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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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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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