White Balance question

Discussions on Lighting
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Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:31 am

White Balance question

Postby sharry » Sat Jul 24, 2010 7:39 am

Hello Mr. Deakins and everybody else... I'm new to this forum and Im so glad that I am with people who are so talented and into their work... I love cinematography and Im working on a short film which I am directing as well as I am the director of photography. I am not operating the camera. It is my thesis project (I'm a film student).

I had a question. Now I have worked on the 35mm and understand the fact that the reel that you get is white balanced. 250D means it is balanced for daylight or 5600K. Likewise 250T is balanced for tungsten lught or 3200K. Now I am working on the video format in which you get these two presets along with a manual control which you use with a white card. Now I read an article which says that you should not white balance your footage in video. It says you should shoot on the 5600K preset and balance it in post. Now its hard for me to understand it because the day I held my first camera I was told to have a perfect white balance. For 4 years I have perfectly white balanced my footage. Well now I am confused. Here is the link to the article:

http://frankglencairn.wordpress.com/201 ... -bad-idea/

What do you guys have to say about this? Should I shoot my film on the 5600K preset and balance it in post because I am going to color grade my footage myself after my editor has edited the film. Please help me out?
-Shaheryar Ahmed-

Fat Duke
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:09 pm

Re: White Balance question

Postby Fat Duke » Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:47 pm

Simple. Test it yourself. See the results and decide.

But to be honest, these kind of tests reveal very little in order to have any weight in technical/aesthetic decisions. If your sharp and trained eye can't tell the difference without having to put the footage through all sorts of tests, then its all a bit useless... if it looks good on the monitor/TV/LCD then you should be fine.
Nuno Dias. London. UK.

Posts: 49
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:50 pm

Re: White Balance question

Postby Jackson_Gango » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:38 pm

I'd say on do the color correction in post if you have the time and resources to do so. Some films don't get finished because the coloring stage takes to long.

It's true that most digital cameras favor the 5600K temperature so shooting in the camera's default settings will yield crisper imagery and if you're going to shoot with something like an HVX200 and it's going to get blow up very, very large, then getting the best possible image out of that sensor is what you definitely want to do.
If you're just putting it up on the internet or it's being thrown onto a DVD and watched only on TVs, it will be very difficult to tell the difference.

But in most situations, I'm lighting with Tungsten light, because it's what's most available to me. I can't light everynight scene with HMIs, my head would fall off.

Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 7:48 pm

Re: White Balance question

Postby OliverCine » Sun Aug 15, 2010 3:22 am

The reason for the "do it in post" suggestion is based on the image sensor in the camera.
The censor is either balanced to Day or Tung.
Then any adjustments to CT are made by the camera's computer.
In many cases this adds noise, but so does timing in post.

But the best solution is to do your own tests...
...know how the footage will be screened (iPhone, TV, Silver Screen, etc.).
...use filters!

Paul Nordin
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 6:31 pm

Re: White Balance question

Postby Paul Nordin » Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:28 am

Sorry for the late reply.

I have a very different take on the "why use presets" than the valid technical reasons sighted already. For every scene I light, I think about time of day, mood, what's happening in the scene, overall style of the project, etc. And in the process of coming up with the lighting plan, I almost always decide to add a little or a lot of gel to one or multiple lights. And frequently I will have different color temperature lights working different aspects of the scene (key light vs. shadow, or beside lamp vs moonlit window as examples). When I use presents, it is very simple for me to know exactly what gel to call for on which light, and -know- how that will look in post. To me thats critical when working fast in the 11th hour. I suppose some might say that is being lazy, but it works for me and I usually send to post the image I want to send.

So point being that T & D end up being my two baselines from which I work the lighting plan.


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