Work with High Dynamic Range (HDR) video in Final Cut Pro X and Compressor

Edit, color grade, and share HDR video in Final Cut Pro, then use Compressor for advanced delivery.

Final Cut Pro X 10.4 or later and Compressor 4.4 or later support wide-color gamut HDR video. When you work in HDR video, you have a larger palette of colors to work with—and more control over those colors—than when you work in Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) video. HDR video displays a broader range of colors and brighter luminance on monitors and TVs that support HDR.

In Final Cut Pro, you can choose between two color processing options for your library. The Standard option sets the working color space to linear RGB with Rec. 709 color primaries, the color space that previous versions of Final Cut Pro have used. Rec. 709 is the current standard for HDTV projects, including HD cable, Blu-ray discs, and most streaming video. For HDR projects, choose Wide Gamut HDR. When you choose Wide Gamut HDR, Final Cut Pro sets the working color space to linear RGB with Rec. 2020 color primaries, a color space with a greater range of colors than Rec. 709.

When you've finished editing your HDR video, you can share it using Final Cut Pro, or you can send it to Compressor to encode for final delivery. Several streaming content providers offer wide-color HDR video, including the iTunes Store, Netflix, and Amazon video. The Ultra HD Blu-ray disc format also supports wide-color gamut HDR video.

Working with HDR video in Final Cut Pro

To take full advantage of the color and luminance range of your media with the HDR capabilities of Final Cut Pro, capture your media with your camera set to the log or wide dynamic range option. Many cameras provide multiple options for recording in log. Final Cut Pro also includes Look Up Tables (LUTs) from a variety of camera manufacturers, which you can apply to the media once you’ve imported it into Final Cut Pro.

View HDR video in Final Cut Pro

To see the full range of colors and brightness while editing and color correcting HDR video in Final Cut Pro, use Apple Pro Display XDR, with P3 wide color, 1600 nits of brightness, and a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Or use the A/V Output option with an external reference monitor connected through a compatible third-party video device.

In Final Cut Pro 10.4.7 or later, you can choose how to view HDR video in the viewer. The available options depend on the capabilities of your display and which version of macOS you’re using. In macOS Catalina, you can view HDR content on a wide range of displays. For example, when you view HDR content in the Final Cut Pro viewer on an SDR display, Final Cut Pro can optionally tone map the image so you can view HDR content on your non-HDR display. Regardless of your display type, you can use the high-resolution video scopes to monitor HDR brightness levels as you edit HDR Rec. 2020 PQ clips and projects.

Create a Wide Gamut HDR library and project

To start editing HDR video, create an HDR library, then create a project with the appropriate color space. 

To create an HDR library, choose File > New > Library. Select the library in the sidebar. In the Library Properties, click Modify, choose Wide Gamut HDR, then click Change. 

To set the correct color space for your project, select the event in the HDR library in the sidebar. Create a new project in that library, then select the project in the browser. If necessary, choose Window > Show in Workspace > Inspector, then click Modify in the Inspector. Choose one of the following Wide Gamut HDR options:

  • To create an HDR movie in the HDR10, HDR10+, or the Dolby Vision format, choose Wide Gamut HDR - Rec. 2020 PQ.
  • If you want your HDR movie to be backwards compatible with older SDR televisions and monitors, choose Wide Gamut HDR -  Rec 2020 HLG.

Work with HDR video in your project

Video recorded in log has a flat appearance initially. Camera Look Up Tables (LUTs) apply settings to the media that affect the color of an image when displayed on a monitor. Final Cut Pro includes Camera LUTs from a variety of camera manufacturers. When you import log media, Final Cut Pro automatically applies the appropriate built-in camera LUT.

Measure video levels with scopes

While editing and color correcting using Final Cut Pro’s color correction tools, you can use the built-in video scopes and the range check overlay in Final Cut Pro to measure video levels and detect out-of-gamut colors. You can also use the Broadcast Safe filter to quickly reduce luma and chroma levels that exceed the specification limits for either standard or wide-gamut color spaces in SDR media.

Share HDR video in Final Cut Pro

When you’re done editing and color correcting, you can share your HDR video to a variety of destinations like YouTube or Facebook. You can also export your HDR video as a master file, or you can send it directly to Compressor, which you can then use to encode and deliver the video to a variety of destinations.

Work with HDR video in Compressor

When you add an HDR video file to Compressor for transcoding, Compressor identifies the video’s native color space, and displays an HDR badge in the Job inspector. Although Compressor doesn't display HDR or wide-gamut in the preview area, Compressor encodes the files correctly. If you need to customize the color space, you can override the native color space assigned by Compressor.

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Submit HDR video to the iTunes store

With Compressor, you can prepare your HDR video for submission to the iTunes Store. Those with an HDR-compatible device—an Apple TV 4K connected to an HDR-compatible television, a recent iOS device, or a recent Mac—can purchase or rent HDR content in high-definition or 4K resolution. The iTunes Store plays the highest-quality version compatible with a user’s device.

When you submit an HDR video to the iTunes Store, you must also include a standard-dynamic-range (SDR) version of the video. With Compressor, you can build a combined SDR/HDR package. Or, you can build a supplemental HDR upgrade for your SDR video that's already available in the iTunes store. Learn more about submitting HDR video to the iTunes store.

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