A Guided Tour of Color Space


This article describes the theory of color reproduction in video, and some of the engineering compromises necessary to make practical cameras and practical coding systems.

Video processing is generally concerned with color represented in three components derived from the scene, usually red, green, and blue or components computed from these. Once red, green, and blue components of a scene are obtained, color coding systems transform these components into other forms suitable for processing, recording, and transmission. Accurate color reproduction depends on knowledge of exactly how the physical spectra of the original scene are transformed into these components and exactly how the color components are transformed to physical spectra at the display.

This is an edited version of a paper first published in New Foundations for Video Technology (Proceedings of the SMPTE Advanced Television and Electronic Imaging Conference, San Francisco, Feb. 1995), 167-180.

Copyright © 1997-08-19 Charles Poynton

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