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Color Grading: Correcting for Auto White Balance and Exposure Fluctuations

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Justin Mrkva
Color Grading: Correcting for Auto White Balance and Exposure Fluctuations
on Aug 17, 2013 at 7:33:14 pm

Most of my personal footage is shot with my iPhone, and as there are very limited manual controls, it's mostly auto white balance and exposure. Of course this works for some things, but often when I'm grading the footage I notice that the white balance and exposure changes where it's not supposed to. Perfect example: shooting a sunset scene, the color of the shot shifts to a very cool temperature (especially noticeable in the sky) when panning out over the water, then warms back up when I hit the shore. Of course this is very awkward for the final grade.

Now I'm not using this footage for anything professional so I don't want to spend a ton of money (I'd be better off getting a better camera) but what's the best way to even out the colors across a shot like this? I'd be happy to get it close, it doesn't have to be perfect. Also, something automatic is preferable to manual (since it's just a personal project) but I'm open to other options.

Related: is there any way to keyframe the color grading controls (FCPX color board) and if not, what's the easiest solution to achieving a keyframed grade? I do have Hawaiki AutoGrade and keyframing the white/black/global points is an option, but kind of awkward.


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Nikolas Bäurle
Re: Color Grading: Correcting for Auto White Balance and Exposure Fluctuations
on Aug 18, 2013 at 9:39:54 pm

You shouldn't be using an iPhone or any automatic camera features if you want decent grades.

Keyframing color corrections to correct exposure fluctuations will pretty much never work, unless you have very slight fluctuations, and even then they will always be visible. Fiddling with it is a waste of time. In News or some Documentary work you either live with fluctuated footage or simply don't use, or re-shoot. On high end productions you won't run into this problem since shooting is done manually.

You could try to control your iPhone by not doing pans or get a DSLR and work manually.


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Bret Williams
Re: Color Grading: Correcting for Auto White Balance and Exposure Fluctuations
on Aug 19, 2013 at 12:36:19 am

The sun does go behind a cloud on occasion during a take. But no keyframing in X. All you can do at the moment is cross dissolve between 2 grades.


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Nikolas Bäurle
Re: Color Grading: Correcting for Auto White Balance and Exposure Fluctuations
on Aug 19, 2013 at 1:58:32 am

Sun going behind a cloud can be easily dealt with, a panning iPhone shot is just too messy.


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Bret Williams
Re: Color Grading: Correcting for Auto White Balance and Exposure Fluctuations
on Aug 19, 2013 at 6:28:12 am

Agreed. But you know, you can lock exposure and focus on an iPhone. I would assume it would lock the wb as well.


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Nikolas Bäurle
Re: Color Grading: Correcting for Auto White Balance and Exposure Fluctuations
on Aug 19, 2013 at 7:01:26 am

Ahhh..didn't know you could do that.


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Bret Williams
Re: Color Grading: Correcting for Auto White Balance and Exposure Fluctuations
on Aug 22, 2013 at 9:09:28 pm

When you touch a spot to focus, just hold for a few seconds and it gives you an AE/AF lock.


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