How to Match Video Footage From Different Cameras

Shooting with various cameras is not uncommon in the video world. Most of the time, it's because of budget constraints, but sometimes, it's because different parts of the project require different cameras. In this video, Tom Antos shares his way of matching footage from three camera brands.

There are many ways to match the image from two different video files, but when they are recorded on different sensors and with different processing units, we should always expect some slight variations between the color-matched files. Tom Antos uses color charts and records a few seconds with them under the same lighting conditions as on the actual shoot. He slightly turns the charts to make sure there is a frame in the recording without any unwanted light reflections. He uses 3D LUT Creator (which we reviewed previously). This software starts off with a base color-grading of your choice, a stock, or a custom LUT. Then, it matches these colors to the color chart stills from the various cameras. Despite being an automated process, it can never be perfect for your taste, because as I wrote in a previous article, the colors on the skin when it's lit in a certain way are not as predictable as the colors on a flat matte color chart. Nonetheless, it's a good process to get things close.

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9 Comments

Gabrielle Colton's picture

Great tips, very useful!

This is a great video but I'm going to say something that will probably bring me some hate... I've never used a color checker on location and I've never calibrated a monitor before. I've tried it, and it always made everything look horrible.

At 10:40 in this video he applies a look based on the color checker and it makes his skin look horrible and he has to change it. It seems like everyone does this. So I understand you may need it to match different cameras but for every other person, is it really necessary?

Chris K.'s picture

The industry standard to match cameras is using ACES, which more or less “normalizes” cameras to its color standard. Not changing a camera’s color science to attempt to look like another camera like what this is trying to do

Of course no system is perfect though

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

That's probably only for cinema cameras. He's using 2 stills cameras which I haven't heard to support an ACES workflow. I haven't worked with ACES and I can't say much about it.

Thanks for the heads-up!

Chris K.'s picture

All the Sony Log color gammas are supported in ACES, the only Panasonic I saw in Resolve is the Varicam 35-so I'd assume that a GH5 shooting Vlog would suffice.

Also simply using LUTs in Premiere Pro's Lumetri isn't quite ideal since Lumetri doesn't do Tetrahedral 3D LUT Interpolation yet (rumor has it it will be implemented soon though). So if your a real pixel peeper LUTs in Lumetri quite won't look as good/smooth as in something like Resolve.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Thanks for the valuable information.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

His workflow is to start with a base LUT that he likes. He shows that the automated LUT based on the color checker was not looking good to him (that's what I also see and wrote an article about it). For that reason, he applies a custom LUT and tells the software: these are the colors I like, match all other videos to these colors. And then he goes on with the static frames from the other cameras to match the colors he likes.

Basically, he uses the color checker not for "exact colors", but for finding the "exact color deviations" from his favorite custom non-real-colors LUT.

I guess that he's not using a color checker when shooting just with the BlackMagic URSA Mini but directly applies his favorite LUT. That's what he mentions.

Steve Tobenkin's picture

Great topic! If people want to find out more about ACES, I suggest they visit ACESCentral.com. ACES is free and is built into more than 25 hardware and software products currently being used for professional content creation.