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Old August 8th, 2008, 02:21 PM   #1
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White Balance for changing light conditions

What is the best way to white balance when filming outdoors with dramatically changing lighting? For instance, trade wind cloud days it will be intermittent blazing sun on white wave foam, and then clouds swing in bringing dark shade. Is it best to do the white balance in the shady times, or when it's blazing, or something in between, or does it even matter? Any advice is greatly appreciated.
I've got the white balance card. But I was also thinking of using the 2 coffee filters over the lens trick and pointing right at the blazing foam to get the balance. The biggest hurdle is filming waves here in Hawaii with the great blue color that you want, but the foam when the light is super bright washes out that part of the image in relation to the blue.
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Old August 8th, 2008, 02:36 PM   #2
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Typically I shoot auto events and car shows and whatnot, which are outside a lot. Now, I like to go Macgyver style for most things, so I'll just fill my viewfinder with someone's white t-shirt or sweatshirt to snag my white balance.

Others may have a differing opinion. I don't shoot dramatic movies or anything, just event stuff, so I like to run lean and mean, snagging my white balance from anything that looks "white" to me.
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Old August 8th, 2008, 02:44 PM   #3
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Yes lean and mean is best. The question is whether to capture the white balance in the full sun, or shade, or in between, when the conditions will be changing throughout the shoot, and there is no way to go back and regather the footage.
I'm going to have to experiment, but thought I could ask the question since someone must have run into this before.
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Old August 8th, 2008, 03:13 PM   #4
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Hi got me one of these little things:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...tal_White.html

Run takes just a couple of seconds to get a new WB when I get into a different light source. It's also great for mutli-cam shoots.
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Old August 8th, 2008, 03:25 PM   #5
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Thanks Garrett, I guess my question was misleading.
Here's the scenario:
The lighting in my shoot will change dramatically due to clouds moving overhead sometimes.
I won't have even 1 second to change the white balance.
Is it best to white balance in the sunny times, or the shady times?

Last edited by Bill Thesken; August 8th, 2008 at 03:26 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old August 8th, 2008, 03:40 PM   #6
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Sorry for the missunderstanding. I thought it would be more because of you moving from one venue to the next.

I would gauge what you think the majority of the lighting characteristics would be. If you think there would be more times when it will be cloudy I'd set it for that. As long as the clouding isn't too bad it shouldn't make that much difference. You will have to do some post corrections but if you can get the majority of the footage correct it won't be too bad.
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Old August 8th, 2008, 03:48 PM   #7
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That sounds right. Probably balance in the between lighting. Get an average.
I also like the idea of the balance disc pointed at the subject.
Thanks for the link, $100 is actually not that bad if it will prevent a headache.....
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Old August 8th, 2008, 05:29 PM   #8
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I would just make sure that it isn't in auto mode pick an average and leave it. You can make corrections in post... but if it's in auto it will change mid shot etc and would be a nightmare.
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Old August 8th, 2008, 06:38 PM   #9
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White balance while cloudy (or use a white card in the shade). This will give you a whit balance in 6500+ range. When the sun comes out the sun will be about 5600K and the worst that will happen is that the picture will look warmer while your white during cloudy periods is most accurate. If you balance for sunny skies the video shot during cloudy skies will be cooler or bluish. I'll always cheat towards warm pictures rather than blue, cold ones.
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Old August 8th, 2008, 06:44 PM   #10
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I'd agree with Garrett's suggestion. WB for the predominant conditions and go with it. You can cook the cock-eyed shots in post.

Another suggestion in these conditions... shoot in Tv mode. In twilight I was shooting races partially in sunlight and part in shadow depending upon where the cars were on the track. Being a manual maniac, I tried chasing it manually which was worse. Tv mode solved the problem. Only problems happened on really wide shots with a brighter sky in the background making the fg darker, but it's easier to fix. Overall, it works well.
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Old August 9th, 2008, 02:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick L. Allen View Post
White balance while cloudy (or use a white card in the shade). This will give you a whit balance in 6500+ range. When the sun comes out the sun will be about 5600K and the worst that will happen is that the picture will look warmer while your white during cloudy periods is most accurate. If you balance for sunny skies the video shot during cloudy skies will be cooler or bluish. I'll always cheat towards warm pictures rather than blue, cold ones.
Interesting advice. This rings a bell, since the picture has been changing to a weird blue cast when the clouds come rolling in. Impossible to adjust in post since it happens in a split second, and any adjustment in post makes it worse. So white balance in the cool light which will handle the hot light. I'll give it try tomorrow and may post a sequence.
Thank you.
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Old August 9th, 2008, 03:16 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett Low View Post
Hi got me one of these little things:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...tal_White.html

Run takes just a couple of seconds to get a new WB when I get into a different light source. It's also great for mutli-cam shoots.
I was thinking of getting one of these, until yesterday when I finally got around to checking exactly how it worked. You have to point it toward the light source in the direction you are shooting from. With wildlife work, sitting in a hide, you don't really get the option of doing that - not without disturbing your subjects. Nor can I stick a grey or white card out of the hide in front of the camera. So, for the most part, I think I'm stuck with auto white balance.

And I'm thinking of light conditions changing during the shoot - alternating cloud and sun being the main problem.
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Old August 9th, 2008, 03:31 PM   #13
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You redo white balance because a cloud came over?
I personally wouldn't worry about it unless the light source has changed e.g. when going from outside sunlight to inside under tungsten.
On live event stuff I personally just use the two presets for sunlight & tungsten.
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Old August 9th, 2008, 03:52 PM   #14
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No, I just let the camera do it's thing!!

But on my old XM2, I was pretty obvious that the white balance was way out in dull conditions - in order to get things looking anywhere near the right colour, I had to "white balance" it on my pale blue fleece.
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Old August 9th, 2008, 09:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post
You redo white balance because a cloud came over?
I personally wouldn't worry about it unless the light source has changed e.g. when going from outside sunlight to inside under tungsten.
On live event stuff I personally just use the two presets for sunlight & tungsten.
Dennis, I've seen your Sandy Bay Whangarei footage before, good stuff. Just looked at it again on your website.
Around the 56 second mark is the type problem I'm running into, and it may or may not be white balance issues. It may just be lighting issues, which cannot be controlled outdoors using natural lighting on subjects at a distance. In your instance it goes from a bluish type tint to a perfect lighting setting.
By the way what preset were you using for that footage? The Letus lens may have tweaked the settings, but it seemed to handle the foam lighting very well and conveyed a sense of detail in that area also and on the waves. Thanks.

Last edited by Bill Thesken; August 10th, 2008 at 02:07 AM.
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