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Why doesn't my videographer color balance with white card before shoot?

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chris pike
Why doesn't my videographer color balance with white card before shoot?
on Jul 31, 2018 at 7:57:57 pm

I'm new to video production. I occasionally hire people more experienced than myself to assist, and I learn by watching. I always ask these pros if they color balance with a white card before a shoot. Everyone of them says, "No, it is basically daylight." I should mention that I do shoot indoors with some sunlight in the windows and all my lights are daylight LEDs (no bicolors), all the room lights are off, so the light is "basically" daylight. However, I don't think these guys understand what is happening when you color balance a camera. The color temperature is only an average of a spectrum. There is actually a whole spectrum that can have peaks and valleys, or can have a tail at one end, and so on. When you color balance the camera, it knows to process the data compared to the shape of the spectrum, not just the average. You just can't do that in post. I am I correct?


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Todd Terry
Re: Why doesn't my videographer color balance with white card before shoot?
on Jul 31, 2018 at 8:05:39 pm

To be honest, I have not "white balanced" a camera in many years. I always dial in the exact color temperature that I want. Also sometimes I want it a little cooler than it really is, or a little warmer. Most of my primes are matched, but a couple aren't... and I know that I have some lenses that skew a little warmer than others, so I'll shoot those with a lower temperature. I think it's more or less the norm not to actually push the old "white balance" button anymore. Heck, I don't even know where it is on my current camera.

But... That's just the way I do it. Your mileage may vary.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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chris pike
Re: Why doesn't my videographer color balance with white card before shoot?
on Jul 31, 2018 at 8:10:44 pm

What do you think about my theory of the spectrum, and little nuances in the spectrum that aren't represented by the average "temperature".


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Todd Terry
Re: Why doesn't my videographer color balance with white card before shoot?
on Jul 31, 2018 at 9:02:32 pm

I have never had that be an issue.

You said it yourself, setting a color balance whether manually or automatically, does set a flat profile, not taking into account spikes etc.

So, for example, if the light in a room has a bit of a green spike (maybe from old low CRI LED instruments), setting a white balance automatically will no more correct that than setting the tempetature manually (like I do) would. Neither method will correct that one bit.

Have you seen issues with this?... seen with your own peepers? If you have, then by all means white balance if that seems to work better for you. The only two test instruments that really matter are your two eyeballs.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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chris pike
Re: Why doesn't my videographer color balance with white card before shoot?
on Jul 31, 2018 at 9:05:17 pm

> for example, if the light in a room has a bit of a green spike (maybe from old low CRI LED instruments), setting a
> white balance automatically will no more correct that than setting the tempetature manually (like I do) would.
> Neither method will correct that one bit.

Maybe you are right. Maybe I misunderstand what the white balance can accomplish.


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Blaise Douros
Re: Why doesn't my videographer color balance with white card before shoot?
on Jul 31, 2018 at 11:52:28 pm

Probably. And frankly, you'll get more consistent results from a scene if you set your white balance and leave it (unless, like Todd, you know that your lenses introduce color casts)--if you're grading later, why set yourself up to individually white balance and then individually grade every shot? Figure out the color temp you want to shoot, and make those minor corrections globally in post, make minor tweaks where needed.

If you're shooting with low-CRI LEDs, NOTHING you do will correct the color. Your picture will look washed out and crappy no matter if the white balance is spot-on; low-CRI LEDs simply don't reflect a full spectrum of light off your subject.


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ryan elder
Re: Why doesn't my videographer color balance with white card before shoot?
on Aug 21, 2018 at 5:20:08 pm

I pretty much do what Todd Terry does, and just dial in the color temperature I want, or have my cinematographer do it, to our liking.


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Robert Olding
Re: Why doesn't my videographer color balance with white card before shoot?
on Aug 1, 2018 at 2:43:32 pm

We white balance. We also include a DSC Lab's OneShot Plus right before we slate the first take of a scene. Most of the time we shoot using a camera's RAW codec, so white balancing isn't as big of a deal for post. But doing so helps us when monitoring both the scopes and the Director/Client/DP monitor. When we shoot to a ProRes codec, we believe that setting the white balance is imperative.

Robert Olding

Studio Eight | Director of Photography
http://www.studioeightmn.com
Minneapolis, MN


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Mark Suszko
Re: Why doesn't my videographer color balance with white card before shoot?
on Aug 21, 2018 at 4:31:56 pm

I still white balance and black-balance in almost every case. Especially if it's multicam, we put all the cams side by side and balance off the exact same source, as much as possible. Just to get them all roughly matched-up. SAves time in post for sure.

I kinda miss the old days when the cameras had manually operated CCU's attached and we had a guy who's only job was to "paint" the camera continuously in reaction to changing light conditions. Going out to shoot single-cam, I still use a white card, but for non-news stuff I also try to bring out the Macbeth chart and shoot that under the actual lighting conditions, to get some kind of common reference starting point for the eventual grade. Internal camera bars have little relation to what came in thru the lens, so I find them less useful. I especially do the Macbeth chart for green and blue screen chromakey jobs.

I see it all the time, that people will start trying to pull keys before they've even first run the shot thru the scopes and used color correction to adjust the peaks, mids, and blacks. Then they wonder why their keys are difficult. Doing it my way, the keys come out perfect more or less on the first try.


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Aaron Star
Re: Why doesn't my videographer color balance with white card before shoot?
on Aug 22, 2018 at 7:51:46 pm

Most people will shoot a chip cart and not white cards. Some will even rely on the chip cart on top of the slate. You can zoom way in on color software and set temps based on very small zones.

If your lighting is highly colorized, like neon signs in background with a warm highlight and a cool fill. Then most DPs will shoot a clean chip chart, off to the side, using the key lamp temperature with no filters. This will make sure your colorist does not tweek out that weak color tint you added with a gel on the lamp.


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