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Evan A Olson

Pulling hair out about proper exposure and color with a Datacolor Spyder Checkr 24

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When it's time to white balance a camera, my current workflow is like this:

  1. Place Datacolor Spyder Checkr 24 in front of the camera in a location that receives an even amount of light from the lights.
  2. Enable the LUT if shooting log on my SmallHD.
  3. Open RGB waveforms (with settings enabled to prevent it from ignoring the LUT) and zoom into the large gray patch.
  4. Increase light intensity or adjust camera settings to raise the IRE of the large gray patch to just under 50 IRE (there is no 40 IRE marker).
  5. Align the blue/yellow and then the pink/green horizontal lines until that gray patch is a solid white line.
  6. Flip the color chart over and capture a short clip of the color tiles.
  7. In Resolve, apply a LUT node and then add a Datacolor correction node after the LUT node to match the color tiles.

Every time that I do this, the image comes out way too dark. I fix this by pulling in clips from shows and commercials I like and comparing IRE levels to those clips. Datacolor's tutorials and manuals are frustratingly obfuscated for no particular reason. They say "match to 18% gray" but don't show which color tile is the 18% gray tile. I feel like I should have learned this in school, but all they taught was "point it at a gray square and hit auto." That never works right.


What am I doing wrong with exposure and the color chart? How can I improve on this?

I use a light meter to figure out ratios (2:1 background, 3:1 face, etc.), but I'm in the dark as to how to connect those ratios to my camera. How do you use your light meter with a color chart?


Here is a sample log file:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/iqt1ny9wbedinec/Color test - original log.MOV?dl=0



And here is what it comes out to when following the 7 steps above:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/tt6gn5vi5643qxa/Color test - rec709.mov?dl=0




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