Luma describes the brightness of video, from absolute black, through the distribution
of gray tones, all the way up to the brightest white. Luma is completely separate from
the color of your video. In fact, if you viewed the luma of a video clip by itself, you
would see a grayscale image completely devoid of color.
Luma is measured by Final Cut Pro as a digital percentage from 0 to 100, where 0
represents absolute black and 100 represents absolute white. Final Cut Pro also allows
you to see super-white levels (levels from 101 to 109 percent) if they exist in your clip.
Although super-white video levels are not considered to be broadcast-safe, many
consumer camcorders record video at these levels anyway.
Note: In analog video, luma is measured in IRE units. These IRE measurements are
irrelevant in Final Cut Pro because it deals only with the digital signal that exists in your
computer as a straight percentage from 0 to 100 for NTSC and PAL video. For more
information, see “
How Analog Video Signals Are Measured
” on page 534.
Color Correction and Video Quality Control