One of the difficult things we do when shooting video is matching multiple cameras. Unless you happen to have several cameras of the same model, with the same lenses and same setup (and sometimes even if you do), there are always going to be at least some differences between one setup and the next. Sometimes, even with a single camera, you can see differences from one shot to the next just because of lighting changes.
Whatever the reason, making one piece of footage match another in the edit can be a painstaking task. Picture Instruments wants to remove the pain from that task with their new software, Master Match. It’s designed to let you easily correct multiple cameras, or multiple shots from the same camera, to each other or even have them match to a final grade, producing a LUT that you can import straight into your video editor.
The software offers multiple ways to match shots from different cameras, and all three of them are illustrated in the video above.
Firstly, you’ve got Color Chart Mode, which allows you to calibrate your cameras based on the known swatches of devices like the X-Rite/Calibrite ColorChecker or Datacolor SpyderCHECKR – something many of us are familiar with in other applications already. It looks at the colours of the swatches to match two shots together between multiple source files. Even within a single camera, different lighting conditions can also cause one shot not to match another. This makes it a doddle.
Free Point Mode lets you match two images based on common interest points. You target similar areas in both images, such as the sky, skin tones, ground, trees or other parts, and then Match Master adjusts each point to look like its partner in the reference source image, taking everything else in between along for the ride. You don’t even need to choose that many matching pairs, either. Sometimes, a correction can be done with as little as two or three points. But it’s very handy if you haven’t taken your colour chart out with you or it’s impossible to use one.
Finally, Pixel Difference Mode takes a pair of images, identical except for the grade, and calculates the differences between them. Essentially, it uses “Before and After” images. This can be a fantastic way to recreate a look you’ve seen when you’ve got access to both the source and graded result. It’s also an excellent way to recover a grade you might have done in the past but either no longer have the files for or you’ve transitioned over to a different piece of software. So, if you’ve dumped Premiere Pro for DaVinci Resolve, for example, all of those looks you’ve done in the past can easily be recreated and replaced with a custom LUT.
The software offers a lot of control over the influence that your reference image has over the target to be graded. So, if you don’t want the effect to be quite as extreme as the source file you’re referencing, you can dial it back a bit. Or, maybe you want it to be stronger than the source image. Well, you can do that, too. And once you’ve decided that you’ve got the look you want, you can visualise the changes with a LUT preview from within the application to see exactly what’s being changed.
Once your match is made, you’re able to export your LUT and bring it into any video editing application you wish. Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro and more all support them. They can even be used in regular photo editing applications like Photoshop, too. Master Match also lets you export ICC profiles for software that supports them, like Capture One. Master Match itself, however is a completely standalone application that doesn’t require any other specific video or photo editing tools.
If you’ve been struggling with colour correction – or if you just want to speed up your workflow – Master Match is available to buy now for $289 under a perpetual license from the Picture Instruments website. And if you’re not entirely happy putting down that much money without having tried it, don’t worry. You can also run Master Match under a trial license to take it for a spin. The trial runs indefinitely, but you will need to upgrade to a full license to export the LUT or ICC files.