Have you ever wondered how a digital camera actually “sees” color and translates it into information that can be recorded? A Color Matrix describes the balancing of different parts of the color spectrum in order to create an accurate representation for capture. It describes not only the three primary colors, but their relationships to one another. By adjusting the properties of the Color Matrix, you can do things like: shift the white balance of a camera, change the sensitivity, alter the color pallet, adjust for color anomalies in the lens, or flaring on the sensor. Adjusting the Color Matrix is commonly referred to as “painting” a camera, an indication of how much control over the image these settings allow.
So how does it work? Art Adams has written an excellent article describing the process in his column at Pro Video Coalition.