Panaluxe Smart Color Target: Type 1
Image courtesy: Panaluxe

Panaluxe has announced a new product, the Smart Color Target: Type 1. The company claims it will allow you to perfectly color match shots regardless of camera, lens, lighting or optical filters. Read on to find out more.

What is the Smart Color Target: Type 1?

At first glance, the Panaluxe Smart Color Target looks similar to the color checkers produced by Datacolor and X-Rite. The Smart Color Target has 17 color patches, four neutral patches and 10 vignette correction patches. It also has two patches for detecting IR contamination and three color temperature patches. In addition, there is an indicator to detect degradation in the target itself. Finally, one of the digital patches binds factory-measured spectral data to the camera you are using.

How does the Smart Color Target: Type 1 work?

Panaluxe Smart Color Target: Type 1 in use
Image courtesy: Panaluxe

The instructions for the Panaluxe Smart Color Target state that you need to fill approximately half of your frame with the target. It doesn’t matter which way up you hold the Color Target, but it must not be obscured or shadowed in any way. To generate a profile, you simply select “Generate Profile” from the menu option with supported cameras. The four bullseye circles in each corner are then used to identify the Color Target, and the RAW data is then demosaiced around it. The Color target also has fine alignment markings, which are used to correct for any distortion. A QR-style roundcode is used to retrieve a unique factory profile for your camera model. After this, a vignette map is calculated, and what Panaluxe calls a Direct Scene-Referred profile is then embedded into your video file to convert the RAW video to Rec 709.

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Construction

The Panaluxe Smart Color Target is rated to IP69K. This means it should be dust-tight and able to withstand powerful high-temperature water jets. The company also states that the Smart Color target “has been engineered with marine use in mind and is submersible in sea water.” The images on the company’s website show the Smart Color target in a wood or wood effect case.

Verdict

The Panaluxe Smart Color Target has the potential to take color checker-type charts to the next level. The ability to instantly generate color profiles on set would make life easier when matching between different cameras and lighting scenarios. However, at the time of writing, the highly specialized Achtel 9×7 large format camera is the only camera that supports the system. Panaluxe has therefore issued an open invitation to camera and software companies to integrate Panaluxe Smart Color into their products. Panaluxe’s marketing states that if your camera doesn’t already support instant color profile generation, you can download software, but this is not available yet. This is one to watch for the future.

Pricing and availability

Panaluxe is only just opening the development beta program for the Smart Color Target for now. The company’s website states that “public release is slated for early 2023.” However, this will presumably depend upon interest and uptake from camera manufacturers and software companies. Panaluxe has not given any indication on pricing at this stage. It appears that the Smart Color Target will include three camera licenses or one workstation license.

Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.