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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old November 17th, 2008, 01:13 PM   #1
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Whats your White Balance technique

I've been learning up on White Balance and was wondering what your technique is with the XH-A1. When shooting videos with narrative, mood lighting and feelings do you still WB or do you adjust the WB via the Kelvin selector to achieve the desired look.
Very interested in this process, all input appreciated.
Thanks,
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Old November 17th, 2008, 03:28 PM   #2
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I try to white balance to the main light source (where my subject will be). Carry a white card, or a warm card if you prefer. In run-and-gun situations where I don't have the time to find something white/grey in the proper lighting, I'll go preset and 'ballpark' in the range I need to be.
When doing events with colored gels, I'll balance to my on-camera light, so that anyone 'in-sight' of my camera will appear to have natural flesh-tones.

There is a lot you can do in post, but you'll want to be in the same ballpark range of color temps (unless you're going for a specific look).
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Old November 17th, 2008, 04:31 PM   #3
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I use presets most of the time to keep the warmth I've added. If I white balance, then it'll go away (it did with my DSR500, and I'm assuming same thing happens with this camera, haven't tried). If I light for daylight, using mostly LEDs, HMIs and/or tungsten lights gelled with CTB, then I use the daylight preset. If I light tungsten, I use the tungsten preset.

If I'm shooting available light in a mixed light area or someplace with funny colored lights, I often white balance on the talent. Occasionally in a couple of places I shoot regularly I'll light daylight but tweak it down a little with the K selector because I can't light the big background entirely. I have a color temperature meter, but usually my eyeball is a close enough guess on what the background is, usually within a couple hundred K.

Speaking of color temperature meters, it is very annoying to me that the camera refuses to tell us what the temperature is. It has to read it when you white balance, and it's no great leap to display it on the screen as all bigger chip cameras do. I don't know why they won't do that. In my big camera days I never used the old color temperature meter because I could do a white balance and it would tell me what the reading was on the various lights around a location.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 04:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
Speaking of color temperature meters, it is very annoying to me that the camera refuses to tell us what the temperature is. It has to read it when you white balance, and it's no great leap to display it on the screen as all bigger chip cameras do. I don't know why they won't do that. In my big camera days I never used the old color temperature meter because I could do a white balance and it would tell me what the reading was on the various lights around a location.
It might be because the custom white balance does more than just change the temperature, such as modifying the tint or color matrix. My only guess is that they hide this information because they are afraid it would confuse the customer.
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Old November 25th, 2008, 01:17 PM   #5
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Gary cards are great.

Iíve been white balancing on grey cards or neutral gray more often these days with my XH-A1 and getting much better color. More accurate less green color cast. Just seems truer.
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Old November 26th, 2008, 08:02 AM   #6
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I do a lot of automotive videography and I cover indoor and outdoor product installations and auto events.

When outside, I'll find something that looks white to me (like someone's shirt, or a truck or car) and set my white balance to it. Depending on the time of day, and cloud cover, and lots of variables, I might white balance every 5 minutes.

When indoors, in my studio, I usually set the balance to "Indoors." I'll then adjust blue or red levels in the NLE to cool or warm up the shot.
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Old November 26th, 2008, 09:34 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replys everyone.

I was wondering what you guys do on a film set. I'm guessing you want to get accurate whites but you also have to worry about the scene's mood. For instance, lets say your filming a scene at sunset and you want to capture the warmth of the setting. I would guess you wouldn't white balance the camera because you would loose that warmth? I would assume you would maybe adjust the K until you get the right look?
Does this sound right?

Thanks.
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Old November 26th, 2008, 10:01 AM   #8
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I white balance with a 18% gray card using the camera default preset. Once that is done I switch to my preferred preset (Panalook2) for filming. I do this for outdoor or indoor/mixed lighting. If I'm in a hurry just to grab a quick shot, I use a white balance preset.

For a sunset, I would adjust the K like you said until it looked best.
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Old November 26th, 2008, 08:35 PM   #9
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Good Hint; Don't use WHITE shirts or even WHITE tableclothes as they may actually have BLUE thread intertwined which the eye can not discern but the electronics of the WB circuitry will.


Purchase a TRUE WHITE CARD and keep a distances of about 8 to 10 feet from the camera withthat card.
This allows the camera to take into account various color temperatures mixed in with your camera point light.
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Old November 28th, 2008, 03:55 AM   #10
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I set the cam for manual wb and use a photo grey card to white balance on. $5 at most camera stores, is all. Gives great results.
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Old November 28th, 2008, 06:12 AM   #11
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I always or almost use the manual kelvin selector.
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Old November 28th, 2008, 07:09 AM   #12
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i like to use both the A and B white balances, balancing A for sun and the B for shade (in the same environment) for quick changes if necessary...
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Old November 30th, 2008, 02:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Gold View Post
was wondering what you guys do on a film set.
Well, you won't find a film camera that will tell you the color temperature in a readout!!

I think you meant "narrative-style shoot" rather than literally shooting on film so I won't go into the much-more complicated process of the latter. For high-end digital acquisition I'll usually use the presets, but if shooting with two cameras I'll first make sure that the presets match closely enough, otherwise I'll look at white balancing as that will generally deliver a better result. If I have concerns about the footage being color-corrected properly I'll try to "bake in" the look, i.e. adjust the color temp to taste. Believe it or not many pro-level cameras do not have the ability to dial the color temp up and down like the little camcorders do (or if they do, it is buried in menus) so I sometimes use the tried-and-true cheating method by holding a piece of color correction gel in front of the lens while white balancing.

Bill mentions using a color temp meter (or using the camera to read color temps)--one aspect of color temperature that is not addressed by cameras that show kelvin temperature is the mired shift, which reads the magenta-green axis. This is also harder for the eye to judge accurately than the Kelvin scale (blue-orange axis, if you will). Fluorescents are notorious for going off in the mired shift, especially the dimmable type and it can be hard to see this happening, especially if you are using a not-so-reliable LCD to monitor the image. A color temp meter can tell you how many points of green or magenta are being seen as well as the Kelvin readout of a given light source, however the scale given for the appropriate correction has to be interpreted for video as it is tuned for film, which has a different response to the mired shift (it's much more sensitive).

With color correction being as robust and ubiquitous as it is these days it's not as much of a concern to nail the look on set any more, which is especially true with cameras like RED that capture the raw data.
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Old December 2nd, 2008, 01:16 AM   #14
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i just use AWB all the time...anything wrong with that? my footage always looks good to me...
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Old December 2nd, 2008, 07:46 AM   #15
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depends on what you are shooting. If it's run and gun, documentary style, in most cases that is fine (and sometimes the best way to do it, if you are moving through mixed light). If you are lighting to create a mood that needs to stay consistent throughout different shots, the camera may try to "erase" that mood (i.e. if you have lit the set warm or cool) and when cutting shots together, the walls may shift color etc.
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