FORUMS: list search recent posts

white balance settings

COW Forums : Cinematography

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Paul Hanssen
white balance settings
on Sep 5, 2013 at 2:40:55 pm

I tested my location for a documentary. I found the white balance settings varied between 4000 en 4800 K. Is it save to put it at an average of 4400K. Will it be noticeable??



Return to posts index

john sharaf
Re: white balance settings
on Sep 5, 2013 at 3:07:20 pm


It seems that questions about "white balance" will never end on this forum. I suppose a book could be written on the subject and it could be an interesting read!

The thing about it is that WB is a subjective thing; at it's core it is meant to set the camera to reproduce a "colorless" white object in the picture by adjusting the red and blue gains of the camera based on the "color" of the dominant light, but doing so it eliminates whatever deviation from the preset that would otherwise give some "character" to the color. This is especially noticeable at dawn and dusk where presets exhibit the pure beauty of "God's Light".

To WB in mixed lighting means choosing which light source you want to be dominant, or at least which subject in the scene you want the color to be most accurate. When the subject travels from one color light source to another you're S.O.O.L unless you resort to a dynamic AWB function, but I don't recommend that (or any auto function for that matter).

Most cameras provide at least two WB memories (A and B) in addition to presets and some also offer several CC filters (either glass or electronic). Knowing how to use these to your creative advantage is an acquired skill worth having. To gain it, you must test and experiment when you're not actually in the heat of battle so that you gain confidence in the various permutations. Observing on a Vectorscope is a particularly useful tool. In addition, most cameras now have color viewfinders which again makes it easier and provides that confidence.

It has always been my practice to use presets in conditions where we're lighting with tungsten, or in sunlight and/or lighting with HMI's. In fluorescent lighting I'll always white balance in the B memory to eliminate whatever green spike is present.

Using the presets has an additional advantage in that scenes will match better day to day and location to location so timing your finished project will be easier and possibly accomplished with an overall correction.

There are many more chapters to this topic as you can probably now realize, so I suggest you search the subject here on CC and also devote some time testing all the permutations in the different lighting conditions you expect to encounter, observing the results on a properly setup professional grade monitor.

Good luck!


Return to posts index

Guy McLoughlin
Re: white balance settings
on Sep 7, 2013 at 6:29:02 pm

From what you describe, setting your camera to 4400K should produce fine results.

Most of the time you will be setting the final color mix in post when you are editing, so as long as you are relatively close to the true color-balance of your source lighting you should be fine.

With the less expensive video cameras that record video in 8-bit color ( which is pretty much all video cameras under $5K, with the exception of the Blackmagic cameras) it's important to set an accurate color balance when you are shooting as the color balance in your recorded video can't be manipulated very much when editing.

More expensive cameras ( and the Blackmagic cameras ) that allow you to record video in 10-bit or RAW color formats, will produce video where the color balance can be shifted all over the place with little or no degradation of your final image.

Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2018 All Rights Reserved