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Re: Auto White Balance with a color picker still not in V10??

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Joseph Owens
Re: Auto White Balance with a color picker still not in V10??
on Nov 13, 2013 at 4:47:21 pm

[Nat Jencks] "White balance tools are really not for amatures," [sic]

I'd lean toward agreeing, but not completely.

Geez, what does that AWB button do that's provided on the camera? And why wouldn't a cinematographer use it?

(Maybe for the same reason a colorist wouldn't?)

Everyone is correct that it is a complex matter. IF a shot is overexposed, then at 110IRE (clipped) value R already= G, already =B, so no change. As far as a no-brainer-white-balance goes, its electronically already there.... And under fluorescent, like we find everywhere in those industrial low-budget shoots that would be where the OP thinks would find the auto button most useful... if there is a practical in the shot... as far as the camera is concerned, it already is white balanced... but everybody is green. Huh.

So picking an arbitrary value somewhere in the what-should-be-grey scale and making that R=G=B would solve everything, right? ... Maybe I haven't been doing this long enough, or else maybe I'm now "too old", but... not in my experience. Cross-light? Worse. (I mean balancing a shot with a mix of color temperatures... ie., a fluorescent-lit office with floor-to-ceiling south-facing windows admitting natural daylight.) Now that's what I call entertainment.
There is a discussion over on the Blackmagic Post forum about "color temperature" sliders, to deal with someone who would like this approach, or at least an implementation to deal with someone else who thinks this is how it should be done. There is a response involving "printer points", another approach to coarse RGB adjustments that emulates an approach that is pretty much now totally abandoned, since we don't really "print" film anymore, and for sure not attempting to adjust ("time") dye layer values with chemistry and filters, which was a black art if there ever was one. How about the time I was grading a session where the DP was holding up a Mired-shift filter from one of those Rosco sample-swatch fans and shouting out incomprehensible (or at least untranslate-able) numbers? Uh, when he really meant "warmer", or "cooler". As much as some people would love to obfuscate the discipline with mumbo-jumbo science (for their own reasons), yes, we need to be "calibrated", but the notion of just "making it look nice", even if it doesn't win every time, should.

Sure, a one-touch magic button would be great, but, and maybe this is being harsh?... even as far back as Delacroix, a pure, technical white is as boring as it gets, and is usually, or should be, your first clue that a blunt instrument was in use.
Check out his "Tiger" series of oils, sometime. I took a series of digital snapshots at the Louvre last fall to illustrate how effed-up the electronic version was re-presented. For some reason, the camera was trying to sell me on the idea that the cats' fur should be "white". Nope. Not really true so much.


"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.

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