Poor colour gradients when rendered

I often seem to hit a problem of poor quality renders from HitFilm. For example, if I add a vignette effect to a clip and export my video, I get poor colour or tone gradients from dark to light. It doesn't seem to happen in Vegas Movie Studio.

I tried higher render settings, which helps a bit, but generally the renders just don't look as good as from Vegas. Currently, I'm having to render in lossless quality from HitFilm, import it into Vegas, then render to a more standard, lossy format in order to get a reasonable result. Anyone else notice this or have this issue? Example attached.


  • LeRoiLightning
    LeRoiLightning Website User Posts: 33
    edited August 2018

    I tried to attach an example, but the forum doesn't seem to let me choose a photo from my computer to post (it just has a "source" field - don't know what to do with that). :)

  • CleverTagline
    CleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,305 Ambassador

    The forum doesn't take image uploads directly. You'll need to host them elsewhere, then add them by pasting the image URL into that "source" field you saw in the image insert dialog.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,784 Ambassador

    Express or Pei? 

    Hitfilm Express always works internally at 8-bits/channel (unless you have one of several add-ons that enable 16-bit color. 

    Vegas defaults to 16-bit which can make a huge difference in rendering gradients and transparency. 


  • LeRoiLightning
    LeRoiLightning Website User Posts: 33

    I'm finally coming back to this post (have been travelling).

    Here is an example of what I was talking about. In this export, notice the black-to-gray-to-white banding in the corners (HitFilm's vignette effect). Especially notice the fade to black. I tried different export presets (and customizations), all with the same result (I even tried visually lossless).

    Is this because of free HitFilm's 8-bit color?


    I also put my test project in there - could someone please try it and see if the same happens for you in "HitFilm Express" / "HitFilm Pro" / "HitFilm Express with 16-bit color"?


    Thanks again. :)

  • NormanPCN
    NormanPCN Website User Posts: 4,043 Enthusiast

     Smooth fixed color gradients are often a problem with 8-bit sources. 16-bit color does allow for smooth gradients.

    That said you are still finally exporting to AVC/H.264 which is 8-bit, and 4:2:0 chroma subsampling, so the exported result will likely exhibit some issue. Bitrate can affect the result as well and here the low bitrates of the online video servers, Youtube/Vimeo, may exhibit more of a problem that your exported file. The brightness of the gradient will affect the result. Darker colors will band way more than a mid to bright tone.

    All that said, I tried your example file. In Hitfilm even in 8-bit color mode things look pretty reasonable (the viewer). The viewer is the gold standard. Exports to AVC/H.264 do show some issue. Even an export to 10-bit Cineform. Then I switch the project to 16-bit color and the AVC export still shows an issue. The Cineform 10-bit export is seriously improved. Still some banding when the fade gets very dim/dark (almost gone/done).

  • LeRoiLightning
    LeRoiLightning Website User Posts: 33

    Thanks Norman. It's interesting that the problem doesn't happen (at least not noticeably) in other video editors, such as Vegas Movie Studio and Adobe Premiere - even with lossy codecs. I've only ever experienced it (a lot) with HitFilm. Makes me wonder if it's a bug or - if it was another company, the support staff would say, "It's by design", LOL.

    I love HitFilm but this one thing really urkes me, because it makes for some really ugly renders. The videos can look fairly good, then all of a sudden, "Ew! What the hell was that?" LOL. It's probably something I should submit as a request to programming staff, no?