Color depth is determined by the number of displayable color nuances. The number of nuances is measured in bits and is known as the color depth of an image. The more nuances or bits are detectable, the more brightness levels can be displayed. An increase in bit depth accordingly reduces ugly zigzags that can appear between color gradients.
8-bit processing is currently the editing standard for DVDs, Blu-rays and most TVs and monitors. Until now, everything above was extremely difficult to achieve in home and semiprofessional environments due to various technical limitations such as missing cameras and corresponding playback devices.
The color depth transition in Video Pro X expands available color depth in internal editing from 8-bit to 16-bit per color channel and thus reaches over a billion color nuances.
Just to compare: the human eye can distinguish between 10 million color nuances, while up to 256 nuances can exist between black and white alone.
This innovation enables unique picture quality in HD, full HD and ultra HD, enabling images with top authenticity and extremely high contrast values. This incredible color resolution effectively reduces the so-called banding effect, which is caused by low color depth and creates undesired contrast levels in color gradations.
Video Pro X: Precise color grading with 16-bit color
Important internal color grading workflow processes have been switched from 8-bit to 16-bit color. Our goal is to eventually switch all internal processes to 16-bit. This is all to allow you to edit your videos within a higher and more effective colorspace.
Professional formats such as ProRes and HEVC benefit the most from the optimized workflow that now supports higher color depths.
Internal processing of the Video Pro X effects palette in the engine now also takes place in 16-bit. As a result, many of the known and loved effects now look considerably better, especially in the darker sections of the image. Effects such as TimeStretch, DoFlip, Saturation, Fade and Crossfade are already supported.
The new patch delivers important innovations in the form of finer tonal gradation and offers clearly more playroom for color correction. The user can now decide in which color depth to export a movie.
In addition to the resolution and bitrate, you can now also set the color depth of your movie in the export dialog.
You can notice the difference: More natural and brilliant pictures, without any bothersome zigzags in color gradients. Thanks to the larger 16-bit color space, your video material can now benefit from more variation in light and shadow areas and colors that are rich in contrast.
This all may sound a bit confusing. To make the subject clearer, we’ll discuss a few practical applications.
At present, source material color depth = finished movie color depth
Edit 8-bit material and export 8-bit movies
In this example, we will work with 8-bit material and get an 8-bit movie. The changes in the program allow raw material with lower color depth to be edited in 16-bit color space. The users can appreciate the flawless quality processing chain, which gives you clearly better results than purely 8-bit editing.
Edit 10-bit material and export 10-bit movies
In the following example, we work with 10-bit material and get a 10-bit movie. Users are the big winners of the switch. When you import your 10-bit material into an 8-bit system and edit, you risk losing a lot of information during the editing process. Now, since internal processing always takes place in 16-bit instead of 8-bit, you will never experience quality loss during export again, but will get a detailed and clean image.
Professional codecs like HEVC and ProRes work with high resolution formats of up to 10-bit. Your benefits from the switch to deep color are great, since the professional workflow is now fully supported in 16-bit starting from import, to editing and through to adjustable export. This allows you to import and edit high-resolution video material from modern cameras in an extremely deep colorspace without losing quality.
Summary: Are you ready for 16-bit?
The switch to 16-bit is the first important step for all ambitious and semi-professional video editors who want to reach high definition quality for their visuals.
There are a few things to keep in mind in order to work with deep color effectively:
If you have an up-to-date computer and would like to do extensive visual editing, 16-bit is the the way to go
16-bit not only looks good, but also takes more computing power
Material that has very similar hues and saturations profit enormously from additional color depth
To correctly display the deep color range, everything should be coordinated: Starting from the source material, to the connecting cables to the monitor, each link has to be able to support 16-bit deep color!
Deep Color in the Latest Video Pro X Update
For the first time, important internal color grading workflow processes have been switched from 8-bit to 16-bit deep color. 16-bit deep color processing allows for detailed color grading and even more freedom for correcting color.
If you’d like to try out the new top-performing video software for yourself, download the free version! The new deep color grading update for Video Pro X is available starting from January 27, 2017.