Video / Hands-on Review

The Atomos Spyder Color Calibration Unit

         

Atomos, makers of the popular Samurai and Ninja portable video monitors and recorders, have recently released the Atomos Spyder, a portable display calibration unit. This device is ideal for use with the Samurai Blade recorder and monitor, which allows users to adjust the built-in display’s luma, gain, and lift values. Developed in partnership with Datacolor, the Spyder features a precise, seven-sensor design that enables quick and easy display calibration for Rec. 709 standards. The Spyder can be used to calibrate almost any adjustable display. However—Mac users beware—the Spyder does require a Windows-based PC.

A properly calibrated display is the only way to determine whether or not the images you see on your monitor accurately represent the standards of your distribution medium. For example, if your work will ultimately be viewed on a high-definition television then you will want to make sure that it complies with a set of broadcast standards commonly known as Rec. 709. Among other things, the Rec. 709 standards specify objective values for color and luminance, ensuring that any two properly calibrated monitors will display the exact same image. Display calibration is invaluable for discriminating creative professionals who want to make absolutely certain that their audience is seeing exactly what they want them to see.

You may not be particularly concerned with broadcast standards, especially if you shoot video primarily for the Internet. However, monitor calibration is about more than just broadcast standards. Most videographers and even some cinematographers are using their production monitor to evaluate exposure values. Traditionally, a light meter was the only way to ensure that your exposure settings would preserve the desired amount of detail in the highlights and shadows. Today, you can simply look at your monitor to see exactly what you are recording, that is, provided your monitor is calibrated to display accurate luma, gain, and lift values. Of course, the same goes for color values as well.

Calibrating the Samurai Blade’s LCD screen with the Atomos Spyder is an easy three-step process; in fact, it is really a two-step process once you have installed the software. The Atomos Spyder includes the calibration unit, a free download for the Atomos Calibrator software and a LANC to USB cable. In order to calibrate the Samurai Blade, you simply download the software, connect the Samurai Blade to your computer via the included LANC to USB cable, connect the Spyder to a Windows-based PC, and position the Spyder’s sensor on the Samurai Blade’s LCD screen. The rest is automated by the software.

This is an exciting development for Atomos products. The Atomos Spyder seems to represent the company’s dedication to not only first-rate field recorders but also truly professional field monitors, which is a great value proposition for their 2-in-1 devices. For more information on the Spyder and other Atomos products, please visit the B&H SuperStore in New York City, call us on the telephone at 1-800-606-6969 or contact our experts online via Live Chat.

System Requirements Atomos Samurai Blade with AtomOS 5.0.4 or later
Windows-based PC
Interface USB 2.0

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