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White Balance

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Editing Forum' started by russ hirst, Jul 22, 2005.

  1. russ hirst

    russ hirst
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    I am aware of the difference in colours under different light sources. Indeed, on a number of occasions this has annoyed me after I have shot something.

    I read on a BBC website aimed at new camera operators working for the corporation that before each shoot the white balance should be set by pointing the camera at a white sheet under the lighting conditions to be filmed under.

    I was wondering if this technique is fool proof and works for all camcorders including digital ones? Is it really that easy to get it right?

    Secondly, bearing in mind my camcorder is not a pro model, am I correct in thinking that unless there are external overide switches for white balance (which there aren't), if I am videoing an event that moves between light sources and I have no control over the event itself, I am stuck with whatever results the camera itself produces? Or is there some way around this?

    Cheers
     
  2. thebrummy_one

    thebrummy_one
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    I'm no expert on lighting at shoots and the like but, the upper end vidoe editing suites have a 'colour correction' tool. This is where if you take several scenes in different light conditions. Once loaded on your PC, by selecting three levels of colour that should be the same in each clip, (black, white, something else) the editing program will balance the clips to make the clips look the same. If this makes sense :rolleyes:
     
  3. Roy Mallard

    Roy Mallard
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    What model of camera do you have?
    There is a bit of debate about correct white balance procedure, some favour manually setting the WB every time, others prefer to use the cameras presets (indoors, outdoors or manually under the likes of flourescent tubes) one thing where most agree is that automatic is a no no.

    Automatic gets confused by colours close to tungsten or daylight, also under auto the camera constantly resets the white balance, so if you were to try and fix any errors in post then you couldn't do so with any consistancy as the camera is all over the place.

    If you set it manually or use a preset it may be slightly out, but it will be consistantly out, so it is far easier to fix in post.

    I'm with the preset school. If you have stage lighting it can be hard to find an unfiltered light giving you a 'white' source to ballance off of, if you ballance off of a filtered light then you lose the effect of that filter, and you knock the rest of your colours out.

    If you set to tungsten/indoors preset then unfiltered light appears white but you get the effect of the coloured gels when they come on. Auto would readjust to compensate.

    Likewise if you are outdoors, I dont think it's always right to have continuity, but say you were recording an interview on a day with good sunlight but broken clouds, then there is a risk that as you edit shots don't match.
    In this situation I would set your manual WB under clouded light and use the daylight preset under sunlight, if possible (procameras have preset plus 2 setings, so you can flick between two ballances on the fly)

    But if you were recording a sunrise, or sunset I would always use the preset, apart from the fact that the light colour temperature is changing all the time (and so you would have to reballance manully every other minute) you would then end up with consistant shots, you would lose the drama, the vivid bold colours.

    If you are recording manchester in the drizzle, you could set WB manually and it would look the same as a beach in Ibiza, however it may suit your peice to empahsize the gritiness, using the preset will do this.

    Just to confuse things further, some people carry pastel cards with them to force the WB. If you use a soft yellow card you make the picture slightly more blue, slightly cooler, which would make a location or person seem 'cold', or you could use a soft blue card and warm the pciture up (video looks like cinefilm) which can be used for warmth or a nostalgic feel.

    If you want to simulte moonlight or nightime then record under daylight, but set the preset to tungsten/indoors, you get a rich blue cast over your shot, if you then deliberately under expose, viola, you have night time.

    It's a minefield when you get started, but the basic rule is NEVER use AUTO, then you can fix prety much anything in post.
     
  4. russ hirst

    russ hirst
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    Thanks Roy. I have a JVC GRD53EK, which is basically a home Mini DV camcorder, as am I sure you know. However, I can get great results and am looking to improve all the time. Thanks for your tips, I tried them whilst in Menorca and the results look good!!

    Cheers.
     

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