New Spyder Checkr Video is off the charts!
Posted on Dec 10, 2023 by Samara Husbands
While its colour management tool has deservedly bagged our innovation of the year award, it’s not the only such device worthy of your attention. Enter Datacolor’s brand-new Spyder Checkr Video colour reference chart, a crucial tool for filmmakers
As the leading expert in colour management, Datacolor can offer photographers and videographers alike a host of award-winning products. Its Spyder X2 device that has just taken our innovation of the year award is very much a case in point. But this isn’t a company to rest on its laurels. So, already weaving its way towards a place in our consciousness and workflow is the Spyder Checkr Video colour reference chart. Described as a first-of-its-kind colour reference tool for those on the go or on location, having checked out what it offers, we feel confident this is one Spyder you’ll want to catch.
For starters, it’s conveniently pocket-sized and works with editing softwares DaVinci Resolve, Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro. In fact, in being described as the one chart we’ll need to be able to optimise and harmonise our video workflow, the aim here is to ensure accurate colour and exposure from the very first frame of our videos to the last.
The design is Datacolor’s most comprehensive colour pattern to date and, when viewed with a vectorscope – a type of oscilloscope providing data on the colour properties of our video – it can generate a pattern of hues at two saturation levels (75% and 100%).
This allows filmmakers to see how all colours are being captured – not just primary and secondary colours – at a glance. In short, an unprecedented level of colour information is instantly provided by an easy-to-understand circular pattern. This is your new way of controlling colours in videography, with the opportunity to adjust the hue and saturation level for each colour as necessary.
Accuracy from the get-go
In addition to streamlining our post-production workflow, right at the start of shooting, Spyder Checkr Video enables users to colour calibrate one or more combinations of camera and lens to make sure tones are correct. Its design makes it very ergonomic to use. Fitting securely in the hand, it can be held in such a way that the user’s fingers are prevented from casting shadows onto the cards, thus minimising any potential for error.
The patent-pending colour pattern card includes 12 colour patches in a unique configuration with a centre black, grey and white patch, plus six skin tone tiles. This portable system also comes with five high-gloss target cards, a 22-step gradient greyscale card, solid neutral grey card for white-balance, focus star card, plus a nifty protective case. The high-gloss cards are there to provide for more saturated colours, a wider colour gamut and easier flare identification.
The system works like this: first, decide on your camera angle, framing and lighting. Then angle the colour and greyscale cards towards your camera, avoiding reflections, and record a few frames for colour reference. Next, check your waveform monitor and vectorscope to gauge colour and exposure settings. Lastly, use your camera’s functions or editing software to correct colour and exposure as necessary. And done!
Setting the industry benchmark
So, for those of us seeking to ensure colour accuracy right from the start of shooting and streamline the post-production workflow for a seamless video editing experience, it’s clear that the new Spyder Checkr Video will quickly earn its place in our kitbag. In fact, this little Spyder has its sights set on establishing a new benchmark for the video industry.
And it’s not just about what the product does, but how it’s manufactured too. Like other manufacturers, Datacolor is focused not just on cutting-edge innovations but on cutting waste. Showing its credentials in terms of sustainability, the cards that comprise the Spyder Checkr Video are made from 100% acid-free cotton – a renewable paper resource. They can also be replaced, or interchanged with cards from the Spyder Checkr Photo product – the same new style of protective cases are used for both – for enhanced customisation and cost savings. Pretty neat!
Further good news comes from the fact that we don’t have to wait long to get our hands on this product. By the time you read this, it should be available via Datacolor itself, Amazon or authorised dealers for a manufacturer’s suggested price of £139.99.
So, for more on the brand-new, cutting-edge Spyder Checkr Video colour reference tool, as well as the award-winning Spyder X2, make sure to direct your browser to the URL on the right.
Originally published in the November/December 2023 issue of Pro Moviemaker.