw a big shift loading a file up to Vimeo (also in the downloaded file), but also between players for these (DNxHD) files. The Nvidia setting was the problem. If that is what causes it, changing it in your computer will not mean your clients will still experience the issue, they most probably don't (except maybe when they are gamers).

EDIT
I also do not get a shift of black levels a Windows tablet.

Soeren Mueller
10-14-2016, 05:34 AM
Gosh.. where to start... this whole 0-255 vs 16-235 issue is one aspect, which as previously already mentioned depends on so many factors, almost each os/driver/player combination behaving different...

But with Vimeo there is or was an even bigger issue, which has already been touched here as well I think.. I saw somebody mentioning the weird magenta vs more yellow shifts.. I have reported my findings on the Vimeo support forum a while ago, haven't really checked yet if they finally found the bug in their pipeline:

https://vimeo.com/forums/help/topic:279561

They incorrectly converted/flagged bt.601 vs bt.709 plus a Chrome bug that was not respecting the flag correctly... well... nightmare... and there we thought interlaced was already bad ;)