Using the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport while shooting photography or video is essential for achieving true to life colors and picture-perfect white balance. Every camera is different and getting consistent, accurate color can be difficult even in the best of situations, which is why using a lab calibrated chip chart like the X-Rite ColorChecker passport is so important. Combined with the portable chip chart, the software provided by X-Rite makes the process easier than you’d think. While we prefer X-Rite’s ColorChecker Passport because of its size, quality and portability, any professional chip chart will do the job. We’ve used this chart for matching cameras, different scenes, different lighting and for printing photographs that need to be color accurate for print.
Nearly every camera has its own color bias based on the color science the manufacturer chooses to use for their sensor. Your lens choice can also make a dramatic difference in how color is transmitted to the sensor. Some cameras may have a slight magenta tint while others may have more a greenish tone in the overall image. If you only use one camera, you may not even notice these shifts because your eye can easily become accustomed to the color you’re used to seeing.
To achieve best results, place your chip chart in front of your subject once you’ve got your light setup, be it interior or exterior lighting. There’s been times where we’ve placed the chart next to our product with the same distance from camera and other times where the chart is nearly touching our models nose.
Be sure to get a close up of the chart while shooting it for reference, keeping in mind that any chip chart won’t fix bad exposure. Once you’re properly expose, and make sure you are not clipping any of your blacks or whites, take your shot with the framing you have in mind. Also, make sure the chart is in focus! There is nothing worse than getting back to the editing room and realizing the X-Rite software is not able to analyze your reference shot because a blurry shot of the chart is muddying up the colors.
The X-Rite ColorChecker Passport is an essential part of our kit, whether we are shooting photography or video. The product is small, thin and very light weight. The chart can easily fit in a book-bag, a pelican or skb, even a hoodie or pants pocket!
Unlike many chip charts, the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport has a book style design that closes and opens easily, protecting the light sensitive chips inside from fading and scratches. There are 3 sections to it, one being the color chart, then a creative enhancement page, and a grey card for white balance. Yes, this product has the capability to do color balancing and white balancing.
This product is simple to use and doesn’t require a lot of time. Once your lighting is locked in and you are about to snap your shot, it is time to bring in the color checker. Having the chart captured in frame with the same lighting setup you are shooting with will assure correct color later in post production with their software built generate a calibration map based on your specific shot, analyzing the chip chart to achieve superior results.
We recommend this product to anyone who aims to shoot professionally and as accurately as possible. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the big difference in the overall picture. Clients love when their products look the same on the computer as they do in person. The color checker stays in our kit at all times and we try to use it every chance we get.