Free Color Predictor App Lets You Preview Camera Color Capabilities Under Different Lighting

by JamesNYCAugust 20. 2014 08:12

First released at NAB earlier this year, the Academy Color Predictor for iOS 7 aims to let you predict and preview the color rendering capabilities of digital cameras under different lighting setups.

Great lighting is just as much science as it is art. Finding tools and resources covering the artistic side of lighting is fairly easy, finding them on the scientific side not so much. Luckily for us, there’s an incredibly bright group of people out there that think of nothing else but the physics behind light and how it relates to cinematography. They’re called The Academy’s Scientific and Technology Council, a part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the very same people who hand out those small golden statues each year that everyone seems to enjoy so much).

The Academy’s Solid State Lighting committee released a very interesting free app for the iPad (iOS 7 only) at NAB 2014 called the Academy Color Predictor (ACP). Its object is to allow cinematographers and art directors to predict and preview the color rendering capabilities of digital cameras under different lighting setups. The ACP allows you to check a camera setup with a wide variety of variables against a known reference light source, and shows you the color differences you’ll have using standard color charts on your iPad.

Here’s the issue: you have a shot that encompasses two different types of lights.

Light A is a small 1x1 foot square panel made up of hundreds of small LEDs, drawing around 40 Watts of power from a small camera battery, that you want to keep about 1-3 meters from your talent.

Light B is a giant ball of plasma 1.3 million kilometers around, putting out 3.846×1026 Watts of power from an ongoing hydrogen thermonuclear fusion reaction, that you really want to keep about 150 million kilometers or so away from your talent.

It probably wouldn’t surprise you that because of the wildly different sources of light, the spectral response of each light may be very divergent even though the color temperature (5600K) is the same. The LED panel and the Sun have different frequencies of red in their light, so they will render a red shirt in different ways. The Academy Color Predictor can show you those differences, and let you determine if this combo may pose difficulties for color correction later.

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