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White Balance with different temperatures

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Andy Morin
White Balance with different temperatures
on Sep 9, 2010 at 6:05:36 am

So i browsed through a bunch of recent articles regarding white balance control and I've read up on a few techniques but i really need a little back and forth info to guide me in the right direction. I'm shooting with an EX1R, and I've been shooting outside shots and I cannot control the temperature of the sun in the sky to balance with any foreground shots. It's bleaching out the colors of the subject and everything around it, and i'm still getting an overexposed sky. It seems like i should invest in a Polarizer filter. I use a UV filter right now. Otherwise, I have no idea what to do.

I did a small shoot with the subject coming indoors through a glass door, and I have the same problem. The outside has a tungsten look to it.

Is there any solution besides gelling the entire glass and through a light in front of the subject? What if i shoot a restaurant scene where there are windows everywhere? I'm completely clueless on this approach. Somebody save me from desperation's door.


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Mark Suszko
Re: White Balance with different temperatures
on Sep 9, 2010 at 6:38:53 pm

Outside, you might try a neutral density "ND" filter on your lens. Cameras often come equipped with a built-in set of these you dial into position. or you can buy aftermarket types that screw onto the front of your lens, from a camera store. or you can put a mattebox ont he front of the camera and drop into it a slide-in ND filter or a graduated one. A Polarizing filter is always good to have, but it reduces glare more than it does brightness level. Brightness level and color temperature are two separate things. The ND will reduce the amount of overall light getting into the lens without changing the color. Like wearing sunglasses. You can also add shutter to the outside shot to reduce the overall light blasting your image sensor... but too much shutter will add some temporal effects to your motion shots that you may not like.

Your indoor problem is twofold: the windows are too bright, and the daylight is a different color temperature than the interior lighting being used. To reduce the brightness of the windows, you apply the same neutral density filtration to it that I discussed for your camera lens in the first paragraph. This is sold in large flat sheets called "gels".

You can buy gels that are just for reducing light level, or just for changing its color temp, or you can buy a gel that combines the two in one. You stick that to the window and you're in good shape.

If you can't get the windows gelled, you can gel your lights to get everything to match with the daylight color from the windows. Or you can use lights that are already the same color as daylight. HMI type lights and some LED-based and custom flourescent lights are able to match daylight.

Look up the ROSCO website for more information on gels and their use.

Finally, you're going to have to use manual iris control to really control the exposure; don't trust automatic settings for this. if your colors come out correct but don't look saturated enough, this can be goosed in post production.


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Andy Morin
Re: White Balance with different temperatures
on Sep 11, 2010 at 7:17:39 pm

Thanks Mark! Really appreciate the time you took!


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