Matching Pantone References – And When To Say No

November 19, 2016

Matching Pantone references to video can be tricky at the best of the times. Get advice on getting that exact match - even if it's not precisely correct.

Battling Video Reality Vs Print Brand Colors

Anyone working in commercials or branded content knows the pain and detail needed when matching Pantone references and brand guidelines.

If this is something new to you just visualize how a coca-cola bottle always has the same red no matter where in the world it was filmed or graded. This is due to people setting out a definitive reference color that all productions must follow

In this insight, I show you how I match the reference and also approach – avoiding the problem that the precise match is almost always too saturated and bright!

Brand Colors In Action

Here is a commercial I graded last year that almost every shot features brand colors.

You can see that anytime the purple appears it matches the branded Pantone color:

Cadbury: Advent Calendar from Big Buoy on Vimeo.

Now, let’s jump over to my Insight Video below to continue!

Enjoy and ask questions in the comments.


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Homepage Forums Matching Pantone References – And When To Say No

  • account

    A while ago, I had to deal with dark yet beautiful sunset shots (often backlit), sometimes with major lens flares. The subject was wearing a shirt with brand colours, but it was dark, heavily affected by the overall colour cast and with occasional flares in front of it. There was nothing wrong with the cinematography itself, it was gorgeous. But it’s a struggle to balance fidelity to brand colours vs. realism in these situations. How would you address these kind of shots?


  • Jan Klier

    When matching color accurately, caution is in order when getting device dependent color values. It’s actually not 100% accurate to get color values in RGB or CMYK. What color a specific RGB value represents is a factor of the color space, including the gamma.

    A specific RGB value in sRGB (2.2), Rec 709 (2.4), or DCI P3 (2.6) results in different visible colors.

    If you go back to Pantone documentation they always specify their colors in Lab color, which is device independent.

    Now in most cases the difference may not be noticeable. But if someone is as precise as referring to Pantone, it may matter.

    And on a minor side note – hex is just a different representation or RGB. The six characters in Hex represent RRGGBB, with RR being the hexadecimal representation of the numeric RGB values. For example FF = 255. Whenever you enter hex or RGB it is 100% the same thing.

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