First, I must thank Brian L. and John Jackman for their support with this project. At first there were a lot of misconceptions of what I was trying to do. These colorbars are simply offered to help you properly setup your field monitor to match the black level of your camera. Using colorbars at the head of your finished tape is an entirely different matter I do not have the time or energy to get into.

From what I have learned, it makes sense to use the "0 IRE" colorbars if you are shooting with most DV cameras. These include both U.S. and Japanese models that use "0 IRE" as the "black level" of the camera, instead of the North American standard of "7.5 IRE". I am offering both colorbar files, since some camera's like my Sony PD-150 allow the user to set their IRE to either setting. Simply choose the one that matches your camera's IRE setting. Again, most likely it will be "0 IRE" if you are shooting with most consumer DV cameras. With that said there is an extra step to using the "0 IRE" colorbar file.


Here is the short version from John Jackman's great website called "GreatDV.com" (see link below):

"Adjust the monitor using the standard procedure described in the BASIC section, and note the amount of difference apparent between the BLACK and GRAY chips. Continue adjusting the brightness control up until a similar difference is visible between the SUPERBLACK and BLACK chips, but the SUPERBLACK has not lightened at all. Again, not as accurate as the proper calibration procedure, but much closer than guessing!"

The entire note plus how to use these "free" colorbars to setup your monitor can be read on Jackman's site HERE

What is the big deal about colorbars? Well, if you do not know the answer, I suggest doing some homework (see link above for help). If your monitor is not set up correctly then you can not be certain how your final video is going to look! More importantly, from my perspective, is that the "brightness" level can be accurately setup using these JPEG colorbars output from the Memory Stick right from your camera to the monitor. Why, well I use my small field monitor more as a light meter to check for proper exposure. I don't like trusting the camera's small built-in LCD monitor for critical exposure settings. Sure most of the time you can get away with it, using the camera's auto exposure settings, but hey, some of us call ourselves professionals and actually charge people for good video! I include the small JVC #550U, 5" Color Field Monitor in my package, and make an effort to set it up and use it as often as possible.

Most everyone knows by now that the colorbars included in most DV cameras are not "true" colorbars. This is true with the old Sony VX-1000, the Canon XL-1, and most other "prosumer/consumer" type camcorders. Some say they were designed for "internal company use", you know the tech. support folks you are seldom allowed to talk to. I have compared the colorbars put out by the Sony PD-150 and they match up with the colorbars on my NewTec "Calibar". (a $350.00, portable colorbar generator). The problem is these PD-150 colorbars are not the "Full" SMPTE Colorbars with the "Pluge" field on the lower right. These additional bars are needed for proper monitor setup, most especially your brightness level. Why Sony and other companies could not go the extra inch to include these more useful bars is beyond me. Micheal Pappas has speculated that it is possible that one must pay some sort of licensing fee for every single use of the SMPTE bars on every camera, in which case I can forgive Sony, this time. Since I offer this file as a non-profit photo, I will risk the lawsuit!

I thought it would be neat to have a copy of the Full SMPTE Colorbars on the Sony Memory Stick. This would come in handy if and when my "Calibar" batteries die on location, and also nice to share with everyone that does not have a Calibar, but does own a PD-150, VX-2000, or other Memory Stick compatible camera! Now after completing this project I have learned that my Calibar puts out "7.5 IRE" colorbars only, and that I should have been using "0 IRE" colorbars with all my previous DV camcorders. The Calibar does not even offer "0 IRE" colorbars. I have to thank the first person that responded to my post online for help with completing this project. I started out by inputting the Colorbars from my Calibar unit, to the PD-150 and then simply shooting a "still" photo. That file was close, but not perfect. Brian L. wrote me directly after downloading and testing my first attempt. He came up with a GIF file made in Photoshop using the correct values found on John Jackman's website, for all the colorbars, and then made me a JPEG version. I did my share by "enabling" this file so that the EXIF digital photo information could be read by the camera. I may have started this project, but without Brian's input and help, it would still be a half finished experiment. Thanks Brian!

This is what makes it all worth while. An e-mail testimonial I received: "I work at a Beta SP shop as producer / cameraman / audio engineer / lighting designer / etc. In the past, I've hesitated to even try shooting with a mini-DV camera. Until now I didn't know about the field color bar generator. Your SMPTE file should be a great start. I appreciate your work & help. If you have time please pass on my thanks to Brian as well. Don C. (Boulder Municipal Channel 8)."

SMPTE, is a registered trademark of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. To learn more and join SMPTE, visit SMPTE


I use Internet Explorer, if you click and hold your mouse over the YELLOW LINKS with the Colorbar file names at the top of this page for either "Colorbar File", a menu opens with several options, chose "Download LINK to Disk", this will download the actual file. File size is small at approximately 30K. I named these JPEG photos using the file conventions of the Sony PD-150 DVCam Memory Stick. The first is called "DSC00101.JPG", and is the "0 IRE" Colorbar file. The second is called "DSC00100.JPG", and is the "7.5 IRE" Colorbar file. I changed the last three numbers, for example: to "101", and "100", in case you have some photos already on your memory stick. I use a 64 mb. stick, if you use the 8 mb stick you may need to lower the number? Keep the same amount of numbers, EXP: change the "100" to "025". The reason for this is that you have to copy this exact file from your computer to the memory stick so you can use this file for setting up your field monitor. Now using the USB Memory Stick reader or any other hardware device that allows your computer to read your Memory Sticks, open the "Folder" that contains your "Still Photos", and copy the two ColorBar files to the "Stick". *NOTE: I have discovered that if you "format" the Memory Stick Card in the camera, you must first take a Photo of anything, so the camera can create the two internal folders on the Memory Stick. When you open the "stick" on your computer you will then see the folders, make sure you navigate to the final folder that actually "holds" the photo files. If the JPEG file has the exact same number as a photo you have already taken, it could possibly overwrite it, therefore you have been WARNED! I tried "locking" the photo file before uploading it to my site. When I downloaded the file to test, it is no longer "locked". I STRONGLY suggest you lock this file on your computers desktop or from within the cameras Memory Stick menu. This will keep you from accidently overwriting it or deleting it, from within the camera.


Other then changing the file numbers in the "label/name field", DO NOT ALTER the files you just downloaded, or your camera will not read them! Since this is "free", and seems to work for me and most others, I do not have the resources to "support" it. If you "mess" with it, that is why is does not work! If you can not make it work, all I can say is I am sorry, I tried. Since at this level, this is pretty simple stuff, download, copy to memory stick, playback, I can only wish you all the best. Another words, I will have to ignore any e-mails concerning "colorbars". That about wraps up the "disclaimer". Have fun.

Bob S.

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