Shot Matching Basics: Matching Multiple Cameras

Shot Matching – Basic Camera Matching

September 16, 2014

In this Insight we take a look at doing shot matching with multiple cameras to create a smooth edit. Featuring: BMPCC, BMCC and Red Scarlet cameras.


Series

The Fundamentals of Camera Matching

Camera matching is a huge part of being a successful colorist that I’m very excited to dive into. In this Insight, we’ll be covering how I match cameras and I’ll show you an example of how I match a Red Scarlet, Blackmagic Cinema Camera, and a Blackmagic Pocket Camera.

These shots are taken from a multi-camera music video shoot for the band Minimus The Poet so, in theory, these shots should match exactly!

Matching cameras is tricky but if you’re lucky, once you match the cameras together you should be able to apply the base correction you’ve developed across a lot of shots on the timeline and then work quickly and efficiently from there.

Oh one more big thing to remember. Use C mode!

C mode sorts the shots on the timeline in Timecode / Reel order so you can group all similar shots and angles together. This sorting mode can speed up your workflow by a huge amount.

Pushing And Pulling

If you remember one piece of advice from this Insight, I would love it to be the idea of pushing and pulling shots around until magically they meet in the middle and match.

More often than not, new colorists will dive headfirst into making one shot look amazing without scouting the rest of the timeline to make sure that it’s possible to make the look work across the whole project.

A good colorist is always thinking ahead and putting on the right show for the clients. I always try a couple of shots from each scene when building looks and keep informing the client that I am experimenting.

We’re the experts, so this is our chance to tell the client what’s possible and what’s not possible. We’re the color experts and more often than not if you tell a client something is not possible they will accept your expert opinion.

– Dan

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Comments

10 thoughts on “Shot Matching – Basic Camera Matching”

  1. Thanks Dan, great tutorial. I had a DOP on a project I am prepping send me an emails quoting this from an article he read online

    “Here was a camera that by no means has the same specs as the Alexa, but by doing little tricks you could make it look as if it was an Alexa.” Those “little tricks” included applying a customized LUT that Technicolor’s color-science team created to match the looks of the disparate cameras”

    Wondering your thoughts about this?

  2. Hey Ian!

    I’ve heard this many many times. Essentially this does work on big feature productions where you’re using the same 3 or 4 cameras for the whole production and the LUTs are built for those exact cameras. The problem is that each camera is slightly different to another and when you add different lenses into the mix it gets even further off. So there is no “perfect” LUT to make a 5d look like an Alexa.

    My thoughts on this is what is the point in trying to make it look like an Alexa first and then trying to grade it. I always want start with the stripped down raw camera file and make it look as good as humanly possible. If I want to make 5d more Alexa like I go straight to the curves and try and soften the harsh contrast and control the highly saturated colours.

    I know it’s tricky trying to convince the DOP to ignore things he read online but he just needs to trust you and your eyes to deliver the best footage possible!

    – Dan

    1. If you shot a oneshot chart with say an alexa and 2 gopro’s in a controlled environment. Then balanced the chart for each camera. Would that be as close as you could get right beforehand?

      1. Hi Greg,

        I’m just recieving rushes for a film shot on Alexa and C500 and they have shot charts on set on both cameras at the point they switch from Alexa to C500 under the same lighting conditions. When I get around to testing that I will post back and let you know how it works out

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