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Old July 14th, 2010, 12:56 PM   #1
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XH-A1 Auto White Balance Trustworthy?

Hi folks:

Quick question about the XH-A1's AWB feature -- is it trustworthy? I'm about to do a shoot with two XH-A1s and was wondering if the AWB is good enough for color consistency or if I need to manually white balance both cameras.

Thanks,
Norm
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Old July 14th, 2010, 01:53 PM   #2
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The professional thing to always do is to manually set the white balance. I NEVER use AWB, in fact I don't know anyone in the video business that does unless you absolutly had to for some strange reason.

I do not trust AWB especially using 2 different cameras, but that's my personal opinion.

Good Luck;)
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Old July 14th, 2010, 02:35 PM   #3
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Auto WB, like autofocus, will change as you shoot and can "hunt" at times. Even with matched cameras, when shooting two different camera angles, you are very likely to notice a difference in the auto WB decision when cutting between them. Much better with a manual balance, but even using one of the presets (the same one on both cameras) is better because it stays put. And if you don't like it you can tweak it in post - something that's difficult to do with the auto because it shifts from angle to angle.

Last edited by Colin McDonald; July 14th, 2010 at 03:29 PM. Reason: A bit in the middle disappeared - I put it back.
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Old July 14th, 2010, 06:45 PM   #4
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I find AWB to be entertaining in the variety of shifts it will do during different light conditions. Sometimes I use it because of this variation. For one camera shoots it can be useful and in general it does a fairly good job if your lighting conditions don't change during a shoot.
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Old July 14th, 2010, 09:18 PM   #5
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OK, thanks for all the replies so far. I assumed most everyone would recommend I manually set the white balance.

I'm going to be shooting a mixed martial arts (UFC) match. So please tell me if my plan is right.

I plan to have a helper hold a white card in the center of the ring. Then I'll white balance each camera from the apron of the ring. Then I'll move each camera to its respective position. Is that right?

Thanks,
Norm
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Old July 14th, 2010, 09:55 PM   #6
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I would position the cameras where they will be used and then set the white balance, you have to remember factors like light intensity and distance. You'd probably be ok but the best place to set all your settings is from the point where the camera will be used the most, zoom to the white card for WB if you have to.

I do TONS of MMA shooting, I am the production guy for the world famous Jacksons Mixed Martial arts here in Aluquerque, I also train there myself.

Here's some MMA related vids I've done.

YouTube - MMA Star "The Dean Of Mean" Keith Jardine Pistachio Commercial

YouTube - Team Jacksons 1st annual UNC "Ultimate Nugget Championship"

YouTube - Jacksons MMA Series - Live at the Hard Rock Albuquerque
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Old July 15th, 2010, 01:37 AM   #7
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The A1/S WB does a good job but not for mixed lighting when you change angles. The Expodisc is great for that eg: sunlight through the windows on beige walls.
Cheers.
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Old July 15th, 2010, 08:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny Winn View Post
I would position the cameras where they will be used and then set the white balance, you have to remember factors like light intensity and distance. You'd probably be ok but the best place to set all your settings is from the point where the camera will be used the most, zoom to the white card for WB if you have to.
Hey Danny,
I'd agree that would be the best way but what else can you do if the subject is too far away to zoom to a wb card? You have to get close enough to fill the frame with white right?
Also, when doing your wb, do you set your exposure to the white card or the subject?
I ask because I shoot a weekly church service that has a wall with various burnt orange variations....I've tried a couple different ways of white balancing but the XHA1 makes it a tan/brown color.
Thanks,
Randy

BTW I didn't mean to hi-jack with my personal issue

Last edited by G. Randy Brown; July 15th, 2010 at 09:26 AM. Reason: add
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Old July 15th, 2010, 08:22 AM   #9
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Thanks, Denny, for your advice. Do you think I could use the flat side of a white poster board from the drug store to white balance? That would give me a bigger target to zoom in on.
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Old July 15th, 2010, 11:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
The A1/S WB does a good job but not for mixed lighting when you change angles. The Expodisc is great for that eg: sunlight through the windows on beige walls.
Cheers.
May be a dumb question but what is the Expodisc Allan?

Never mind I found it...thanks

Last edited by G. Randy Brown; July 15th, 2010 at 01:01 PM. Reason: update
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Old July 15th, 2010, 11:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norm Kaiser View Post
Thanks, Denny, for your advice. Do you think I could use the flat side of a white poster board from the drug store to white balance? That would give me a bigger target to zoom in on.
Apparently Danny isn't available so If I may offer my 2 cents...yes Norm...any flat, white surface, just make sure it doesn't reflect when doing your white balance.

EDIT: some people like slightly off white cards for special effects also (slightly grey, blue etc). You may want to google "white balance"

Last edited by G. Randy Brown; July 15th, 2010 at 11:45 AM. Reason: add
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Old July 15th, 2010, 02:04 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by G. Randy Brown View Post
Hey Danny,
I'd agree that would be the best way but what else can you do if the subject is too far away to zoom to a wb card? You have to get close enough to fill the frame with white right?
Also, when doing your wb, do you set your exposure to the white card or the subject?
I ask because I shoot a weekly church service that has a wall with various burnt orange variations....I've tried a couple different ways of white balancing but the XHA1 makes it a tan/brown color.
Thanks,
Randy

BTW I didn't mean to hi-jack with my personal issue
Hey G. Randy Brown,

What I do when I know I'll be shooting some distance is just go to walmart and get one of those big white cardboard sheets that school kids use, they're only about a buck fifty and they roll up quite nicely (avoid wrinkles though). I also make sure that the entire face of it is facing the strongest light source, make sure it isnt facing backwards casting a shadow on the whole or part of it.

And yes you could set your exposure at this point too, however if you do it this way you should be able to mess with the exposre after the WB has been set and not have any problems.

If you still cant fit the whole frame with the cardboard then moving up till it is filled should cause no problems.

Not sure why you're getting a tan look though, would love to see a screen grab of that:)
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Old July 15th, 2010, 02:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norm Kaiser View Post
Thanks, Denny, for your advice. Do you think I could use the flat side of a white poster board from the drug store to white balance? That would give me a bigger target to zoom in on.

Yeah Norm, I use those all the time when I know I'll be a bit far away from the action.

Oh, you also might want to bump your shutter speed up a tiny bit to eliminate a bad motion blur during the fights, not so much that you get a stobing effect though. You may have to open the iris up one or two clicks to compensate for the faster shutter speed too, just not so much that you're getting white color burns.
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Old July 15th, 2010, 03:39 PM   #14
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Danny:

I was told by a couple other posters here that I should go with a shutter speed of no higher than 1/60 to avoid strobing from the lights. Would you agree with that?

Thanks,
Norm
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Old July 15th, 2010, 06:31 PM   #15
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Certainly no higher than 1/60 if you're shooting prop driven aircraft, the prop blades strobe.

At HARS we have a Lockheed Super Constellation with 4 big engines and the large strobing blades look terrible.

Cheers.
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