Real World Review – XRite ColorChecker Passport -This Goes Right in the Bag !

(This just in: Xrite is holding a free webinar on the best way to use the ColorChecker passport. 2 times to sign up for and it’s free. We love it when manufacturers help you use their products! See you Online!)

It’s about workflow. And the right color.
How do you know it’s the right color? Of course some of it is objective, but you have to know what the standard is.
Every pro knows that the best way is to include a color chart in your shot, or in one of the frames.
You know those shots where you get your assistant to stand in the scene and hold the chart?
What? No assistant?
We don’t have one either. Most of the shooting we do is run and gun, with little op to stand in front of the subjects holding the chart.

So, XRite knew this and came up with a perfect solution: The ColorChecker Passport.
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Measuring about 5″x 3.5″ and only 1/3″ thick, this tiny case fits the 3 main color charts that you’ll need: Classic Target includes the industry standard 24 Patch Classic color reference target,
with each patch representing the colors of natural objects, such as sky blue, skin tones
and leaf green; and each patch reflecting light just like its real world counterpart. Each
square is individually colored using a solid tone to produce pure, flat, rich color without
dots or mixed tints.
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*The Classic can help you make global corrections based on accurate information. If you
shoot a large number of images that all require the same color correction, you know that
editing a few key photos and applying your changes can sometimes change colors you
didn’t intend to be changed. A shot of the ColorChecker Classic captured under the same
lighting as your images will provide a point of reference, so you can see exactly how
changes will affect the rest of your colors before you apply them.

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* White Balance Target is used to create an in-camera custom white balance that can properly
compensate for these differences. It is a spectrally flat target that
provides a neutral reference point across different lighting conditions.
With the Passport White Target, you’ll be able to eliminate color
casts, improve the preview on your camera display for more reliable
histograms and speed up post-production editing by eliminating the
need to neutralize each image individually.

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* Enhancement Target provides a visual reference for
judging, controlling and editing images for shadow details, highlight
clipping or color shifts.

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Plus you get the companion camera calibration software to set up the presets and plug-ins for your edit and enhancement software, including working seamlessly with current Adobe products using DNGs, Bibble or Nikon Capture.

Here is the basic deal: When you are shooting, why not get a key frame to calibrate the rest of your shoot in post?
We like to carry a color chart and just place it into the scene somewhere for a quick shot, so when we are in post, there is a standard reference, and we can adjust for each camera we use.
This one is the perfect size and the case is designed to close tight, so no greasy fingers, or stuff in your bag can inadvertently get on the patches, marring their surface.
The case also lets you stand up the proper chart or charts you want to use so if you don’t have that assistant, it can stand on it’s own.

Why do you need it?
It’s only a part of your workflow, but starting with proper color is the first step. Easy to carry and use, the setup for your edit programs is also tres simple.
RAW is the best to shoot anyway, and this enhances the process. It does work with jpeg too, so depending on your needs for the final image, you’re OK.
You should start with a calibrated monitor, of course, so true color is represented, at least before you send it out.
Import your files as normal, check on the presets for the XRite plug-in you created, and go.
Or, after you edit your shots, you can reference the frame with the ColorChecker, and use the eye-dropper white balance selector to set the master color, sync the overall color corrections with other images in the same setting, and save a ton of time.

Make sure you check out the video on this page. It shows a pro photog using the unit and talking about the applications.

Remember, this color chart will work for video, too. Perfect for the Final Cut Color program.
Yes, we know. Your still working out things in CS4 and now Final Cut???
Everyone photo agency is..ahem..encouraging their photogs to start doing video also.

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When we first saw a prototype, XRite listened to the reviewers suggestions and didn’t release this until it was perfect. Seems like they got it right.
The case is tight, the click stop adjustment allows you to angle the charts to mimic the light falling on a subject, and the size is perfect.

This is one of those items that should be in every shooters bag. And for under $100 USD, the time you save in post, can be that extra time shooting. Well worth it.

And if you do buy one, sign up for the FREE webinar on using this with Adobe Lightroom.

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