Colour banding on rendered videos

This is an issue I've had with both Hitfilm 4 Express and Hitfilm Express 2017, silly me thinking that is was due to the 8-bit colour depth and buying Pro to try and fix it and finding out 8, 16 and 32 bit all look exactly the same in the end render, it's almost like harsh outlines and edges on things that shouldn't have them like shadows and smoke etc and places where there was very faint banding in the original is now amplified.

I do game videos and it just makes them look worse, I chose this over Vegas as despite those renders coming out looking almost idendical to the imported video when I tried the trial, I didn't like using the software.

I've tried all the colour depths, I've tried ever anti aliasing option, I've tried different bitrates and it always looks the same, is this just a Hitfilm thing we have to live with? I would have stuck with Express if it is, despite the nice extra stuff unlocked now.

also want to point out that it looks fine in the editing window too, just the finished render.

Sorry if it seems like I'm ranting, it's late and I'm tired after running render tests for hours.


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Hitfilm uses the same Mainconcept renderer Vegas uses, so I'm surprised you're seeing a major difference. 

    My suggestion is to set a render template for mp4 with a Level of 5.1, Profile High and Bitrate of 35/53 (variable bit rate). (assuming 1080p. Double or triple for 4k)

    Remember YouTube is going to transcode your footage to an 8mbps file for streaming. 

    Incidentally, YouTube makes everything look terrible. Normally I would link some screenshots here of the Rogue One trailer and point out some horrible banding and how the compression is literally making the tail of Kemmler's shuttle flicker out of existence. In short, even Lucasfilm video of a $200 million movie looks terrible on YouTube. 

    But, I'm on my phone and don't have enough signal for Flickr to load up. 

    Point here being its possible you're getting the same output as everyone else but noticing flaws in your videos more because they're yours. 

  • @RichardMcGill - did you manage to resolve this? I think I may have asked a related query today.

  • Not really no, banding still has harsh defined edges that weren't in the original imported video, I take screen shots and it's not there, I export a frame and it's not there, I play the finished render and any banding that was in the video sticks out like a sore thumb and this is before it even goes on YouTube.

    It doesn't really show itself when I do videos of old retro 16-bit games but the second I record a more modern 3D game it's really obvious and like I said, changing the the colour depth also made no difference whatsoever. 

  • Ok, well it was useful to get an update. I managed to resolve my issue but I don't think it's related (from my limited knowledge). 

  • You get a lot of banding with .MP4, even if you up the bitrate and colour depth. I've gone up to 200Mbps to try and get rid of it and it looks the same as at 10Mbps, so it's a limitation of .MP4 compression. (OK, there is variation in some implementations, but they're not all that different)

    When you save an image, the compression is different (or none for .PNG) so you won't see it as much. Probably the best video option is Cineform .AVI, as the compression wavelets seem to handle subtle graduations better.

    You Tube will still mess it up, but at least it's starting from a better source video.

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