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Old February 27th, 2010, 10:11 PM   #1
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White Balancing

Quick question, i'm coming from the video world where white balancing involved placing usually a white paper in front of the camera and pressing the white balance button. What's the best way to balance with the 5d? Is there where a light meter is involved?? Any tips and/or suggestions would be appreciated, thanks!
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Old February 27th, 2010, 11:03 PM   #2
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I've recently started using NewBlueFX ColorFixer addon for Sony Vegas so post. I try to eyedropper on light gray or on a target board pic if i have a chance to shoot one.
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Old February 28th, 2010, 01:24 AM   #3
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hmm okay, but what is the most commonplace method to white balance the 5D onlocation? Just dial in appropriate temp according to daylight, cloudy, indoors? use a light meter? or just use the flat color curve and do it in post?
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Old February 28th, 2010, 01:58 AM   #4
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I've used four methods.

1) Select sunny, cloudy, whatever. It's quick!
2) Set the color temp. It's good to learn what conditions create various temperatures.
3) Shoot a white card and select custom WB.
4) Shoot through an ExpoDisc and set a custom WB.

#1 is the fastest and easiest. #2 can improve accuracy a bit and is fast. #3 and #4 are more accurate, but slower. #4 is easier than #3 when working alone. Just shoot toward the light source and balance on that.

Never try a a flat color curve and leave it until post. Do your best to set a good WB so your footage will give you the most to work with.

Also, note that you can set a two dimensional color balance offset. If you know that you want a given look, you can consider setting the WB and then offsetting it to your target look. I'd recommend running tests first though.
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Old February 28th, 2010, 04:04 AM   #5
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Thanks Jon for the tips. I'll probably stick to the preset modes for now. As far as dialing in the exact lighting temperature, im not a photographer, but do light meters read out the temperature too??? so that I can dial in the exact temperature of a particular scene?
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Old March 1st, 2010, 03:47 AM   #6
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No. Light meters read the intensity of light. Color temperature meters read, er the color temperature of light.

Just use the custom WB setting, it's similar to a camcorder in that you point it at a white card and though there are a couple of steps you have to go through, it is easy once you've tried it a couple of times
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Old March 1st, 2010, 09:27 AM   #7
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Just use the custom WB setting, it's similar to a camcorder in that you point it at a white card and though there are a couple of steps you have to go through, it is easy once you've tried it a couple of times
Yes indeed -- the custom WB is the easiest way to get linearity.

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Old March 1st, 2010, 09:33 AM   #8
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I like the custom WB setting method with the 5D. I just wish it would give a Kelvin value of that white balance. The reason being, I have Zylight which allows custom settings of it's color temp. I hate to purchase a color temp meter for this, as the camera probably is capable of returning a value for this.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 11:59 AM   #9
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I hate to purchase a color temp meter for this, as the camera probably is capable of returning a value for this.
Here's what I do at least under controlled not changing studio light:
I shoot a RAW photo of a greycard and open the RAW file in Adobe Camera Raw (Photoshop). In the RAW dialog I use the White Balance Tool on the grey card to get a color temperature reading plus the green/magenta tint. I set both values in the camera and enjoy accurate colors.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 12:54 PM   #10
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One tip - at sunset, don't use a custom WB. Use your judgment and set a fixed value. If you are filming people and don't want them to be orange, use a low temp. If you are filming the sunset itself, you do want it to be orange. Use a high color temp.

There may be other times as well when you want the unique colors of the scene to pop through, rather than be neutralized.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 09:53 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Steve Cahill View Post
I like the custom WB setting method with the 5D. I just wish it would give a Kelvin value of that white balance.
Yes, I agree. It would also be handy to have a storage bank for several different custom WB's.

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Old March 1st, 2010, 11:14 PM   #12
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sweet thanks for the tips guys. messed around a bit with the presets with different light temps earlier.

quick question. ive always white balanced on a white card for my hdv cameras. and have been reading about white balancing on grey. what's the difference/advantage???

also, i've read how photographers white balance on certain types of cards with certain type of color shade for certain celebrities.. should i learn these types of techniques especially if i'm to shoot female interviews on the 5d/7d?

thanks for any help/info on these issues..
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 12:59 AM   #13
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You can continue to use a white card or start using a grey card or go by eye on adjusting the kelvin temp. It doesn't really matter when shooting HD video. The Grey card is mainly used for film sets shooting color negative so when they do either a one light or best light transfer the developer knows what to color balance to. The way you are suppose to do it is to have the grey card on your key light. Don't cover the whole frame just most of the frame. Use the spot meter on your light meter on each corner to make sure it's all the same t-stop. shoot 5-10 seconds of it. It's also optional and recommended to wave your hand in front of the card so the developer can see how the skin tones are while adjusting the lights for the transfer.
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