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Old May 5th, 2013, 03:05 PM   #1
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How important is white balance?

Hi all,

I am using a Canon T2i. I've always left white balance on auto. I've never ever manually set it, and am wondering how important it is? I adjust the ISO and aperture of my camera for each shot, to try to get the dot right in the middle of the +/- metering on my t2i. Sometimes its a little under or over. I then adjust that in post to try to match everything as best as possible.

But I also ask with the thought that I will be trying to get a BM Pocket Cinema camera in a few months, and wondering if using white balance with both cameras will allow for better use of footage between cameras when putting together the final film.

I read some people always use manual white balance, although I've yet to really figure out how to use it on my camera. I wish there was a single button that allowed me to use it but from what I can tell I have to navigate some menus to get to it. Perhaps I am just doing it wrong.

Also, although my HDMI is broken right now on my canon, I am hoping to get it replaced/fixed, and record to my Shuttle 2 with DNxHD 220. Will that make a difference for white balancing compared to the H264 footage?

Thank you.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 04:42 PM   #2
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Re: How important is white balance?

Besides focus, aperture & composition there are few things more important than white balancing a camera. Pros control their cameras not vice versa and trusting your camera to guess at ever changing "auto" white balance values is a bad idea. In my 30 years of experience I've probably only used auto white once or twice.

This may help; Understanding White Balance

White balance has no correlation to recording codecs via HDMI, SDI, etc. Your Shuttle 2 records whatever picture you send it - good or bad.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 06:50 PM   #3
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Re: How important is white balance?

Thank you for the info. Reading the tutorial. Good stuff. I think part of the problem is the only shoot I've been on for film is my kids class project and I didn't have the time to set everything up as we only had limited time to shoot and the teacher was in a mad rush. I chose to use my DSLR over her old tape XAH1 for the ease of pulling the filed off the card rather than capturing via firewire. Not sure it was the best choice tho.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 06:56 PM   #4
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Re: How important is white balance?

Kevin I also own the Canon XHA1 and a t4i. I frequently use the auto white balance on the XHA1 for run and gun type situations, but never in a controlled setting. In my opinion, the auto white balance on the t4i can not be trusted. In both situations you a are probably better off using one of the presets. This being said, I would always suggest a manual white balance if the situation allows, especially if you have to match cameras.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 07:29 PM   #5
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Re: How important is white balance?

I feel really burned by auto white balance when I cut together two shots that should have a matching background (usually white or off-white) and there is a color shift. Especially noticeable when doing a content edit on an interview.

If AWB starts to wander, and it sometimes does, it is very time-consuming to correct in post.

I frequently use white balance presets (Sunlight, Fluorescent, Tungsten, etc.) on a dSLR, though. They're very quick compared to manual WB, and are probably a good choice on your T2i. Camcorders usually have quicker manual WB...

It's really the same for exposure, when I find an ISO/gain and aperature for a scene, they tend to stay there unless the lighting changes.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 10:54 PM   #6
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Re: How important is white balance?

Good info. I've also used a few of the settings sometimes, but just don't know enough about white balance yet. Still reading. Thanks.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 06:30 AM   #7
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Re: How important is white balance?

The T2i doesn't have the same level of control as better Canons, though it does still have some control.

If you're ready for manual control of white balance, it becomes like anything else, you just have to remember to change it as your environment changes. Kind of a pain in a run and shoot situation like a wedding, but just keep it in mind.
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