I designed this workflow in order to maintain consistent appearance throughout post-production monitoring. From Avid Media Composer to Adobe After Effects and back. It maintains Legal Range throughout, so 16=black and 235=white at all points in the process. This allows for an accurate representation of how projects will display on television.

Part 1 Avid Importing

All items should be imported to Avid with the option Do Not Modify – treat as legal range. This will bring all items in with their RGB values intact and unadjusted. This may not always be what you want, but should work for most things. Adjustments are then made via Color Correction, using an external monitor for an accurate example of what the video will look like on air.

Part 2 Avid Exporting

Ensure Color Levels are set to Keep as Legal Range and any options that have a choice between RGB and 709 are set to 709. Different codecs have different options, so make sure you go through them all. This will export your file without adjusting your color levels and will mark it as being Legal levels (16-235). This will be correct assuming you made Color Correction adjustments in Legal Range in Part 1.

Part 3 AE Workflow

Make sure your color space is set to REC 709 (16-235) in your project settings.   

*Warning: HDTV (Rec. 709) and HDTV (Rec. 709) 16-235 do not behave the same. Mixing them up will cause issues.* This will make values of 16 and below display as black and values of 235 and above display as white. So it mimics what a TV does. Any footage items that are within Legal Range (like your exported file from Part 2) should be checked to ensure that they are not being over adjusted. There are different workflows for this, depending on which version of After Effects you are using.

CS6: Go to Interpret Footage>Main>Color Management and check the Preserve RGB values box or make sure Assign Profile is set to HDTV (Rec. 709) 16-235. Both options will refrain from making additional adjustments that may cause it to look messed up.

CC: CC removes the ability to change how most Quicktimes are interpreted. If your clips are being interpreted as HDTV (Rec.709) instead of HDTV (Rec. 709) 16-235, and it won’t let you change that, follow these steps instead. Apply Effect>Utility>Color Profile Converter to your Quicktime clips in your comp. Set Input Profile to HDTV (Rec. 709) 16-235 and your Output Profile to HDTV (Rec. 709). This will reverse the over correction by After Effects. You can save this as a preset for future ease of use.


Things like graphics, etc. that are in Full Range, should be set to use whatever profile matches their creation for adjustment. This will bring their values into proper Legal Range so that they do not look blown out/crushed when they air. 

Export your file making sure your Output Module>Color Management uses the Working Space as the Output Profile. This will make no adjustments during output. Values may be outside of Legal if you have made adjustments to cause that, but you will have accurately seen the effects of that on your preview monitor, so that’s okay. The goal is to ensure what you see matches what will be seen on air.