By Guest Blogger: PastramiSwissRye
No matter the size of your budget, there will come a time when you need to match different cameras. It could be a GoPro crash cam in a stunt scene, pickup shots on a DSLR after a rented RED has been returned, or just borrowing a B-cam from a friend to cover an interview.
While you can always try to match your settings on location, no two camera manufacturers use the same color science. As a result, your shots won't match exactly and the final intercut product may seem a little "off" to the viewer no matter what you do on set.
My initial reaction to mismatched shots across cameras was to carefully color-match each shot in post. This cost me a lot of time and money - until a co-worker and I devised a quicker method.
The cameras we used were the Panasonic G7 and the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K, which both record at 3840x2160p Ultra High Definition - but this technique should work for any camera brand and at any resolution.
|Blackmagic Production Camera 4K|
|X-Rite ColorChecker Passport|
|Generic Main Sequence Star|
|Panasonic G7 test shot|
|Blackmagic Production Camera 4K test shot|
First, we chose to leave the BlackMagic footage untouched and instead matched the (objectively poorer) Panasonic footage to it.
Next, we used the curves tool and the waveform monitor to match the exposure of each of the grayscale frames on the color chart. This was made slightly easier by rotating the clip 90 degrees and masking around the grayscale frames so they showed up clearly on the scopes. The process was then as simple as creating a point on the curve for each frame and adjusting it up and down until the waveform from the G7 matched that of the BMPC4K.
When we were satisfied, we exported the corrections as a LUT via “File>Project Settings>Color Management>Generate LUT From Current Grade”.
|Original Panasonic G7 CineD shot|
|Original BMPC4K shot|
|LUT-matched shots ready to be graded|
The time saved and the quality of the results has easily been worth the cost of the color chart and the time invested. I highly recommend that anyone who regularly needs to match cameras as part of their job - or who wants to realize a creative vision without spending hours matching cameras in post - give this workflow a try.
What do you think? Do you plan to use this technique to match colors between cameras? We would love to hear from you. Please post your thoughts in the comments section below.
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