Snow Leopard, 2.2 Gamma at last!

After my initial wingeing about snow leopard I’m starting to notice some of the good stuff about the new OS. The first of those things is that Mac OS now sets it’s gamma to 2.2 by default, and not only that but in the display calibration pages it actually lists 2.2 as being standard!

This may seem like a small thing to be pleased about, but the way Final Cut Pro has dealt with gamma up until now has been the cause of much confusion amongst editors. Because Apple assumed mac users were using their standard gamma setting of 1.8 they decided that it was a good idea to have Final Cut Pro & Quicktime display video slightly darker than it really was to give the user a more accurate representation of how the rest of the world would see their video.

The problem with this approach however is that if like me you want to see content in the same way as the majority of the world, you would set your gamma to 2.2 which makes the whole OS display similar colours to PC’s & TV’s. The trouble with this though is that Final Cut was not aware of the change and would still apply the compensation making your video appear darker than it really is.

before I understood what was happening with the gamma in FCP I spend endless hours colour correcting footage only to find that it looked washed out once exported and uploaded to vimeo, YouTube or other online streaming service.

Now that Apple have finally settled on a standard gamma of 2.2 it seems that they’ve stopped this happening, at least it appears to be the case with version 7 when used with Snow Leopard.

Here’s a screen shot showing the same clip in Final cut, quicktime X and VLC. While the colours do vary slightly in VLC the gamma now seems to match.


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