DSC Labs ChromaMatch – A Clever Tool to Grade & Color Match Cameras

The ChromaMatch is the latest product from DSC Labs, the industry-leading company responsible for many widely-used color reference charts in video and film productions. At NAB 2016, I sat down with founder and president David Corley to talk about how the ChromaMatch gives you a clever way to control your colors at any stage of your workflow, and even allowing you to color match cameras quickly and easily.

chromamatchWhen looking at the DSC Labs ChromaMatch, the difference to conventional color charts is immediately striking. The circular shape of the color bars makes scaling irrelevant and helps you move quickly and efficiently.

How The ChromaMatch Works

The idea is simple but ingenious. You film the chart on set, and later bring in a circular digital reference file and place it over your captured frame so that the bars match. You can then use a vectorscope to easily match the colors in post, which can even help you when you color match cameras.

I tried this very quickly within Adobe Premiere for the interview video above, but the results weren’t pleasing, so I took the shot into DaVinci Resolve to get a more accurate color reproduction. As you can see, the colors are still a bit off. But considering the lighting in the Convention Center hall was truly horrible, I think the chart can work very well when you use the right tools and a proper vectorscope.

If you would like to know how the matching process works, there’s a nice tutorial by IT Enquirer. They have a video taking you through the color correcting steps in Final Cut Pro with a GoPro Hero 4:

The Standard version of the DSC Labs ChromaMatch is available for $300, with a Pro version with more colors available for $500 – dsclabs.com

cinema5D at NAB 2016
Atomos Art-List B&H Tilta Blackmagic Design

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Anonymous May 10, 2016

Silly. An 18 per cent grey card which by definition is equal parts red green and blue will accomplish the same thing. Costs virtually nothing.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber May 10, 2016

Evan I think you did not understand the purpose of the chart. A grey card will not give you color matching capabilities for the different colors across the spectrum.

Anonymous May 11, 2016

Yes and No Sebastian. Given that grey is equal amounts of the three primary colors, if you get that spot on, all your other colors will be correct. That is all I am saying.

Crimson Son May 11, 2016

When you are creating a look, separated color is easier. Gray does not help with chromacity and such. Gray is good for white balance but not all measurements you may need.

Crimson Son May 10, 2016

Not sure I am understanding the article correctly. But a MacBeth chart does the same thing, if not first. The difference is the circular design for scaling purposes. You might be giving them too much credit.

Correct me if I am wrong.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber May 11, 2016

Hi Crimson,
If I understood David correctly then I don’t think a MacBeth chart will give you all the right positions on the vectorscope. Check out the second video where the guys walks us through it. Also I found I could easily match the colors in DaVinci with the help of the vectorscope.

Derek McCabe Reply
Derek McCabe May 15, 2016

Correct. This is about scopes. The pattern on this chart creates a circle on the vector. This means the chart is specific for video. MacBeth charts were for photographic and printing reproduction.

There is only one other chart that is specific for video, the X-Rite Colorchecker Passport Video — which is brand new. The only issue with the X-Rite video chart is it is small in size. But also note that Color Grading Central has an automated Final Cut Pro X app (and soon a new version for Adobe Premier and DaVinci Resolve) that will auto correct based on the color chart.

I was hoping the DSC Labs chart has similar software to go with these new charts, because you have to correct yourself, which actually might be better in the long run.

These charts are also very helpful for making profiles to match different brand cameras. Bring up 2 different cameras with the exact same lighting on this chart, and you see how colors shift differently. You can’t “see” that in vectors with grey cards.

But overall, the DSC Labs chart looks much higher quality than the X-Rite, in terms of more color samples showing up in the vector scope.. DSC labs has a very good reputation of color accuracy. They make the standard charts used in most high-end video production crews… but they are expensive.

Raymond Rahner Reply
Raymond Rahner May 10, 2016

Will Good It’s the Dope Shot Club Labs lol

Anonymous May 30, 2016

Guys I beg to disagree. A gray card is all that is needed. Why? Because grey true gray is by definition equal parts red green and blue. When you Match with it all you need is a slight tweak for different sensor look. The rest is people selling us an unneeded product