Shotcut Increasing Raw Video's Brightness - FIXED - Solution Included!

Hi Everyone,

I’m using OBS 64 bit to record video game footage with H.265 AMF HEVC encoding on my RX 580 GPU. I’m on Windows 10 Pro 64 bit latest build and everything is working great. I record my raw game footage to a .mkv container type and then load that into Shotcut, do my editing and then export my final video into a .mp4 container also using the H.265 AMF HEVC codec.

This all works great. However, there is 1 issue that I cannot figure out: When I load my raw .mkv recording file into Shotcut I can instantly tell that the video is brighter than it should be! Colors, especially blacks, are washed out and appear grey’ish or foggy. I figured this may just be an issue with the view screen inside Shotcut so I continued my editing and exported my video to .mp4.

The final exported .mp4 file does in fact playback much brighter and washed out than the original, raw recording .mkv file does.

I test this by loading the original footage .mkv file with VLC Player and it plays back perfectly. The blacks are nice and black, the colors are vibrant and not washed out. Then I load the final rendered .mp4 file in VLC Player and the colors are very washed out and everything is way too bright. It plays exactly as it looked inside of the Shotcut editor during my editing - way too bright overall.

I have no idea why Shotcut is automatically making my raw recordings brighter and I need to fix it.

I have noticed that some video players (Windows Movies, Pot Player) always playback files way too bright. But that occurs on all video file types I load into those players not just mp4 or mkv. Thus I use VLC Player for testing my raw recordings as it retains the original recording and does not enhance the colors or increase the brightness in any way.

I understand there is a Filter I can apply within Shotcut to manually adjust the Brightness back down during editing but that should not be necessary to do. Shotcut should be showing my raw recording exactly as it was made, not increasing it’s brightness levels. I can’t manually adjust the brightness to exactly the same level as the real recording. I can come close but I cannot get it exact nor should I have to try to do that.

I have scoured the forums here and searched the internet widely and cannot find any threads or posts talking about this issue within Shotcut. I’m praying someone on here can help me isolate and correct whatever the heck is causing my Shotcut editor to automatically increase the brightness on these raw recordings when I load them into my project.

As an extra piece of information the game footage in question is from Resident Evil Revelations 2, which is a very dark, scary type game. I had to manually turn the game’s brightness levels way down within the in-game options as the game itself also displayed way too bright during gameplay. I thought maybe the fact I had to manually turn down brightness in game could be part of the issue but VLC player plays the raw recording back with the same level of brightness that I had set in game. So it seems like my in game brightness settings do carry over into my raw recording .mkv file and then SHOULD carry over into Shotcut as well. But they don’t, Shotcut brightens the video!

I have tried everything I can think of, this is driving me nuts. I can supply screenshots of how my raw .mkv footage appears in VLC Player vs Shotcut if it would help.

Thank you so much in advance to anyone who takes the time to read this and help me try to sort this issue out!

Update: I think I fixed this issue! I found the option for “Color Range” within the Properties of my video file within Shotcut but this option was already set to “Full Range”. However, despite it claiming the video was already in Full Range color, it clearly was loading my video files with “Broadcast Limited” Color Range instead. (Screenshot below)

By selecting the Color Range drop down box and trying to flip it from “Full” to “Broadcast Limited” it reloads the video in “Full” color range and you can instantly tell that the color is corrected in the video and no longer washed out.

TL/DR: Try manually toggling the “Color Range” dropdown option within the Properties of your video file to “Broadcast Limited” and then back to “Full” if you are experiencing this issue. Even if your videos’ Properties already claim to be in “Full” range it may not actually be in Full range until you toggle this back and forth!

This was giving me a real fit, sorry for the lengthy post but I hope this information can help someone else out. I am rendering my video out to a .mp4 file again to make sure the color range stays intact but I am pretty confident it will. I will update this post with any further findings or information I come across on this topic.

As you can see in these before and after screenshots even though they both claim “Full” Range Color the before shot is clearly loaded in Broadcast Limited Color Range. Then after clicking on the Color Range drop down and actually choosing “Broadcast Limited” the video reloads in the correct color range:

Before: You can see the colors are washed out and that “Full (JPEG)” is showing in the Color Range.

After: The colors are more vibrant and the blacks are much darker. “Full (JPEG)” still shows in Color Range.
(As a new user the forum won’t let me post more than 1 screenshot to show the After image :frowning: )

So the selected color range display may be bugged as no matter what option I select, the dropdown always displays as “Full (JPEG)”. In addition to that the selections actually seem backwards. When I load in the video it displays as Full but is clearly in Limited colors. Then I actually select “Broadcast Limited” and the video reloads with proper color range. Conversely if I go back into the dropdown and choose “Full” again then the video reloads back in Broadcast Limited color range. All while still showing “Full (JPEG)” in the Color Range dropdown box.

Your file is faulty in that it claims your file is full range when in fact it is not. Just because it looks wrong does not mean it was loading with limited range. You are deceived by your lack of understanding of what “range” means in digital video. What is important is that it is correct or can be overridden.

By selecting the Color Range drop down box and trying to flip it from “Full” to “Broadcast Limited” it reloads the video in “Full” color range

I can confirm that this is a bug. It is failing to read the override and keeps reporting the file’s flag. I am sorry for the confusion that caused. It will be fixed in v19.02 due by end of February.

I only record in MP4 format, but have you tried this with OBS?

Do you get the same result after you remux the mkv?

I know there is a lot diehard folks out there who think MKV is the best, but I have never had a bad recording using MP4. Just my thoughts.

Thanks for the information! I obviously don’t know a lot about digital videos and editing. All I know is that when I initially load my raw video files into Shotcut the colors are all washed out and everything has a foggy white/grey effect over it.

From my experience it is the same thing many Nvidia users experience when their Driver panel isn’t set to Full Color Range. That same effect can be experienced on other software where Limited Color Ranges are used as well. You get that washed out colors effect on the whole video. Blacks look greyish, everything is way too bright, etc.

My source footage is definitely captured using Full Range Color. I have ensured everything from my GPU’s drivers to my recording software are all set to use Full Range Color. The issue only begins when I import my recordings into Shotcut. Shotcut initially loads them in what appears to be Limited Color range (washed out colors, way too bright).

I had been looking at the Color Range option in Shotcut as I was sure it was related to the issue but it always says “Full” so I just thought it was set to Full Color Range by default. But manually toggling it from Full to Limited instantly fixes the color issues in my loaded recordings within Shotcut.

So I don’t know what Color Range Shotcut is loading my recordings in by default, all I know is that it’s wrong. Shotcut does not initially load and show my recorded footage the same as when that raw footage is viewed through VLC Player. I have to manually toggle the Color Range within the properties of each video and then Shotcut displays my videos in the correct colors.

Again, I don’t know the details of what I’m getting at here. The gist of it is that Shotcut doesn’t show my recordings as I would expect it too when they’re first loaded in. Instead of retaining their natural color range or whatever, it is displaying them incorrectly with washed out colors and it requires a manual adjustment on the Color Range to fix.

I would expect Shotcut to initially load my raw footage exactly as it appears during playback and that is not the case currently.

But I digress, it’s a minor issue now that I know how to fix it and the fix is super simple with 2 clicks of the mouse. Shotcut is really awesome software and I appreciate your information, help and continued effort to provide and support such a great piece of software for all of us!

Thanks again and keep up the great work! :smiley: <3

I appreciate the suggestion! Unfortunately remuxing wouldn’t pertain to my situation. I only record in .mkv because I can’t run the risk of losing a recording session if the stream can’t close out the .mp4 file correctly or it crashes.

Either .mkv or .mp4 containers work fine for my recordings and I do render to a final .mp4 after Shotcut editing. I only record into .mkv to ensure I never lose a recording session as .mp4 has issues where it’s very easy to lose an entire recording if something doesn’t work or close out properly.

Regardless of whether my raw footage is in a .mkv or .mp4 container Shotcut still initially loads it with incorrect colors. Everything is too bright and colors are all washed out. This occurs regardless if the source file is .mkv, .mp4 or .mov.

Essentially the issue seems to be completely isolated to how Shotcut is importing my recording files and not how I’m generating those recording files. I had tried many different ways of recording my videos through OBS and they all imported into Shotcut with the same washed out color range issue.

As far as I can tell it’s just a matter of loading my videos into Shotcut and then changing the color range within their Properties. It’s super simple now that I know to toggle that Color Range box regardless of what it claims the color range is currently set to.

Maybe it’s a bug in my particular installation of Shotcut that others don’t experience? I have no idea. All I know is that it happens on every video I load into Shotcut and manually toggling the Color Range property fixes it.

So I’m a happy camper now and cooking along with my video edits! Thanks again for the advice and help! :slight_smile:

Can you provide a small sample file? If not here, I can give you an upload location.

Do you have these settings in OBS or are they different?
In OBS (Settings - Advanced)

Yep, those are the exact settings I’m using in OBS as well:

When I playback my raw .mkv recording in VLC player it looks identical to the live game rendering in terms of colors and black levels. Then I load the raw .mkv recording into Shotcut and the colors get all washed out and everything is too bright. I toggle the Properties -> Color Range setting on the video file within Shotcut and boom, it looks identical to how it played back in VLC and how the actual game renders in-game.

Sure thing! I made a quick raw footage clip from in-game for you. It’s too large to upload to the forums here. I’d be happy to upload it where ever you’d like!

Thanks again for all of the help!

I took a look at the sample file provided. Media Info, a highly respected program to get information about media files, also reports the range is full:

Shotcut is showing it correctly as instructed by the file, which is not faulty as previously claimed. You can tell this in Shotcut by changing the Color Range to Limited and looking at the video scopes. You can see there is information below the 0 line (using my development build which has the fix to reflect the Color Range override):

When a limited range video is converted to RGB for display, the level is scaled so that 16 Y’ effectively becomes 0 RGB. If it scales something that is full range it is going to clip the information below 16 and above 235, which is a problem. I have some special full range test clips (attached below), and VLC v3.0.4 is clipping:

It is supposed to look like this: (58.9 KB)

This is great information! A lot of it is going over my head due to lack of knowledge on how digital videos work and the color ranges are converted.

But I downloaded your sample Full Range videos and I can confirm that VLC player is definitely clipping the color range on both of your sample videos exactly as you outlined. Within VLC Player 3.0.6 both videos appear exactly the same with the text and slight color variations missing.

So that would seem to imply VLC Player is always loading videos in Limited Range regardless if they are Full Range or not. But if that’s the case then that means VLC Player is playing back my raw recording incorrectly (ie: clipping the color range) and the other players (including Windows Movies, Pot Player and Shotcut) are all playing my recordings back correctly.

If that is true then why does the clipped playback within VLC look more visually accurate to the actual game’s rendering than the Full Range playback inside of Shotcut or any other media player? The Full Range playback within Windows Movies, Pot Player or Shotcut looks way too bright and all of the colors are washed out. Which from my research were all indicators of Limited Color Range clipping?

Does that mean the darker, more color accurate version of my recording is actually using Limited Color Range?

I’m just completely confused on how a Limited Color Range playback version of my raw recording would look more accurate to the real time rendering than a Full Color Range version playback would. Shouldn’t Full Range color within the media players show a more accurate representation with correct black levels and colors?

Why do the videos look washed out and way too bright when viewed in Full Range?? I’m so confused as to why this is happening now, lol.

You know what it looks like originally and are obviously detecting a problem from that perspective. Yes, that is a good question for which I do not have the answer. I would say that if you prefer the look when you change the Color Range, then just go with that. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

I agree with your assessment that if I think it looks more accurate then roll with it as that’s what I’ve been doing on my last couple of videos.

But the technician in me is way too bothered knowing that something isn’t quite right. I want to understand what is really happening, lol.

Am I right in my current thought process that the version I perceive as “incorrect” (brighter, washed out colors) is in fact how the video should look in Full Color Range? Is it possible that my in-game brightness setting simply doesn’t carry over to the raw .mkv recording? In that particular game I adjust the brightness waayyyy down in-game. Perhaps that in-game brightness level just somehow isn’t recorded in the raw files?

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