Masking Or Matrix

How to do it picture.

Have you noticed the Matrix or Masking switch in your camera? (In some cameras the switch is easy to find, on others it may be hidden on a circuit board, and on the digital cameras it is probably a menu selection, or factory setup selection.) Matrix/Masking are different names for the same circuit. In many cameras it is known as a Linear Matrix. This means that it's effect on the picture is in a linear fashion, not a sudden change. Most of the time the matrix circuit comes before the Gamma correction also, which helps it maintain a linear look to the color.
The matrix allows you the user you to change the "hue" or "center points" of your color. You can have a little more blue looking green or more yellow looking reds, either one is possible. This can all be done without having an effect on the over all white balance of the camera. You are actually changing the peak of the color and not the amount of color needed to balance a proper white. On most all cameras the Matrix/Masking is switchable. With the switch off, you have the factory look of the camera.
With the Matrix on, you are able to adjust the colors to your liking (You may need the help of your camera technician). Many different color charts are available for this type of set up.  DSC Labs -DSC Labs of Canada makes an Optical Signal Generator (OSG) SMPTE color chart. You can also use the McBeth color chart. Or you can actually select various colors of red, blue, green, yellow, magenta and cyan and use those. You can now adjust your matrix using a monitor and a vectorscope. You normally find the matrix controls on the main video processing board in your camera, on analog cameras, and in your setup menus in the digital cameras. For the OSG from DSC Labs, you can place the colors on the chart in the boxes on the vectorscope. If you are using a McBeth chart, you should probably align for the best looking flesh tone. When you have finished the alignments, you should mark the new matrix color spots on the vector scope. Use a piece of clear plastic over the face of the vectorscope, mark the I and Q axis, then mark over your selected color spots with a felt pen. You can now save this piece of plastic for future alignments. You can adjust another camera to the same points using your marked piece of plastic. You can also match, to some extent, two different manufacturer's cameras using the Masking/Matrix in your camera, along with your marked color chart. This is a large part of making your own custom look for your camera.
Have your camera engineer show you more about the Masking/Matrix in your camera. Or, if you like, send me your questions. (Use the Email link at the bottom of the page!)
(Please note that not all cameras have a Matrix circuit in them. The Matrix can be found in most of the high end professional cameras and in ALL the broadcast cameras.)
Camera Dave

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