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White Balance on HDX-900

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Charles Boileau
White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 13, 2008 at 4:21:15 am

Hi,

I'm having a hard time finding info on this. I'm a first time user of the HDX-900. This might of been covered already and it might seem like a stupid question.

So... By default the HDX-900's white balance (on prst setting) is set to 3200K. From there I can adjust the filter wheel to 4300K and 6400K. Why not 5600K?

Should I set it to 4300K and (electronic) white balance thru that filter?

I don't get the use of this filter wheel if you can't set it close to 5600K.

I know that it's better to add a real filter in front of the CCD to reduce noise and to have better dynamic range. I also understand this is why this camera has this feature. But I must be missing something.

Thanks!

Charles B.


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Ernie Santella
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 13, 2008 at 8:53:50 pm

Charles, You can set any of the presets and A & B to whatever you want. Do this...

Main Menu - Operation - White Balance mode. Then there you can change the Preset, A & B to 5600. You can also set it anything you want.

Hope that helps.

Ernie Santella
Santella Productions Inc.
http://www.santellaproductions.com


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Charles Boileau
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 13, 2008 at 10:00:54 pm

yeah i found that but i still have to put one of those filters in front. Does it compensate?

Thanks


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Ernie Santella
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 13, 2008 at 10:10:11 pm

Maybe I misunderstood your question? You asked how to change the preset from 4300 to 5600 correct? OK, we got that.

Now, I did some checking myself and did start to wonder about another question. I pulled my lens off and did notice that the C & D filters are physically different. I can't quite tell how much difference in color though. Anyone know?? 'D' definitely looks darker.

I always assumed 'C' & 'D' were the same and you just preset your temp in the menu. But, it looks like they are different. That being so, I would use the filter closer to your required temp, thus less electronic correction needed. Use 'C' for shot closer to 4300 (florescent) and 'D' for outdoors at 5600 or above.

Anybody else want to chime in on this? And, anyone know the exact physical filter color correction of the 'C' & 'D' filters?

Ernie Santella
Santella Productions Inc.
http://www.santellaproductions.com


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Charles Boileau
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 14, 2008 at 2:10:33 pm

yeah the consensus seems to be exactly that. To reduce the electronic correction.

Let's see if anybody else has any input.


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Tom Krohn
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 16, 2008 at 2:50:03 am

The physical glass filter "D" that you roll in manually is 6300k in preset, assuming that your preset is set to 3200k in the OPERATION/WHITE BALANCE MODE MENU. Likewise,the physical glass filter "C" is 4300k in preset. If you want to bypass the glass color correction you can leave the physical glass filter on clear--3200k and change the OPERATION/WHITE BALANCE MODE value to whatever you want in either preset, awb/ A or awb/B. I often set my preset to 5600k and use the clear filter, "B", under HMIs or Kinos because they look too warm using the daylight 6300k glass filter "D". The C and D filters are also more dense than the clear filters A and B so sometimes it's nice to be able to change color temp without losing light by changing the menu instead of the glass. Careful though, because if you set your preset to say, 4300k, and roll in the glass filter "C" (4300k), you'll actually be shooting at 8600k. Roll in glass filter "D" and you' be shooting at about 10,000k.



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Ernie Santella
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:09:54 am

Tom,
But, using 'B' and having the camera do the color temp adjustment up to 5600, adds noise vs. using D with very little electronic color temp.

I'm not sure that is the best option in that situation.

Ernie Santella
Santella Productions Inc.
http://www.santellaproductions.com


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Charles Boileau
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:15:36 pm

Well I talked tom my rental house here in Montreal and he told me to put it at the closest value to what you are shooting and white balance thru that.

Thanks for all the info, I had no idea the 3200K was clear.

Cheers!



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Tom Krohn
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:41:50 pm

I've never seen/noticed this noise you mention in the field, nor have I heard any complaints from clients or post houses. I'll be running some tests though! Thanks for the heads up.



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Bruce Alan Greene
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 22, 2008 at 2:18:44 pm

[Ernie Santella] "Tom,
But, using 'B' and having the camera do the color temp adjustment up to 5600, adds noise vs. using D with very little electronic color temp. "


I think this is a popular legend, but not true. While I have a Varicam, I've tested it with using filter/white balance vs. 5600k preset(electronic balance) and discovered that in fact there is less noise shooting in daylight than tungsten light with the Varicam. My test revealed that the native color balance of the camera is between daylight and tungsten, but closer to daylight.

So, I now always shoot with the camera daylight balanced electronically when shooting in daylight situations and the results have been very nice. The original poster is correct when he notes that filter "c" is not amber enough and filter "d" is adds too much color to correct the tungsten balanced camera to daylight.

Varicam/Steadicam Owner
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.brucealangreene.com


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Charles Boileau
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 22, 2008 at 2:37:34 pm

Did you do those tests in the same lighting condition? Meaning: Did you have the same amount of light?



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Bruce Alan Greene
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 22, 2008 at 5:27:57 pm

[Charles Boileau] "by Charles Boileau on Oct 22, 2008 at 7:37:34 am

Did you do those tests in the same lighting condition? Meaning: Did you have the same amount of light?"


Charles, I'm sorry, but I don't really understand your question. Properly exposed is properly exposed, but yes, the light levels were similar, with adjustment made by using the camera iris.

What I don't understand is how the light level is relevant to the issue if the exposure is the same.

Are you concerned that my test is flawed? I wasn't trying to prove a point with the test, only to see what the best settings on the camera are.

Let me add one more thing: Noise is not the crucial issue here. By understanding the native white balance of the camera one can avoid color shifts in the highlights when using FilmRec mode in the Varicam, or when using aggressive knee settings in the HDX900 (or even a Sony f-900).

When shooting with a large knee adjustment, it's possible for one of the color channels to clip before another. When this happens, there will be a color shift in the highlights. The Sony camera tries to fix this by having a color control in the menu for parts of the image effected by the knee control. There is no such adjustment in the Panasonic cameras. Using a setting that requires the least electronic adjustment for white balance minimizes this risk. I have determined that the Varicam is more closely balanced to daylight than tungsten light.

We will always have to use some electronic adjustment to the native white balance unless you want to make a custom set of filters to change daylight and tungsten light to something like 4700k and to enter custom RGB gain adjustments in the camera to set everything straight. Not a very practical solution in my opinion.

Varicam/Steadicam Owner
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.brucealangreene.com


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Charles Boileau
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 22, 2008 at 6:13:30 pm

Thanks for all the info. It seems I didn't understand your first explanation.

What I meant is that some cameras tend to be very noisy in darker areas. Which might of been an issue in your test.

Thanks again!



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Bruce Alan Greene
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 22, 2008 at 6:27:58 pm

[Charles Boileau] "Re: White Balance on HDX-900
by Charles Boileau on Oct 22, 2008 at 11:13:30 am

Thanks for all the info. It seems I didn't understand your first explanation.

What I meant is that some cameras tend to be very noisy in darker areas. Which might of been an issue in your test.

Thanks again!
"


I did observe that the Varicam is less noisy in the darker areas when electronically set for daylight than when set for tungsten. I guess that should be true for the 900 as well since I think it uses the same chip assembly.

Varicam/Steadicam Owner
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.brucealangreene.com


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Mark D'Agostino
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 28, 2008 at 8:55:09 pm

Your posts,Bruce have been very helpful in getting a better understanding of white balance within the menu system of the HDX900. Lets say for instance that I show a white balance of 3000k in the viewfinder. When I electronically change that to read 3200k and above the image is warmer. That's opposite of what I thought it would be...the higher the kelvin temp the cooler the image. Could you explain the logic that I'm missing?
Thanks!

Mark D

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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Ernie Santella
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 28, 2008 at 8:54:51 pm

Maybe this will explain it better.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_temperature

Ernie Santella
Santella Productions Inc.
http://www.santellaproductions.com


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Mark D'Agostino
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 28, 2008 at 9:18:38 pm

Ernie,
Thanks for such a quick response. I do understand the mathematics of white balance as I've been doing this since the image orthicon tube days. I was just wondering how to interpret the 900's readout. When I white balance and it reads 3200K under tungsten light that's basically fine. If I wish to warm that I'd typically add a fraction of CTO to bring it down to say, 3000k. If I wish to do something similar electronically, (oops, forget my gels), then my gut would be after white balancing to 3200k to dial down to 3000k in the menu. However, that corrects in the "cool" direction. That's the logic I'm fighting.

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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Ernie Santella
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 28, 2008 at 9:17:55 pm

Sorry, no disrespect on your experience. I think I understand. IF you dial the camera down to 3000k then you are correct, it will look cooler. The reason is, the physical light is at 3200 and the camera is now 3000k, so the light will be higher, thus bluer.

There are other options like getting a set of Warm cards.

http://www.warmcards.com/

Ernie Santella
Santella Productions Inc.
http://www.santellaproductions.com


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Mark D'Agostino
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 28, 2008 at 9:37:28 pm

Ernie,
No disrespect taken. My question didn't exactly demonstrate my experience, (2"quad to 16, 35 and HD over 30 years).
I have a set of blue cards and I use them quite often. Your explanation in this post was the one that finally clicked. Incredibly basic but my brain freeze got in the way. Thanks a bunch!

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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bruce alan greene
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 29, 2008 at 12:23:48 am

[Mark D'Agostino] "Ernie,
No disrespect taken. My question didn't exactly demonstrate my experience, (2"quad to 16, 35 and HD over 30 years).
I have a set of blue cards and I use them quite often. Your explanation in this post was the one that finally clicked. Incredibly basic but my brain freeze got in the way. Thanks a bunch!

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com
"


Mark, I don't know the 900 camera menus, but I usually set my camera to daylight or tungsten preset and adjust the rgb gain controls to set the color balance. This makes it easy to return to the same settings if I need to duplicate the exact look in the future. By using the auto white balance the camera sets the rgb gain so that red=green=blue based upon the "white" card one sets it on and I find it difficult to set this as consistently and I don't always want r=g=b and I don't always carry a bunch of colored cards...Just thought you might want to try this approach if the 900 camera menu allows it.

-bruce

Varicam/Steadicam Owner
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.brucealangreene.com


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Mark D'Agostino
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 29, 2008 at 8:52:08 pm

The 900 has a "rb gain", (no "g", which I like to leave alone anyhow). I have played with that. Using a chart and a vectorscope are fine if you're just setting r=g=b, but I usually end up tweaking away from the "normal" balance using tinted cards. I like your approach. Are you painting this by eye?

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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bruce alan greene
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 31, 2008 at 3:04:36 am

[Mark D'Agostino] "I like your approach. Are you painting this by eye?

Mark D'Agostino "


Yes Mark,

I paint by eye when I want to deviate from the preset camera white balance. Though today I was shooting in fluorescent lights and used white balance for a quick neutral setting. I may change it a little during color grading later. The day ext I just set the white balance to preset daylight in the camera under the "lighting" menu item.

Varicam/Steadicam Owner
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.brucealangreene.com


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Mark D'Agostino
Re: White Balance on HDX-900
on Oct 31, 2008 at 1:10:45 pm

Thanks for advice Bruce. I've already started playing around with your method. Thank you too Ernie. I do tend to use the white balance on a card routine and tweak in post. I carry a couple shades of blue, (and sometimes my faded jeans for sunsets), and if it's sunny I aim the white card into the cooler shade. For fluorescents I automatically add 1/2 greens to my lights, (with more time I add a more precise gel combo depending on the type of fluorescent, mercury, etc.)


Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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