Arts Col 752
Black Level and Brightness
objective is to see all 16 levels of gray in this image.
the middle of the rectangle are three vertical bars. The first (left)
bar is "Super Black" or 3.5 IRE, the next (middle) is 7.5 IRE,
which is to be considered "as black as video gets". The third
is 11.5 IRE, is used for additional reference in setting the black level:
BEWARE!! Avoid downloading and using color bars from the web! They can, and likely will, be calibrated incorrectly! You can check the levels in Photoshop by using the info window and the cursor position, the RGB levels for the 3 PLUGE bars should be:
IRE (Super Black) = 7,7,7
NOTE!! DV Video is an exception regarding black level processing! DV (miniDV, DVCAM, DVCPro) uses 0 IRE. Adobe Premiere and Apple Final Cut both generate 0 IRE based color bars, and the PLUGE bar area is different:
is no Super Black bar because you can't go below zero in a 0-255 color
DV to DV editing and DV camera shooting will all retain the 0 IRE black level. Some editors working strictly in this environment may use video monitors that can adjust to the same 0 IRE black level input, but most analog video monitors are set for 7.5 IRE. Professional DV decks will have an "add setup" feature that brings 0 IRE up to 7.5 IRE for the monitor output. Adobe Premiere exhibits the same feature when viewing the built-in waveform scope, but will output 0 IRE DV video on the firewire port.
For calibrating your computer monitor, either type of color bar can do the job, but realize that the lower range of blacks are subject to variables and miscalibrations by operators when re-editing, projecting, or broadcasting your animation.
work is to be displayed on video, consider that important details darker
than 16,16,16 (7.5 IRE) but brighter than zero is putting a lot of faith
in the operators and display hardware that will be handling your work
after its out of your hands.