X-Rite have been bundling their ColorChecker Passport Video and i1Display Pro colorimeter together for a while now, and with the release of their new i1Display Pro Plus probe and subsequent update to their Filmmaker Kit, I decided to take a look at what’s new and how I see this bundle helping filmmakers.
The bundling of these two items together is not random or some kind of cynical attempt by X-Rite to up-sell their customers. The two products work hand-in-hand to help filmmakers take control of colour management throughout the production pipeline. By using the chart in production (or even in pre-production testing to see what effect different lenses have on colours and contrast, or to help build custom LUTs for a shoot) it can assist with getting good exposure and white balance in-camera. Ensuring the images that you capture are balanced means you save time in post-production – time that can be better spent on perfecting your edit or simply getting home at a decent hour!
With the chart helping filmmakers record the best image, the emphasis then shifts to how you monitor those recordings. There are two crucial times when filmmakers need to be able to trust what they see on a monitor. Firstly, whilst filming they want to know that any on-camera monitor or external production monitor they are using is showing them a faithful representation of the images they are capturing. There is no worse a feeling than being unsure if the image you are seeing on your screen is truly what you are capturing, particularly if multiple monitors are being used and they all look different! For the same reason, the other time when a filmmaker needs to be able to make a critical evaluation of their film is when they are colour grading it in post. By bundling the new i1Display Pro Plus with the ColorChecker Passport Video, X-Rite is handing filmmakers the opportunity to make every screen they use look the same. For example, we have a mixture of SmallHD and Atomos monitors we use during filming, as well as Apple, LG, Eizo, Canon and other makes of monitoring devices we use in post. With this one device we can ensure that we never have that ‘is this the true image or not’ feeling. Even with our high-bright and HDR devices, the new i1Display Pro Plus can calibrate them (up to 2000 nits, in fact) and ensure what we’re seeing is what we’re getting.
What I love most about X-Rite’s i1 ColorChecker Filmmaker Kit is that it’s a low-tech and relatively low-cost solution to the biggest and most widespread problems in image capture – accuracy and consistency. When you spend thousands and thousands of pounds on camera and lighting equipment, it seems crazy to not spend an extra few hundred on a kit that solves those problems. I don’t think it is an overstatement to say that accurate and consistent colours in our films have meant we can confidently work with bigger brands, bigger budgets and win bigger accolades.