C. David Tobie: The SpyderCheckr and Video Camera Calibration
Apr 2013 04

SpyderCHECKR produces color correction presets for Lightroom, ACR, and Phocus. These presets are typically applied to still images processed in these applications. Now that Lightroom 4 can catalog, clip, and even make basic adjustments to your video, the question of using SpyderCHECKR Lightroom Presets to correct color for your video cameras arises. This possibility is particularly interesting when it comes to adjusting video capture from different types of cameras, such as GoPro cameras and DSLRs, or different types of DSLRs, to match their color as closely as possible.

The answer is: yes, it is possible to apply an existing SpyderCHECKR preset, from a still image shot with your camera, to video shot with the same camera. However, since that preset was most likely shot in RAW, and certainly as a still image, its best to start from scratch, and shoot the SpyderCHECKR target in a video clip, to capture the actual video workflow for color correction.

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C. David Tobie: Workspace Conditions and Color Critical Work
May 2013 09

Views are a wonderful thing, and when you work your way up to a corner office, the idea of blackout shades dimming your room to low light levels, and not allowing you to even see whether the sun is shining or not is something that many resist. After all; you’re an editor (architect, advertising account manager, etc) now, not a photo retoucher (draftsman, graphic designer, etc). However; if you select the images for articles, choose amongst architectural renderings, or ad versions, or if you are in any way part of the workflow that processes images and layouts for press output, web output, fine art prints, wedding albums, or any other color critical use, then either you are part of the color managed solution… or else you are part of the color management problem.

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David Saffir: Using the SpyderCube with Histograms
Aug 2013 06

Remember the “old-style”, ordinary middle-gray card, the one so often used to help set exposure? As time went on, and digital photography came into its own, that same gray card was sometimes used to set in-camera white balance, or in post-production to neutralize color-cast effects produced by in-scene illuminants.

The problem is that many gray cards look gray, but the reflected light from the card may be affected by materials used its construction. These materials are considered to be “spectrally-biased”, in other words, they may reflect a color-cast from the illuminant in use.

If one uses a different material, one that is “spectrally-neutral”, it will return a result (reflected light) that is accurate regardless of lighting used. The material will have a neutral appearance, with little or no color-cast. The SpyderCUBE, which is discussed below, is constructed of these materials. That is what makes it so useful in setting in-camera white balance, and in neutralizing overall color in post-production.

Here’s a demonstration using an ordinary gray card purchased at my local camera shop….

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Top Reasons Why You Should Consider Calibrating Your Display
Aug 2013 13

Photographers, videographers and designers can work confidently on a properly color calibrated screen and can assert greater control over the color fidelity of their digital process. Images can be reliably assessed and adjusted on a properly calibrated display, enabling true-to-life reproduction of image files.

Displays are normally set at the factory for a brightly lit office environment, more for word processing than image editing. This “fresh from the box” condition can be very frustrating. First, you have very little chance of seeing the correct color. Second, the brightness and contrast settings kill shadow and highlight detail, and often flatten out mid-tone transitions.

Calibrating your display will bring the performance of the device in line with requirements for photography, giving you rich but not over-saturated color, accurate neutral grays, good mid-tones, and realistic shadows and highlights.

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C. David Tobie: Mac Finder Color Issues
Sep 2013 19

Mac users have been noticing that thumbnails of their images, in the Mac Finder, are not always showing correct color. Most commonly, this occurs when using a wide gamut working space, and results in very flat, and sometimes off-hue image color in the Finder preview of the image. I have received a number of questions about this, and while there I can’t offer a simple answer, I can provide some interesting information on the topic.

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C. David Tobie: Atomos Spyder Support, and What It Means for You
Sep 2013 24

Last week a company named Atomos announced a bundle that includes an Atomos Video Field Recorder/Display with a Datacolor Spyder, plus custom software and a special cable. Its a clever solution that allows these small, camera-mounted video displays to be color calibrated, so that they can be trusted for more than just seeing where the camera is pointing.

To appreciate the value of this, its important to understand how calibration differs between computer-driven displays and video displays (be they small field displays, or big, expensive video reference displays). With a computer, there is a standard end-to-end solution available. The screen can be read from a Spyder connected to the same computer that the display is connected do, and the resulting calibration can be downloaded to the video card that drives the display.

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Seán Duggan: Black is the New Black
Nov 2013 05

Auguste Renoir, the French painter who was part of the Impressionist movement in the late 1800s, once made an interesting observation about color:

“I’ve been 40 years discovering that the queen of all colors was black.”

As photographers, we can learn a lot from that simple statement. No matter how you choose to portray color in your images, whether bright and vibrant, or more muted and subdued, it’s important to understand the central role that black plays in any photograph.

Black is critical in images simply because the structure of the dark shadow details creates a foundation, or a framework that carries the rest of the scene. Without a solid foundation in the form of strong blacks, the entire image can be affected, resulting in an image that looks muddy and indistinct.

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Video: Taming The Red By Jo Avila
Dec 2013 26

Watch as Datacolor Friend With Vision Jo Avilla walks you through an action figure photoshoot and post production color correction using the SpyderCHCKR.

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David Cardinal: New Uses for the SpyderCUBE
Jan 2014 28

I’m continuing to find new uses for Datacolor’s innovative SpyderCUBE. Last month I wrote about how handy it was on my photo tour to Cambodia & Burma. This month I stashed it in a side pocket of my camera bag (I love how small it is) and brought it along to cover the International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. I found plenty of uses for it, especially given the variety of lighting situations and the need to accurately portray the colors on many retail products to my readers.

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Hernan Rodriguez: Color Harmony – Perfecting Color and Contrast in Your Images
Feb 2014 17

Most often we might proceed with all the details of our shoot including lighting, location, models and props, but we often will just wing our color balance. I’ve been caught many times on location with a mix of different types of lights from overhead incandescent lights mixed with flash. I heavily rely on a simple color and exposure calibration system offered by Datacolor. This system will save you endless hours in post-production, by simply white balancing to the white and black target SpyderCUBE and the color SpyderCHECKR taken in a shot at the onset of your portrait session. The SpyderCUBE helps you to set the white balance, exposure and black level when editing pictures. The SpyderCHECKR will provide color correction for camera. It can be used to set the correct color temperature for your session.

For my commercial and celebrity sessions, I might be working with 2-3k images per session. Imagine the length of time required to process these images. With the Datacolor process, I can get them all done from the one target shot.


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For more information about Hernan’s Master Class at WPPI – The Influence of Color Harmony – Click Here

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