ColorChecker is a tool that should be in the arsenal of every filmmaker and photographer on set, and its value can be especially appreciated in postproduction. Conscious use of the pattern is part of a broader process called color management, which begins with the registration of the image on the camera sensor and ends with reproduction on the monitor screen or printing of the photo. There are patterns of various brands available on the market, but the most famous one, which is a kind of synonym for the color pattern, is X-Rite, and now, after changing the name, Calibrite. The Calibrite portfolio includes both devices for calibrating monitors and printers, as well as color patterns, available in various sizes and until recently dedicated separately to filmmakers and photographers. One of such patterns is ColorChecker Passport Video, which is always on the set at


This ColorChecker, designed for filmmakers, definitely distinguishes itself from the others in size and construction. It can be said that it is a kind of closed small book with four pages with dimensions similar to… a passport (125 x 90 mm). On the one hand, this dimension is a disadvantage, because you often have to get much closer to the pattern to use it effectively, but on the other hand, it will fit in almost every pocket, so you can always have it at hand. In addition, thanks to this and no other construction, the unused pattern can be closed and protected primarily against exposure to light, which can definitely extend its life.

ColorChecker Passport Video contains four pages, each with a slightly different function:

  • gray scale pattern, which contains three fields – white (90% IRE), middle gray (18% light reflection, 40 IRE) and black (approx. 0% IRE),
  • white balance pattern, for setting a neutral and consistent white point,
  • a color pattern with 6 chromatic tile designed for video production, 6 skin tone tile, 6 gray balance tile, and 6 highlight/shadow tile (including a high-gloss black tile for perfect color balance),
  • focus pattern to assist with manual focus.
Calibrite ColorChecker Passport Video - otwarte strony skali szarości oraz wzornik kolorów


One of the basic features of a well-recorded material is its proper exposure. Of course, you can argue what the word “right” means, because it is often a creative decision. However, in most cases, it means the right value for human skin, while avoiding areas that are too dark (underexposed) and too bright (overexposed). And this is where the grayscale pattern and functions available in the camera or preview monitor, such as Waveform, Zebra or False Colors, come in handy. Also important, the reference levels of proper exposure for individual fields (white, medium gray, black) differ depending on the gamma used. For example:

  • for gamma 2.4 (Rec 709), 90% white should be at about 90 IRE, middle gray at about 40 IRE, and black at least above 0 IRE,
  • whereas, for Slog3 (S-Gamut3.Cine), the suggested value of white is approx. 61%, middle gray approx. 41%, and black also slightly above 0 IRE (more here). Additionally, if we want to use the ETTR method, we also need to increase the middle gray value accordingly (more about exposure and ETTR here).

And one more note about using the pattern; we place it in a place where it is affected by the same lighting that falls on the actors (or objects in the center of attention), preferably near the face.

Proper exposure is also extremely important from the point of view of post-production, because it gives much more creative possibilities to raise the “shadows” or lower the “brightness” (of course, depending on the tonal range of the camera), instead of, for example, pasting a new sky in place of an overexposed and visually uninteresting sky . In addition, the appropriate exposure value of middle gray, which is very close to the value appropriate for skin tones, allows you to avoid possible problems when using color grading of the “teal & orange” type, or LUTs based on this idea, because they change the colors above and below this value, leaving skin tones neutral.

Calibrite ColorChecker Passport Video - podgląd na funkcję Waveform i poziomy IRE na monitorze podglądowym na stronie ze skalą szarości


Just as an underexposed or overexposed image is irretrievable at the postproduction stage, so a possibly bad white balance can be corrected. However, in order not to waste time on it, it is worth taking care of its proper setting already on the set. A good practice, even in a controlled situation where we know the color temperature value, is to use the appropriate camera function that reads the specific value measured on the pattern, and not just enter this value manually. This is also important in the case of multi-camera implementation, because even between the same sensors at the same temperature value there are deviations. On the other hand, in the case of the so-called “run and gun”, when the conditions are not fully controlled and dynamically change, you can measure these values ​​in the right places upfront (e.g. indoors with mixed lighting and outdoors with natural), save in the camera’s memory, and then quickly change depending from need. Then you can especially appreciate the pocket size of the Passport version, thanks to which the pattern can always be at hand. It is also always worth registering even a few seconds of an image with a pattern for possible use during post-production.

Someone will say that theoretically you can set the white balance on a white sheet, but it’s not that easy. A white piece of paper may seem white to us because that’s how the human brain works, telling us that it must be white. In fact, it often contains slight discoloration, so the reading is no longer accurate. The production of a truly neutral white balance card is a demanding technological process, but it guarantees certain effects. However, thanks to it, we can guarantee ourselves the basis for perfect color reproduction when it is especially important, or at least a good neutral starting point when we want to achieve a more imaginary look.


There are basically three types of fields in this tab:

  • 6 fields with gray balance and 6 fields for highlights and shadows (including a high-gloss black field), which in post-production will help to adjust the contrast curve between different cameras even more precisely,
  • 6 skin tone fields that will allow you to check the match with one of the typical skin tones,
  • and probably the most important – 6 chromatic fields designed for video production (they differ from those used in photography). By registering an image with a pattern, we can ensure not only an even more accurate color reproduction (the white balance is responsible only or even for the color temperature and tint, while here we have control over each of the six colors, i.e. their shade and saturation), but also a perfect match images from different cameras. In video post-production programs, such as DaVinci Resolve, there are ready-made tools for automatic adjustment using a recording with a pattern, but even better and more accurate results are achieved by manual adjustment using a mask isolating the fields area, Vectorscope graph and correction of curves affecting the hue ( Hue Vs Hue) and saturation (Hue Vs Sat) of a given color.
Calibrite ColorChecker Passport Video - korekta kolorów w DaVinci Resolve

Whereas below a detailed tutorial by Ollie Kenchington, which, among others, also demonstrates color correction using ColorChecker in DaVinci Resolve:


The focus pattern, as the name says, makes the manual focusing process much easier, especially when combined with the Peaking function on the display or preview monitor.

Calibrite ColorChecker Passport Video - podgląd na funkcję Peaking na monitorze podglądowym na stronie do ustawiania ostrości


As previously mentioned, due to the differences in reference colors for photography and film, until recently, the standards were only available in separate versions. Fortunately, recently you can get the Passport Duo version, which, at the expense of losing the focus pattern, proposes a color pattern for photography, becoming a combination of both. For more details, please refer to the Calibrite website, you can buy one for instance here at online shop.


Recently, another gadget has appeared – a standard holder that allows convenient use of stands to support the standard, thanks to which you can avoid the risk of touching the standard fields with your fingers during sample registration. The holder is currently included for free with the purchase of selected patterns. Moving smoothly to the summary; ColorChecker Passport Video, although it looks a bit like a gadget, is an extremely valuable element used during shooting and post-production. Although it does not cost the proverbial few zlotys and is not eternal, due to its workmanship, it will ensure not only the accuracy of reading and color reproduction, or proper exposure, but also properly used it can be used for many years until the pigment used does not degrade. It is worth following the Calibrite website, because promotions appear many times a year, thanks to which you can save a lot.