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Author Topic: Quick help needed: Manual White Balance  (Read 2449 times)

NewFilmmaker

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Quick help needed: Manual White Balance
« on: November 26, 2012, 11:17:37 AM »
I don't see the option for manual white balance ;) See only the presets when I push WB, like AWB, daylight...

This I got: At the movie set I have to take a still from something white and use that still as a reference. But how do I do that? Let the camera "know" the still is the reference?

Many thanks for your help

Btw, shooting with the 5D mark III, Zeiss primes, and making a short film.

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Quick help needed: Manual White Balance
« on: November 26, 2012, 11:17:37 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Quick help needed: Manual White Balance
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2012, 11:24:50 AM »
See p.138 in your manual.  Take the pic, assign it to custom WB in Shooting Menu 2, then select Custom WB, symbol is:
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TrumpetPower!

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Re: Quick help needed: Manual White Balance
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2012, 01:04:25 PM »
I've heard from filmmakers that manual white balance might not be such a good idea for videography. I think it might depend on whether or not you're mixing different scenes, lighting setup, cameras, and the like, along with how much and what type of post-production you'll be doing.

If you do use a manual white balance, you will want to use the same one for the entire production (or at least for portions of the production intended to be visually contiguous) rather than a fresh one for each scene or take. That will take some careful planning, especially if you're using mixed lighting or available light.

And, if you use a manual white balance, you will most emphatically want to use a good target. Avoid plain paper like the plague. Your best bet will be polystyrene, such as the lid of a disposable beer cooler.

Cheers,

b&

Policar

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Re: Quick help needed: Manual White Balance
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2012, 01:48:28 PM »
I've heard from filmmakers that manual white balance might not be such a good idea for videography. I think it might depend on whether or not you're mixing different scenes, lighting setup, cameras, and the like, along with how much and what type of post-production you'll be doing.

If you do use a manual white balance, you will want to use the same one for the entire production (or at least for portions of the production intended to be visually contiguous) rather than a fresh one for each scene or take. That will take some careful planning, especially if you're using mixed lighting or available light.

And, if you use a manual white balance, you will most emphatically want to use a good target. Avoid plain paper like the plague. Your best bet will be polystyrene, such as the lid of a disposable beer cooler.

Cheers,

b&

Great advice. I personally use 3200K, 5600K, and fluorescent (only if forced to by location lighting) almost exclusively. You can sometimes get away with AWB during the day, because color temperature fluctuates based on cloud cover and amount of shade, but generally all you need are a couple presets. Changing white balance on every take is a bad rookie error.

However, setting white balance to something weird for a scene or location is fine if you stick with it. If you're mixing 3200K and 5600K and want to go somewhere between as neutral, then 4100K might be fine? That kind of thing.

NewFilmmaker

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Re: Quick help needed: Manual White Balance
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2012, 02:34:22 PM »
Thanks :) I'm learning a lot here!

When to use 3200K and when 5600?


ishdakuteb

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Re: Quick help needed: Manual White Balance
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2012, 02:57:57 PM »
Thanks :) I'm learning a lot here!

When to use 3200K and when 5600?

3200K:  with Tungsten light (Note:  I like to set it around 2500K-2800K with little tweak in WB Shift)
5600K:  with Daylight

there are some other cases that you can use such as:
1. set your camera in ai servo
2. frame entire white paper or gray card (do not care about closing focus requirement since you are in ai servo)
3. take a shot of that white paper
4. perform your setting on custom white balance with an image that you have just taken

note:  i do not use video; therefore, i cannot say further about it.  but i use manual white balance for studying purpose only.  in real shooting, i am using auto white balance since i can adjust it later (scott kelby already said, "there is no such unique standard requirement on using white balance, just use it to your taste"... might be i have just put my words into his mouth, but he did say something like that.)  and keep in mind that you if you are shooting in different light situation (i.e. keep changing one location to another, close to television, computer, etc... manual white balance would not be prefered since you will probably have a hard time to deal with.)

me, not a prof. photographer, i am still in every day learning curve since i have started loving photography :P

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Quick help needed: Manual White Balance
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2012, 03:13:16 PM »
2. frame entire white paper or gray card (do not care about closing focus requirement since you are in ai servo)

Once again, white paper is almost never actually white and almost always makes for a poor white balance target. Gray cards tend to do better, but even the ones marketed as being for white balancing are overpriced and far from ideal.

Polystyrene / styrofoam (such as the lid of a cheap beer cooler, a foam coffee cup, or packing materials) is far and above the way to go. You have to go to considerable length and expense to do better; even then, polystyrene is at least 95% as good as the stupid-expensive stuff. And, by "stupid-expensive," I mean something that will set you back more than your camera did. And, yes, polystyrene is significantly better than the photographic white balance tools people will try to sell you (except for the BabelColor target).

Cheers,

b&

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Re: Quick help needed: Manual White Balance
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2012, 03:13:16 PM »

Policar

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Re: Quick help needed: Manual White Balance
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2012, 04:06:10 PM »
White paper is bad, yes. It will work in a pinch, but why even use it?

For video you don't white balance on a per-shot basis because the final result (the scene itself) has to be consistent. That's why lighting is such an art... you need to make the wide shot look good, then relight the CUs so they look good (usually a little fill and softer light) but they also cut believably in terms of ratios, quality of light, amount of light (retain a similar f-stop), color temperature, and light source with the wide shots. Usually a matter of diffusing and bouncing.

Just buy this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Bare-Bones-Camera-Course-Video/dp/0960371818

It's the most basic book out there and also the best. And despite being basic 99% of us could learn a lot from it; it goes over composition, aperture, frame rate, color temperature, coverage, etc. in the most basic but useful terms I've ever seen.

NormanBates

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Re: Quick help needed: Manual White Balance
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2012, 04:15:09 PM »
In my case... Precisely because I want all my takes to look the same, and I know that matching them in post leads to reduced image quality --> I run this custom white balance method every time I change lenses, and every time I add or take away ND filtration.

Some lenses (specially the vintage ones I use) have a slight color tint. And my ND filters give the image a greenish tone (specially with over 3 stops of ND, be it on a single filter, or stacking several of them).

I use this custom white balance method instead of dialing in a K value because with custom white balance you not only set the K, but also the green-magenta bias (which is what my ND filters require).

Nick Gombinsky

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Re: Quick help needed: Manual White Balance
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2012, 09:37:28 AM »
I shoot video more than stills for a living, being a DP. When using Canon DSLRs for shooting, white balance is set manually. But not the manual "shoot a white board", but set it in Kelvins. You can see what you are doing on screen as soon as you change 100 degrees. It is more precise and a lot quicker than shooting and then going into the menu.

If you are new to the concept of white balance, doing so will help you learn what you are changing. Tungsten light (the orangy light bulbs being now replaced for CFL except for movie industry lights) are in theory 3200, but to set the camera to actually see it neutral white, you'll find out that sometimes its more on the 2800 side. That is because for the lights to be 3200, the electricity has to be spot on the voltage, and it never is. It also depends on how much life the bulb has left. If its about to die, it will be less intense, and a bit more orange as well.

Daylight is 5600 but no always, sunrise, sunset, cloudy, VERY cloudy, and a lot of different weathers have different color temperatures.

Again, play with your settings on live view and you will learn a lot. You'll probably pick up on the fact that if your WB is higher than it should, then everything will turn more bluish. And if it is lower, more yellow/orange.
Some people use it to fake weathers (sunsets) and create moods in the picture. I stopped doing it after I realized it also changed all the whites dramatically, and sometimes that doesn't look good.

Hope it helps!
Cheers
Nick
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NewFilmmaker

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Re: Quick help needed: Manual White Balance
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2012, 04:09:39 PM »
Thx guys for all the replies, but I'm a bit lost ;) Should I white balance or not? Tomorrow I'm doing a INT shoot, using a Ikan ID 500 LED 3-Light Kit. 5600 k (+300K). Can I set the 5D on 5600K and forget about white balance?

Axilrod

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Re: Quick help needed: Manual White Balance
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2012, 05:39:13 PM »
I've heard from filmmakers that manual white balance might not be such a good idea for videography. I think it might depend on whether or not you're mixing different scenes, lighting setup, cameras, and the like, along with how much and what type of post-production you'll be doing.

Cheers,

b&

All I've ever seen or heard is to NEVER use auto white balance for video, not to avoid it.  Last thing you want is the camera changing the white balance while you are shooting.  I avoid anything auto period when shooting video on DSLR's.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2012, 05:57:19 PM by Axilrod »
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Axilrod

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Re: Quick help needed: Manual White Balance
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2012, 05:41:10 PM »
Thx guys for all the replies, but I'm a bit lost ;) Should I white balance or not? Tomorrow I'm doing a INT shoot, using a Ikan ID 500 LED 3-Light Kit. 5600 k (+300K). Can I set the 5D on 5600K and forget about white balance?

Yes, it's absolutely critical to get your white balance right with DSLR video.  Since DSLR footage is compressed there is a limited amount of color work you can do before the image starts to degrade, so you don't want to waste any of it correcting the white balance in post. 

I've used the exact kit you're using several times.  Is there any other practical lighting or anything like that around?  5500K should be good, but if you have some tungsten light mixing in from any other source try 5200k.  The lowest I've had to go with that kit is 4600K when there was a decent amount of light from lamps/fixtures mixing in with it.

But if your only light source in the room is the iKan kit, yes, set it to 5500 or 5600 K and roll with it.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2012, 05:57:50 PM by Axilrod »
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Re: Quick help needed: Manual White Balance
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2012, 05:41:10 PM »

Axilrod

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Re: Quick help needed: Manual White Balance
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2012, 05:55:09 PM »
Thanks :) I'm learning a lot here!

When to use 3200K and when 5600?

3200K is Tungsten balanced light and generally where you want the white balance if you are shooting indoors with normal household lighting.  5600K is daylight balanced, which is where you want it set if you are shooting outdoors (or with daylight balanced light). 

You're essentially just telling the camera what the correct color temperature is.

Try this, take your camera, set the white balance to 5500k and then walk around the house and see what it looks like.  Should look way, way too yellow (warm) because the light in your house is closer to 3200K than 5500K.  Switch your white balance to 3200K and walk around and everything should look great.  But leave it on 3200K and go outside and everything will look really blue (cool), since the color temperature outdoors is 5500K. 

But since you will be shooting indoors with daylight balanced light, 5000-5500K should be fine.
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Re: Quick help needed: Manual White Balance
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2012, 05:55:09 PM »