Lighting conditions can change dramatically during many live events, especially those held outdoors. Adding to this problem, production usually involves multiple cameras and, all too often, these may not have uniform color characteristics.
Ensuring consistent color when switching from one angle to another, avoiding unwelcome brightness or color shifts as evening falls or when a cloud obscures the sun briefly can be troublesome, and expensive.
To help you overcome these problems, 3Play’s Input Configuration panel provides Auto Color, a unique feature capable of dynamically adapting the color characteristics of your video sources as lighting conditions vary. For many productions, simply enabling the Auto Color switch is all it takes to produce a show that looks amazingly consistent.
By default, each camera with Auto Color enabled is processed uniquely – without reference to other sources. Often, though, even greater consistency can be achieved by treating sources in similar illumination environments as a group. Enable Multicam for several cameras causes Auto Color to evaluate and adjust these cameras in unison. You might, for example, enable Multicam for court-side cameras in an interior sports venue, while treating exterior or studio feeds individually.
The Listen Only switch allows you to include a source in the Multicam group without adding its own feed to the group evaluation. Thus a camera trained on Fenway Park’s giant ‘Green Monster’ left-field wall can be automatically corrected without disproportionately biasing the group evaluation and consequent Auto Color correction. Alternatively, one might enable Multicam for a number of sources, turning Listen Only on for all but one camera – effectively making that camera the color reference all other cameras in the group will follow.
Note: The Proc Amps, discussed next, are downstream of the new Auto Color system. This allows you to can Proc Amps settings to apply further manual color adjustments to your individual sources, whether for fine tuning or to achieve a specific “look”.
Proc Amp adjustments can be toggled on and off using the Proc Amp switch at upper left, or reset by clicking the Restore Defaults button
Each Proc Amp has numeric slider controls for:
Brightness: Adjustment range from -50 to +50 IRE (the default being 0). As reference, the full luminance range of a video signal can be thought of as ‘100 IRE units’ (named for the Institute of Radio Engineers) – ignoring minor regional variations.
Contrast – Adjustment range from 25 - 400% (default 100%).
Hue – Adjustment range from -180° to +180°. Adjusts the master color of the video signal from the attached source, swinging the entire image through the color wheel’s spectrum. Saturation – Adjustment range from 0-500%. Zero saturation results in a ‘black and white’ picture; increased saturation results in richer colors. High saturation values can exaggerate the color portion of the signal.
(You should be aware that over-saturated colors are considered illegal for broadcast transmission, and may result in display problems on some devices.)
Note: Proc Amps are very useful. However, keep in mind that, whenever possible, it is best to perform color adjustments at the source or target device.
For example, it is preferable to calibrate a camera's colors at the camera, before sending the signal to the 3Play system. Doing so will yield higher color precision. Similarly, it’s often better to adjust output color using controls on down-stream monitors. (The Display Proc Amps can never completely compensate for a badly calibrated monitor.)
The Proc Amps are especially useful for occasions when no external options are available. (Some cameras lack built-in color controls. At other times the physical placement of a device can make access inconvenient).
To automatically white balance a source, click and hold the mouse button over the Color (eyedropper) button, and then slide the pointer on the monitor for the corresponding source. Release the mouse button over a part of the image that should be white.
ADVANCED COLOR GROUP
Expand the Advanced control group to access more elaborate color controls for individual color channels.