Shot Matching 101 – Matching Black Levels

March 9, 2016

In this insight dan shares his approach and methods to matching black levels. Matching is hard but with practice you can become much faster!


In this Insight, I properly dive into the world of matching. We start with some tips on matching black levels.

Matching black levels, and blacks, in general, is probably the single most important task we do as colorists.

As the light levels change human eyes will accept a certain amount of tolerance before being jarred out of the film or video – but as soon as the black is wandering it jumps out immediately.

In the video below I show off a couple of tips and also the theory on how I approach matching my shots.

There is more to matching black than just having it hit 0 on your scopes!

I don’t think I have covered every possible area of matching blacks in this insight but it’s a good start and we can discuss what you’d like to see next in the comments!



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    • Jason Bowdach

      Very helpful insight, Dan! Its amazing how easily any average person can catch black level changes, especially in B&W. Looking forward to more tips for matching, as it may not be “flashy” but we certainly do it a lot. Very interesting point about how we ignore subtle highlight changes more easily than black level. Have you noticed that the increased detail in the shadows provided by recent technology in cameras is changing how clients prefer the “black” levels and detail? Compared to say earlier digital cameras (DSLRS) and film?

      For those wondering about why some like myself like Scopebox, and it provides a unique HML vectorscope that really helps with seeing black level balance. Its helped me become more aware of my black balance as I grade, so that alone made it worth it IMO.

    • Nurali K

      Dan I’m looking forward to more on this subject, thanks for great work you’re doing!

    • Nurali K

      off topic but i can’t seem to find where to change “mail” to my name.. 🙂

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