FORUMS: list search recent posts

white balancing.

COW Forums : Cinematography

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Justin Leyba
white balancing.
on Dec 20, 2009 at 4:16:45 pm

Hi guys! Can you guys give me some white balancing tips? How do I set it? What color do I zoom in to make a true white color (natural white color for the location).

Thanks!


Return to posts index

john sharaf
Re: white balancing.
on Dec 20, 2009 at 4:36:44 pm

Justin,

Most all cameras have a choice of "preset" or "auto white balance". The one you decide to use is a creative decision, as usually the preset when used in the correct conditions will produce a better (often slightly warmer) look.

White balance is really the "absence" of color in the whites. It's derived by adjusting the red and the blue gains to minimize the red and blue in the white. The color of the ambient light determines the amount of R&B gain (both + and -) required to do so. A target that's devoid of color, obviously a white card or even better, a chip chart, is the preferred choice, although I've seen news photogs in a hurry white balance on their white sneakers. The problem with using any old white target in the field is that it might not actually be white and furthermore might be reflecting another color.

By using the preset in combination with daylight correction filter (in daylight) or without in tungsten often gives you, as I said, a more pleasing look. It's easy to preview by making an auto white and toggling back and forth to preset and observing the color on the monitor. Another advantage in this method is that the color balance will be consistent from day to day and project to project, and also that naturally occurring colors will be shown in their true effect, such as warm light in the early morning or late afternoon.

Ultimately, to become comfortable with white balance, you must test and experiment in all the various lighting conditions (don't worry there is a finite number) and carefully observe the results. This way you will gain the experience and confidence to swiftly and correctly apply the preferred setting when and where you want it.

JS






Return to posts index

Rick Wise
Re: white balancing.
on Dec 20, 2009 at 8:22:36 pm

To add a couple of points to John's reply: As written on many posts, there are two color axes you need to pay attention to: the blue-orange (or blue-red) and the magenta-green. A preset balance corrects for only one. A manual white balance corrects for both. For instance if you are shooting in a supermarket lit by cool whites, the manual white balance should take care of balancing both the blue-orange (daylight-tungsten) aspect of this light, and also the magenta-green. Since all fluroescents other than a few of those made for filming have a green spike, those overhead lights will certainly have that same green cast. The eye doesn't see it (except with a lot of practice) but the camera sure does. In such a situation, you could set the camera to "daylight" and that would roughly make the blue-green of those cool-white fluorescents look good. But that preset would do nothing for the green cast. Hence the utility of using a manual white balance off a white or gray surface illuminated by those overheads.

In addition, when you manually white balance, you sometimes find that the scene now looks too cool. An easy way to fix that is to re-white balance, but this time place 1/8 blue in front of the lens as you do the balance. The camera will "correct" out the very light blue. When you now look at the scene, you will see it looks warmer.

When you are shooting outdoors in natural sunlight, usually the preset "Daylight" works just fine.

Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
and part-time instructor lighting and camera
grad school, SF Academy of Art University/Film and Video
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwise
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


Return to posts index


Mark Suszko
Re: white balancing.
on Dec 21, 2009 at 3:07:32 pm

Not much else I can add, except that once you have a white card you like, keep it with the camera. When obtaining the manual WB, zoom in on the card and roll your focus so the view is as blurred as possible.

Yes, there is continually-adjusting auto-white on some cams, but as good as some are, they are never as smart about what and when they adjust, as a human brain is. The usual challenge is dealing with mixed sources, some daylight coming in from the window, versus some tungsten or flo in the overheads and practicals.

Sometimes what you want to shoot for is to average the temps out a bit, one way this is done is to deliberately angle the white card to "mix" the two color temps into one, then grab your balance off of that. In that one area of the room where you did the trick, your WB is going to be closest to "normal" looking.

The colored gel over the lens during balancing, you already read about. But you can go further. Yes, you can use white balance tricks like "warm cards" like a painter uses a palette of paints, deliberately making a scene bluer to suggest night or freezing cold, for example, or warmer, to suggest sunset or the desert heat, etc. What you do in the field, added to further correction or adjustment in post, adds up to an overall look.


Return to posts index

Justin Leyba
Re: white balancing.
on Dec 23, 2009 at 4:29:14 am

Can I just use a plain white paper and white balance it from there?


Return to posts index

Rick Wise
Plain White Paper
on Dec 23, 2009 at 8:16:16 pm

Yes, plain white paper works fine. Just make sure it's being hit by the lights in the room/space.

Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
and part-time instructor lighting and camera
grad school, SF Academy of Art University/Film and Video
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwise
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


Return to posts index


Alan Lloyd
Re: white balancing.
on Dec 23, 2009 at 5:29:13 am

To add a bit here: Preset is often fine. When it is not, the zebra setting in your camera is your friend. If it can be set to 70-80 IRE, that is. That's where you want highlights on the nose and cheekbones of caucasians. Too hot an exposure level and you don't know what you're balancing to at all.

And the very best results are got with a waveform monitor. Flatten out the magnified trace and you're there.

Oh, and if you have an adjustable setting for it, black balance too.


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]