Adjusting the Color Matrix

Every now and again I get asked how to adjust the color matrix in a video camera. Back in 2009 I made a video on how to adjust the color matrix in the Sony’s EX series of cameras. This video is just as relevant today as it was then. The basic principles have not changed.

The exact menu settings and menu layout may be a little different in the latest cameras, but the adjustment of the matrix setting (R-G, G-R etc) have exactly the same effect in the latest camera that provide matrix adjustments (FS7, F5, F55 and most of the shoulder mount and other broadcast cameras). So if you want a better understanding of how these settings and adjustment works, take a look at the video.

I’ll warn you now that adjusting the color matrix is not easy as each setting interacts with the others. So creating a specific look via the matrix is not easy and requires a fair bit of patience and a lot of fiddling and testing to get it just right.

3 thoughts on “Adjusting the Color Matrix”

  1. Dear alister,
    thanks for this article! To be honest, I still don’t get it:
    In you recent articles you wrote, the cine color space is a space within rec709. So i guess, the endpoints in the color triangle are somewhat duller in cine than these of the pro matrix (Sony a7s).
    when I select cine and turn up the saturation by 30 percent, don’t I run a risk of clipping my saturation? As the maximum point defined in the matrix is less saturated as in 709 and the whole image gets more saturation??

    From what I read I think it would be smart to stick to the pro color space when recording for TV.
    I would love to hear from you if I am wrong. .

    1. I think you are muddling saturation and colourspace which are two different things. Colourspace is the range of colours that can be reproduced. Saturation is the intensity of the colours within the bounds of the colourspace.
      You can be at the very limits of a colour space and fully saturated. The displayed saturation and hue will be determined by the matrix settings, but the range of colours that can be captured and reproduced will be determined by the colourspace.

      All of the standard colour matrix settings are within the Rec-709 colour space so the range of colours that can be reproduced is the same for all. However each user matrix assigns slightly different captured hues to slightly different display hues and saturations within 709. Both the Pro Matrix and Cine colour matix can only capture and reproduce colours within Rec-709 ( the sensors themselves can’t “see” much beyond Rec-709). The colour range is the same for both, but matrix differences change the saturation and hues and thus the way each looks.

      A less saturated matrix will be able to record colours in the scene that are more saturated before clipping the colours. Turn up the saturation and you risk clipping highly saturated colours sooner. But it would have t be a pretty intensely coloured object such as a coloured light or a sunset or similar for this to be a problem.

      1. thanks a lot!!!
        For me rec709 is just fine 😉
        As I want to capture for broadcast, “pro” color ist mostly recommended (again for the a7s). On the other hand, Sony claims cinema color has been designed for all cine1 gamma etc. As I want to capture full dynamic range with cine1 and cine4 gamma, I was unsure which profile is best. Can you help me with that? What’s the advantage of choosing a desaturated profile like cinema and turning the saturation up?

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