Pro Color Monitor review

False colour monitors display high exposure areas of an image in red tints and low exposures in blue. By aiming for a balanced distribution of those colours, you can easily adjust the image so it looks correct.

Pro Color Monitor relies on saturated, mostly complementary, false colour to evaluate if the original colours are correct or have a colour cast. For example, white with a yellow cast is rendered in blue and to correct it you’ll have to move your editor’s colour controls towards blue to get the tint of white that you remember from the scene when you shot it.

There are a couple of issues with this approach, though. To work with Pro Color Monitor, you’ll need a calibrated monitor to evaluate your adjustments using the actual image and, as the interaction of colour taught by Joseph Albers, former professor of art at Yale University has proven, you’d better not trust your eyes for colour adjustments, with more recent psychological experiments showing that our memory can’t be trusted to accurately reproduce past events.

Yet, if you follow the developer’s video tutorial, the suggested procedure is to white balance an image based on a seemingly white area in your image — at the start of the video it’s a white wall, while further down the clip it’s a stripe in a woman’s sweater. By doing so, he ignores the fact that what you perceived as white could have been anything from bluish to anything-else-ish white, making your corrections inaccurate, while, as Albers’ experiments have shown, adjacent colours can interact with each other in unexpected ways, fooling the eye into seeing one colour while it’s actually a different one. Of course, a colour target like a ColorChecker or DSC Labs chart can help, but if you’re knowledgeable enough to use those, you probably know enough to do without Pro Color Monitor.

In fact, professional colourists and photographers use histograms, scopes, waveforms and RGB parades to help them with their adjustments for a reason: if you have experience with them, it’s faster than anything else you’d throw in the equation. If you start with a standard white (or grey) patch and keep an eye on the histogram, waveform or the RGB/Lab numbers while adjusting towards the complementary of the colour cast you see on the scope or in the numbers, you can obtain correct white balance very quickly. And if you can’t remember what the complementary is, you can look it up on your editor’s colour wheel.