Fixing Color in VLC Media Player

So you’ve spent months trying to wrap your head around digital color spaces and have finally been dragged, kicking and screaming, but mostly screaming, into an ACES-compliant workflow. Eventually, you think you’ve finally got it, and all the colors just *look the same* regardless of which bit of software you’re using or which stage of the pipeline you’re at. Yay!

Color Banding: Bit Depth & Chroma Sampling

TL;DR If you’re seeing color banding in your exported video, it’s almost certainly because you’re using an encoding profile that specifies a color depth of 8 bits. Use a codec, such as H.265 / HVEC, DNxHR or ProRes, that supports 10 bit color and configure it to use a 10 bit encoding profile.

What is Digital Color?

The discourse around digital color is complex and confusing. If you care about color at all and you work in digital, you should probably spend at least a whole day of your life on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Digital Colour, which gives several messianic fucks about making this difficult stuff clearer.