Part 2: Color Correction Made Easy

Canon C300

Canon C300

Matching Different Glass with Spyder Datacolor

I know all of you do not have large budgets. This is why I try and help you get your creation looking its very best at a reasonable price tag. When shooting a movie, I always have to match different lenses to some extent. On Need for Speed, I was using Cooke S4 Primes, Canon Cinema Zooms, Canon Lightweight Zooms, Zeiss ZE, Canon L Series, Leica Rs, Canon CP and GoPro’s cheap plastic lens.

That is one huge collection of glass to match. Each one has its own characteristics and you need to blend these to create a seamless flow. One might be sharper or softer, warmer or colder, have more contrast or less contrast.

Spyder Datacolor

Spyder Datacolor

These things can be easily balanced if you take a brief moment with the Spyder Datacolor and infuse this into your workflow. On Fathers and Daughters, we would have our assistants fly in with the Datacolor chart and cube while slating the first take of each lighting change. We were killing two birds with one stone. At first I thought, “We don’t have time for this.” But I found that I could easily work it in and it was essential.



Camera Tech Specs:
Canon C300 EF Mount

Lens Tech Specs:
Canon CN-E 24mm, 50mm, 85mm, 135mm
Zeiss CP2s 21mm, 85mm
Leica R Mount 24mm, 90mm
Canon Lightweight Zoom 30-105mm

Support Tech Specs:
O’Connor 10-30HD Fluid Head
SmallHD DP-7 On-Board Monitor
SmallHD DP-4 EVF
Flanders Scientific CM250 24” Monitor

Lighting Specs:
2- 4’ Baton Lights
2- 575 Watt ETC Pars with Medium Lenses
1- Kino Flo Celeb 200 with 90 Degree grid
All lights supplied by Paskal Lighting

Music in videos below supplied by The Music Bed:
Canon 85mm vs Zeiss 85mm: The Rocket Summer- Underrated
Canon 24mm vs Zeiss 21mm: Lights & Motion- Home Part 2
Canon 24mm vs Leica 24mm: Zero Bedroom Apartment- Chillin’
Zeiss 85mm vs Leica 90mm: Tony Anderson-Miami Skyline
Canon 85mm vs Canon Zoom 30-105mm: A.M. Architect-Unspoken

“The Lens Tests”

Take a look at the Zeiss ungraded vs. the Leica ungraded below. You can quickly see that the Leica has more of a yellow warmth to its glass and the Zeiss is cooler in tone. The Leica has a little lower contrast than the Zeiss as well. With the color chart, we were able to match these fairly well.




Moving onto matching zooms, I found that the Canon CP primes were more neutral in tone than the lightweight Canon 30-105mm zoom. The zoom with its additional optics takes on a little softer feel and a more yellow/red tone. I loved this zoom’s quality on the skin, perfect tone and creaminess. Check out the ungraded 85mm Canon CP vs. the Lightweight 30-105mm Canon Zoom.


split_Canon85mm_canon 30-105_graded_sm

Here are some other lens tests we did so that you can see all of the possible comparisons.


split_canon 24mm_zeiss





“Inside My World”




This is a glimpse into how I roll out on set and the necessary tools that give the colorist a head start into your creation. Get out there and change your camera etiquette to help build that brick and mortar foundation of color correction. Thirty seconds could save you hours in color correction.

Read part one of this post.

Buy the Spyder Datacolor System at B&H

  1. Tom 2 years ago

    Man, these lenses look the same!

  2. C David Tobie 2 years ago

    Hi Shane, Glad to see the color tests going so well. There are a couple shots listed as ungraded, which are pretty clearly the graded images. Might want to update that. Keep up the good work!

    • Author
      Shane 2 years ago

      Thanks. I think we’ve got the images fixed now.

      • Coner 1 year ago

        We taped a DataColor sheet on the back of the slate, so we just had to turn it after slating it.

  3. Kamran Jawaid 2 years ago

    Thank you for the tests Shane. I, like most of us tech enthusiasts, find your site an excellent resource – especially because of your inclination to blend both the technicalities and the aesthetics of cinematography in your posts.

    My reason for oft visiting Hurlbut Visuals is in part due to your favor of the classic motion picture look oft found in “Cooke” glass. These are, indeed, cinematic and if one is making motion pictures for theatrical release, achieving that “film look” is of the utmost importance.

    In our quest to make digital look like film, we have indeed come a long way from modding camcorders like DVX100 (remember that one?) to the DSLR revolution to cost effective “Cinema Cameras”. We’re all a little wiser now. Back in the day, no one knew about CMOS or CCD’s or Global Shutters or Magic Lantern hacks or Flat Picture Profiles.

    As a motion picture and television consultant and a professional film critic (am the Senior Film Critic for the Dawn Group of Newspapers – think: the NY Times of Pakistan), I know how hard it is to take the time out of one’s professional career to do these tests and then post them for the benefit of everyone (We all do camera tests in pre-production, but no one shares).

    Regarding this post: a BIG Thank You! You have clarified two important points here: the workflow of on-set calibration software and how it matches different cameras and lenses to a degree. Bravo!

    The Leica vs. Cooke Test was a gem too. Would love if you could do a test comparing the Cooke glass to DP Optimo’s (in my opinion they match better than the rest of the glass out there). The Sony’s new PL Glass is quite good too – and at about half the price.

    Again, I hope you and the website continue to do well :)


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