This paper proposes a method for real-time color measurement using active illuminant. A synchronous measurement system is constructed by combining a high-speed active spectral light source and a high-speed monochrome camera. The light source is a programmable spectral source which is capable of emitting arbitrary spectrum in high speed. This system is the essential advantage of capturing spectral images without using filters in high frame rates. The new method of real-time colorimetry is different from the traditional method based on the colorimeter or the spectrometers. We project the color-matching functions onto an object surface as spectral illuminants. Then we can obtain the CIE-XYZ tristimulus values directly from the camera outputs at every point on the surface. We describe the principle of our colorimetric technique based on projection of the color-matching functions and the procedure for realizing a real-time measurement system of a moving object. In an experiment, we examine the performance of real-time color measurement for a static object and a moving object.© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.