Cavity Black and Camera Alignment

I obsess.  Hide your chip charts, I have my Exacto knife at the ready…

I like a good chip chart.  As far as I’m concerned DSC Labs make the best.  With their ChromaDuMonde series they go beyond the standard 11 step gray scale and add a multitude of vector points, as well as skin tones.  ChromaDuMonde is the ultimate camera alignment reference.  They also have the delightful “CaviBlack” option where they cut out the black reference on a chart and slap a black box on the back to create a deep black reference.

How much blacker can it be?; none more!

I like to make my own cavity black, been doing it for years.  It is the only way to set a proper black level.  I used to believe in cap black, but that doesn’t take into account flare (not as in lens flare from a poorly flagged lens, but more so the inherent light dispersion attributes of the entire optical system; lens, optical block, chip, etc.).  Of course more often than not I set my black in post.

Cavity Black

Cavity Black, how sinister but useful.  It also creates a rock solid bottom by which to gauge the rest of your image.  I’ve been using it extensively in the elusive search for the best Canon Custom Picture Profile

By the way, you are aligning your camera’s, right?  None of this straight out of the box onto the set, right?  Okay, tackling the plethora of controls in a modern video camera can be daunting, particularly the color matrix settings and their confusion of R-B’s, B-Gs and the like.  Do you even comprehend what “coring” is?  I don’t.  Besides, those Chroma duMonde Charts aren’t cheap, along with the requisite scopes and lighting.  But you need to setup your camera, so send your camera off to a specialist.  I highly recommend Macie Video Service in Massachusetts.  They will wring out the best your camera can be, and also produce additional custom scene files or “looks” depending on your needs.  AbelCine is another resource for excellent setup service, and they have locations on both the left and right coasts.

And remember, despite the accuracy of digital control, each camera is slightly different so you need your own picture profiles; no exchanging them with cohorts!  Macie will explain why…

So get in line….

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