I've asked a version of this question before, and found a workaround solution that worked for a while. But now I'm at a point that I'd like to find a real answer to my problem.

So I edit and color my films in Davinci Resolve 12, and I publish to YouTube.

My workaround workflow has been as follows:

  1. Shoot with my Canon SL1
  2. Copy the footage to my hard drive and then into Davinci it goes (I don't transcode cause I don't have room)
  3. Edit, color, do everything within Davinci
  4. Export from Davinci using the default QuickTime MPEG4 Video setting
  5. (Convert to x264 using Handbrake, send to client to watch via Google Drive; make changes as requested)
  6. Final convert for YouTube using MPEG Streamclip
  7. Upload to YouTube

If it helps here's the settings I use for MPEG Streamclip: MPEG Streamclip Settings

That workflow has worked well for 1080p videos up until this point.

The problem is, I'm trying to upload a 4K video now. When I try to convert this video, I get a screen that says compression error. (and nothing else) Since I never really liked this workflow from the start, I thought I'd take this opportunity to figure out the right way to do this.

The problem that made me use my workaround workflow in the first place:

Whenever I try to upload videos I've converted using Handbrake to YouTube, they look fine when I play them locally with VLC on my computer, but on YouTube they look pretty bad; the dark parts of the image become far too black.

I've researched this a lot and I think the problem has something to do with changing the RGB levels from full to limited. (0-255 to 16-235) From my understanding, this would change everything in the video below brightness value 16 to totally black. That makes sense as far as what's happening to me, so I think that's what's happening when I upload to YouTube.

So, my question is: How do I get exactly what I watch in Davinci to exist on YouTube when exporting in 4K?

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!

  • 1
    Like I said earlier, the problem isn't changing the levels. It's that your Handbrake or Davinci output isn't flagged correctly, so Youtube thinks or assumes that you're sending limited, but it's full range. If you're ok with a command line tool (ffmpeg), then I''ll suggest a command for conversion.
    – Gyan
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 19:39
  • @Mulvya Yeah ok I understood that, just didn't know it was changeable. I'd love to be able to do it within Handbrake, but if command line works well that would be awesome.
    – j.m.g.r
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 19:44
  • @Mulvya Sorry, I don't mean to bother you, but I've tried figuring out FFmpeg and how to change the color range, and I'm confused. Could you tell me how to fix this with it?
    – j.m.g.r
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 17:54
  • Sorry, I forgot about this Q. Can you post the Mediainfo readout for your Davinci export. Also, check if you can render to Animation codec in Resolve.
    – Gyan
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 18:03
  • @Mulvya Sorry about the delay, I've been shooting a lot recently. Here's what Mediainfo says: i.imgur.com/VcfXz1M.png And animation codec apparently isn't supported in Resolve 12, which is the version I use.
    – j.m.g.r
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 21:53

1 Answer 1


The MOV you exported from Resolve is tagged as Rec 601 (despite being UHD).

So, I transcoded your MOV using the command below, preserving all color characteristics and uploaded that to Youtube. Downloaded YT's transcoded video and compared it to the MOV, and in ffplay, VLC or Potplayer, they look the same.

ffmpeg -i Untitled.mov -crf 18
       -color_primaries 6 -color_trc 6 -colorspace 6 -color_range 1 resolve-upload.mp4

P.S. I also uploaded your MOV and downloaded its transcode from YT. Turns out that the transcode is flagged as Rec. 709, which is wrong, despite the MOV being tagged as 601. The rip of my transcode is tagged as 601.

  • Thank you for your response, the problem is that Davinci only exports H.264 up to 1080p, not 4K like I need. It can export 4K to the MPEG format.
    – j.m.g.r
    Commented Jul 23, 2016 at 19:17
  • "MPEG" is ambiguous. MPEG-2? MPEG-4 (ASP)?
    – Gyan
    Commented Jul 23, 2016 at 19:29
  • Sorry, it's MPEG4, and I tried the command using that, and it went through and converted successfully, but it still looks the same on YouTube. :/
    – j.m.g.r
    Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 0:44
  • Can you upload a very short sample a DaVinci export, say around 5 seconds?
    – Gyan
    Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 4:42
  • Here's the link to the MPEG4 export: drive.google.com/open?id=0Bz04rvqZbP1aUkVFUWNmSld3eVk
    – j.m.g.r
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 16:04

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