Home of Professional Cinematography since 1996

The Last Grey Card

Published : 30th August 2003


One of my all time favourite tools is something called "The Last Grey Card"

It is a plastic based, painted surface which is washable. It comes in 4"x5" and 8"x10" (sorry metric guys).

It was manufactured for a company in Indiana who marketed it. Now the company who manufactured it has changed hands and they are going to start making the cards again. (I have no connection with the company - in fact they charge me retail).

The 4x5 card is the perfect size to fit in a 4x5 Tiffen Filter case and fit in your back pocket.

The surface has always given me a good standard to meter by. The paint was designed scientifically to have the grey value with neutral color components. I'm sure some will say that it's not the perfect reflectivness. But you know what, it's been pretty good for me over the last fifteen years or so. And it's washable.

They are a bit pricey. But you really only need one (or two to have a spare). I also like the 8x10 if I have to meter from a distance. I have one of the assistants carry it and I check it with my spot meter. I go through quite a few because I'm always giving them away (Gaffers, Second Unit DP's, friends, etc).

The new company is Ross Products and can be found at www.rosspro.biz

Steven Poster ASC



Steven Poster ASC wrote:

>One of my all time favourite tools is something called "The Last Grey >Card"

I stumbled across another grey card on a web site this afternoon. They have a plastic grey card that is said to have a spectrally uniform surface (and other advantages):

"The Digital Grey Card"

http://www.rmimaging.com/products/graycard_index.html

I have no connection with the company. Just wondered if the CML community was aware of this product.

David Tosh



David L. Tosh wrote:

>I stumbled across another grey card on a web site this afternoon.

That line on the site:

* Repairable - Small surface scratches can be repaired by the user with a random orbit sander. Makes me think this is a piece of grey Formica.

Cheers,

Eric Swenson
VizFxDp On-Set Super
Website resume - http://www.ericvfx.com
IATSE Local 600 Dp and Supervisor

"Not that there's anything wrong with that!"



David L. Tosh wrote:

> I stumbled across another grey card on a web site this afternoon.

I have a "Last Grey Card" and while they are expensive and a little sensitive to scratching , they work very nicely and are more durable than the card board variety, less prone to surface shine and really are grey. And that is all good.

What I want to know is can we put a filter in our software that will filter "digital" out of places it doesn't belong like Digital grey card, digital Arri 1 K, digital variac, digital pencil etc. etc.

Mark Smith DP
Oh Seven Films Inc.



"Many grey cards are not well suited for digital photography; they have color casts in different lighting, they were designed for use with film, they are very susceptible to damage, etc. For these and other reasons, we have developed the Digital Grey Card."

What does this mean?

Steven Poster ASC



>Many grey cards are not well suited for digital photography; they have >color casts in different lighting


I laughed when I read that too. Yes, I want my grey card to magically remain grey no matter what color I shine on it! How else can I completely ignore the task it was designed to perform? I think the guy is talkin' out of his butt.

I do recall years ago seeing a reference chart built into a light box with a large hood around it. The idea was that this would give a true reference no matter what the lighting condition around it were, so that one could more accurately judge what was going on around it, but I hardly think that's what this plastic card is about.

Mitch Gross
NYC DP



Steven Poster wrote:

>Many grey cards are not well suited for digital photography

I'm having difficulty getting the Digital Grey Card into my computer

Can someone email me one…

Also The Last Grey Card should be renamed to The Lost Grey Card.

Mine kept "disappearing". I switched back to Kodak's cardboard version. For some reason, the cardboard card has never disappeared so now it's about 20% grey

Brian "40% grey" Heller
IA 600



Brian Heller wrote:

> I'm having difficulty getting the Digital Grey Card into my computer

Use the CD-ROM tray, punch a hole in the centre. Voila!

> Brian "40% grey" Heller

Good one! Excellent use of your lifetime license!

Jeff "lax on enforcement this summer, head buried in CAD drawings" Kreines