Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) Export Color Fix - Youtube

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Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) is known to have an issue with color reproduction (at least 10.0.6) when exporting to h264/x264, especially when the video is destined for YouTube or Vimeo.

Color Issue

The image looks bland and unsaturated compared to the FCPX viewer (from which you primarily make the adjustment in the first hand). Using the QuickTime Player or OS X preview will play back the video correctly, but not on other players (VLC). This is not a gamma problem but rather a color reproduction issue, most likely involving the display ICC color profiles which OS X tightly integrates.

Fcpx export color bland unsaturated.png

The video to the left is played in VLC, while the right is QuickTime Player and is the way it should look (the same as in FCPX viewer).

Color Fix

To get proper YouTube and Vimeo color representation for FCPX exports, perform the following steps. Hint: vibrancy

  1. In FCPX, duplicate the main project (cmd+d), name it "colorfix" or something similar
  2. Open the project, select all (cmd+a) and create new compound clip
  3. Add Vibrancy filter from effect library to the entire compound clip and set value to 1.20 (20%)
  4. Send the project to Compressor and select proper encoding settings (h264/x264), or just export it directly in FCPX
  5. Done

Now will the colors be almost the same as the FCPX viewer or QuickTime Player. Try to play the video using VLC or upload it to YouTube/Vimeo while simultaneously playing it in QuickTime Player.

The best fix Apple could do would be to an option to select color mode so that the viewer would show the actual output and not couple it with the system display profile.