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X-Rite ColorChecker Classic (MSCCC)
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- Industry standard 24 patch Classic target used to create custom camera profiles and as a visual color reference
- Color patches remain the same as the light changes for professional-quality consistency - each square reflects light in a similar way as its real-life counterpart in all parts of the visible spectrum, under any illumination, and with any color reproduction process
- Used by professional photographers around the world for consistent, reliable color – since 1976
- Creates professional, custom camera profiles in minutes, check images, correct white balance and perform color correction
- Filmmakers can use for color grading; check cameras and lights
- Designers can check any printing or proofing process
- Supported by several 3rd party software programs
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The ColorChecker Classic target is designed to deliver true-to-life color reproduction so photographers and filmmakers can predict and control how color will look under any illumination. Each of the 24 colors represents the actual color of natural objects and reflects light just like its real-world counterpart. Use it to compare, measure and analyze differences in color reproduction and avoid costly mistakes with trial-and-error color adjustments while editing images.
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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.
Again, Canon's raws, even with adobe standard, had a good amount of color and contrast, and weren't that hard to edit. Nikon's raws are absolutely awful in lightroom.
I was on the verge of switching back to canon and the colorchecker passport was my last attempt and making the system work. While I have not yet made camera profiles for every lighting condition, the one I made using daylight works magic on my raws. My god, what a difference! I excepted a change, but not this much of one. Now, using the xrite profile, I'm 80% of the way to an presentable photo, and minor/basic tweaks are all that's needed. Before, I had to mess with all sorts of color sliders, tone curves and pretty much every lightroom module to get my D750 files to look anything like what I wanted.
This thing's an absolute life saver.
Will update review upon receipt of new item.
Update: Upon repurchasing this item direct from Amazon, the new X-Rite ColorChecker Passport, did not have any glue smudges like my previous order (see pics), though it did still have some white shavings inside the package, which were easily blown off with a lens air cleaner. Take care of these chips folks, don't touch them and above all, check them upon arrival for good (proper) quality control from X-Rite.
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.