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X-Rite ColorChecker Gray Scale (M50103)
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- A full-sized version of the white, 18% gray, and black reference squares used in the 24-patch ColorChecker
- Scientifically engineered to provide a precise, uniform surface that is spectrally neutral (reflects equal amounts of red, blue and green) in all types of lighting conditions.
- On site, use as first reference shot to instantly correct image color
- In the studio, use it to evaluate exposure and balance between main and fill lights to quickly set up the proper lighting ratio, and to set white balance.
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|Item Dimensions||1.75 x 11 x 8.5 inches|
|Item Weight||0.35 pounds|
|Platform||No Operating System|
|Shipping Weight||0.45 pounds|
|Style Name||ColorChecker Gray Scale|
ColorChecker 3-Step Grayscale lets you balance your images, plus simplifies the task of balancing your studio lighting. A white, 18% gray and a black target all on a single card make color adjustments faster and easier with your photo processing software. Simplify camera and studio lighting balance with this three step gray-scale target for performing quick color adjustments and evaluating studio lighting conditions. The ColorChecker Three-Step Grayscale is a full-sized version of the white, 18% gray, and black reference squares used in the 24-patch ColorChecker, all on a single card. Use it to capture accurate color before your photo session, and save yourself editing time and effort afterward. On site, use it as the first reference shot in a series to instantly correct image color by balancing on the mid-tone gray value. In the studio, use it to evaluate exposure and balance between main and fill lights to quickly set up the proper lighting ratio, and to set white balance. The ColorChecker Three-Step Grayscale target also provides reference values for adjusting colors within most common photo processing software packages, allowing you to make quick color adjustments. The ColorChecker Three-Step Grayscale is scientifically engineered to provide a precise, uniform surface that is spectrally neutral (reflects equal amounts of red, blue and green) in all types of lighting conditions. Use it for a variety of applications: Digital Photography: Check images, set white balance and verify exposure and balance between main and fill lights; Traditional Photography: Check films, lights, filters and paper; Cinematography (Television and Video): Check cameras, lights and film.
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I am not talking about using it as a color picker even though that does come in handy when matching cameras. I am talking about when you are color correcting before your grade.
We all know unless you spend a fortune on the right monitor and calibrate it -- nothing is going to be better than your scopes. Using this to reference accompanied by scopes and other tools we have at our disposal, I do not see how anyone serious about nailing imagery can go on without something like this.
There are too many YouTube tutorials that teach the wrong thing and it is frustrating to see this being done. This is why I like the X-Rite. Let me elaborate.
People teach the wrong way to white balance and correctly white balancing is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL for getting all the color information that was there when you were recording. Especially if you record RAW or ProRes. You want all the dynamic range in not just your highlights and shadows but you want it to show in your colors. Without properly white balancing first; this is not possible. The X-Rite has THE BEST white balance reference on the rear end that I have used and I have used so called 'certified' white balance cards. Simply crop your clip with the white board, set your vector-scope to 2x and boost your RGB levels (NOT SATURATION). Then bring your kelvin (if shooting RAW) or warmth/cool and tint to a point where the cropped white balance card shows as a dot right in the center of your vector-scope. DONE.. NAILED every damn time. White balance in post perfectly every time in less than 30 seconds.
The next thing I like to do is use the clip of the front of the X-Rite to make sure my exposure is perfect a la scopes. Make sure the front of the board is in the light of your scene and adjust your highlights to ensure the white (highlights) are showing as 95 IRE in your waveform, adjust your gamma so the mid-tones (second to last grey swatch) are roughly in the center and adjust your shadows so your blacks (shadows) are right around 0 IRE in your waveform. This way, when you look at the scene with your talent and the highlights are not hitting 95 IRE, you know you are where you should be and don't boost your highlights too much. Then, adjust mid-tones for taste and start your grade. (I don't like crushing my blacks so I will clip them in my grade, not my color correction). I don't usually adjust exposure in the RAW file and will almost always use my levels for exposure. However, if I over exposed a lot in a scene (which I often do when shooting RAW) and highlights aren't clipped (otherwise the footage is scrapped), I may dial down the ISO (RAW adjustment only) so I have a better starting point (general crushed wave is in the center of the waveform scope).
Sorry to turn this into a tutorial but I just feel this is an invaluable tool and worth every penny because of how fast it can help you get a scene color corrected and on to the fun stuff.
Feel free to comment below for any questions.
The reason for a less than optimal rating was that, for the price, you would think that each target (or at least batch) would come with a CD or some media with a data file pertaining to that specific target or batch. You get nothing whatsoever as far as colorimetric data and you have to download that online and hope that the generic file is accurate enough for any target you might receive. They don't even attempt to give you data on paper like you used to get with the original ColorChecker.
Further, there is not even a charge number or batch number anywhere to be found on the target or box it comes in. Just "January 2014 edition" on the back. Seriously, for almost $300 shipped, you'd think they could at least supply batch related colorimetric data.