March 26, 2015 at 12:39PM


Color Grading - 8bit VS 10bit Pipeline Advantages

Let's say I color grade a shot on a full 10bit pipeline (GPU>Monitor>Software). The accuracy I get from grading in 10bit is awesome, but in the end, most people watch that video on 8bit monitors.

Are there any advantages, other than personal satisfaction and accuracy to actually grade in 10bit?


Just like with audio, it's always better to work with higher resolution files (image luminance resolution) when editing, and then exporting to a lower resolution when done. This will produce less artifacting and high quality results in your finished lower resolution file.

March 26, 2015 at 12:54PM, Edited March 26, 12:54PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

In other words, 10bit file on 8bit monitor VS 10bit monitor. Will there be any differences in the export? Maybe some details in color?

John Joumaa

March 27, 2015 at 2:12PM, Edited March 27, 2:12PM

>>>10bit file on 8bit monitor

Depending on your NLE you might see some banding while editing, but this should be gone when you do your 8-bit export. If you see banding in the 8-bit export ( not likely, but it can happen ) then you can add a tiny bit of Gaussian noise to your image to clear this up. ( even adding film-grain to your image might be enough to do the trick )

I would always try to use a monitor with as much color depth as your footage so that you will always see an accurate image of your footage.

March 27, 2015 at 3:41PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

The way I understand it is that grading in higher bit allows you more freedom to manipulate the color, contrast, luminance, etc. of your footage for a final result that you desire. When you export it to a lower bit, that final result will still look like what you want; you just no longer have the freedom to manipulate that final result anymore, as you did with a higher bit.

If, on the other hand, you start out with a lower bit, say 8-bit, in your grade, then you will not have the freedom to get to that final result to begin with, at least not as much freedom as if you were grading in 10-bit (or higher).

Then again, if you capture in camera the footage as close to what you want your final result to look like, you'll not need those extra bits to grade with to achieve that final result. I've worked with 8-bit almost all of the time I've spent shooting (I just upgraded to 10-bit in the BMPCC), and I've always had very good results because I captured in camera the colors, contrast, etc. near to what I had in mind for my final result.

But, you're right, grading that higher bit is SO satisfying ;)

March 28, 2015 at 6:25PM

Harlan Rumjahn
Low-level government official

Its always better to work with high fidelity file types and codecs so when its time to compress you will at least get a better looking image... 8 bit video especially if its 4:2:0 is nothing to be compared to 10 bit 4:2:2 so always try to work with 10 bit as best as posibble.

March 29, 2015 at 6:56PM

Wentworth Kelly
DP/Colorist/Drone Op

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