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How to match sunlight indoors with florescent?

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Andrea Oppong
How to match sunlight indoors with florescent?
on Jun 20, 2012 at 10:18:24 am

Hi,

Yesterday I started making a short yesterday in my housemate's room. It was late afternoon, and no lights were on since he has bay windows and we were getting good light. I was going for a particular look so I set it to Daylight. As it got darker, expectedly, the color temp changed, and he turned on his lights which are flourescent. I tried every which way to match the original color of earlier that day, but only came close with ~4500K-5000K in-camera adjustment.

What would you suggest I do to get the closest match to earlier that day?


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Steve Crow
Re: How to match sunlight indoors with florescent?
on Jun 20, 2012 at 1:36:46 pm

You could have potentially left the overhead flos off and simply increased your ISO so long as this didn't result in too much noise in your picture. Also you should be able to match the color somewhat in post anyways- for instance Final Cut Pro has a match color feature where you can make colors appearing in two different clips match each other lookwise.

Anytime you are dealing with daylight - that's an uncontrolled light source for the most part so the light is going to be constantly changing anyways. If you want absolute control you'd have to block out the light from the windows and only use artificial lights for all of your shots - then it doesn't matter what time of day it is.

Steve Crow
Crow Digital Media
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com


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Andrea Oppong
Re: How to match sunlight indoors with florescent?
on Jun 20, 2012 at 3:54:37 pm

Thanks, Steve.

It was about 8 or 9 at night and he needed the lights to see his work, so it was my only option.

Thanks again!


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Peter Burger
Re: How to match sunlight indoors with florescent?
on Jun 20, 2012 at 9:35:46 pm

Flourescents have a more or less greenish tint, so I'd maybe try to first neutralize the picture by adding a bit of magenta (or raising reds and blues / lowering greens - depending on the footage) and then use a second instance of colour-correction to get the look of the previous shots.

What software are you working with? Red Giant has (or had?) a free version of the incredible "Colorista" plugin for download. Even "Colorista Free" is a very powerful and more or less intuitive grading tool. It took a time until I "got" the mechanics, but I really like it.
"Colorista II" (the pay-version) even has a white balance feature, which is sort of a "one-click-solution".

Another great (commercial) plugin is Color Finesse. Very powerful and not easy to operate but you can get awesome results.

------------------------------------------
"Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot." - Buster Keaton

Me on Twitter (english/german)
http://twitter.com/FastFoodVideo


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Andrea Oppong
Re: How to match sunlight indoors with florescent?
on Jun 22, 2012 at 5:20:00 pm

Hi Peter,

Thanks. I'm not sure how to explain this, but after testing out different manual balance settings, I felt that the sunlight preset gave me the best colors at 10am that day. I now know that controlled lighting would have been better because now I'm having trouble replicating the same color that I got from that time of day the first time, since it's been either overcast slightly, or the sun decided to shift, etc.

I do have Colorista, but right now I'm using my own custom settings in Looks + an S-curve.

Here are a couple of those before and after screencaps:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8004/7420827118_5f4471f227_b.jpg
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7256/7420826320_fc5f58e28a_b.jpg


Here's the late night shot with florescent lighting and the color temp set at 4500 or so, after I pulled out some red and midtone color in curves:

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7276/7420825286_0709e53401_b.jpg

That's when I decided to ask about how to match shots because I wasn't satisfied this result. Is this as close as I can get to the original? Or, what lights and gels should I get so I can keep it this consistent color? I'm definitely not a colorist, but I'm trying to get better at it. The wall is pretty orange, which is kind of unfortunate because I'd like to separate his skin from the wall to turn it more towards the wall color I got in the first shots, but it's more of a challenge since I also risk affecting his skintone.


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Peter Burger
Re: How to match sunlight indoors with florescent?
on Jun 23, 2012 at 4:37:36 pm

The overall lighting in both shots differs a lot.
So it's hard to match them completely (if at all possible) without masking.

One of the biggest problems I see is - like you've already written - in the day-shot the walls are sort of the highlights and the skintones the midtones. In the evening-shot both (the wall and the skintones) are more or less the midtones.

I'm not a colorist either, but I think I'd try to first match the contrast levels, the overall brightness and then I'd probably use a couple of masks to separate the walls from the other elements and treat them differently... Tough job...

------------------------------------------
"Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot." - Buster Keaton

Me on Twitter (english/german)
http://twitter.com/FastFoodVideo


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Andrea Oppong
Re: How to match sunlight indoors with florescent?
on Jun 24, 2012 at 2:11:50 pm

Argh... yeah. Next time, controlled lighting or I'll just try to shoot it all quickly, haha. Thanks!


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