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Old February 14th, 2007, 08:21 AM   #1
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White Balance

Hi
Is it advisable to use the white balance feature with the modern HDV Camcordrers or any camcorders for that matter? Because I found, generally, that using the auto feature gives very good results. What situations should you use the white balance?

Stelios
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Old February 14th, 2007, 08:55 AM   #2
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Under normal circumstances I ALWAYS use white balance. Other than maybe rapidly changing lighting conditions (live shots) I would never use anything automatic on my Z1U.

Auto settings are NO replacement for the videographer's skills... or your video will look like cousin Bill's home video!
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Old February 14th, 2007, 01:14 PM   #3
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This is an interesting one Stelios. I asked a friend of mine who's been a high end camerman for many years the same question the other day. I was astonished to hear him reply that he very rarely did them, but rather used the default on-camera settings. Personally, i always feel a certain peace of mind by doing a manual one, but obviously its not crucial to do so. Careful the "white" you balance against doesn't have a blue tinge to it like quite a lot of paper. I've found the 3 way CC tab in FCP is so good, that when i do mess up i can sort it out in the same time it takes to do a WB while shooting.
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Old February 14th, 2007, 02:44 PM   #4
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If white balance is set manually or to a preset, at least you can fairly easily color correct in post. If white balance is set to automatic, then you have the difficulty of what essentially amounts to hitting a moving target, if color correction in post is needed.
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Old February 14th, 2007, 04:31 PM   #5
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The white balance in a Canon XL H1 and some other Canon cameras is very good.

If you have uncontrolled lighting conditions, such as going in and out of green tinged lighting, the auto which balance can work very well.

If you can control your shots and you have only one color temperature of light, then you can manually white balance.

Of all of the automatic features on the XL H1, I find that this one works very well.
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Old February 14th, 2007, 04:41 PM   #6
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If I am outside in bright sunshine or a shaded area I allow the camera to do its own thing. Once inside, or in any area dominated by a large colored reflection surface (like a yellow wall) I will manual white balance.

I always manually white balance whenever I identify several strong light sources in an interior space.

One place where I have a problem is a theatrical event lit by 3200K stage lights which also has a close to 5000K Xenon powered follow spot. That is almost always a nightmare!
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Old February 14th, 2007, 06:09 PM   #7
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I concur with the majority of the posts here.

If you're SURE you're working with a single type of consistent lighting - all incandescent or all daylight - then the auto setting should work just fine.

But there are a lot of scenes where auto - particularly on "prosumer" level cameras just won't work. Particularly if you're camera is "seeking" the proper white balance between differently lit scenes.

For example, if you're shooing a football game and you want to follow someone from the field lighting into a scene at the snack shop where it's lit with awful green-spiking fluors.

I used to always re-white balance the snack shop shot.

Nowadays if I KNOW I'm going to edit it. I'll just pick a WB that works for the field and stay with it even tho I KNOW the scene in the snack shop will look green.

Why? Because I know that in post, I can sample the snack shop scene and color correct it - ONCE - and apply that to any scene where the snack shop shows up. I can even do a traveling matte of the window to the snack shop during the "walk up" and overlay that same "interior" color correction on the window.

For me, digital editing and digital post has changed my white balance thinking. I want the PRIMARY scene properly color balanced, and I want everything other than that to be "wrong" in exactly the same way, so once I have the correction to match the "wrong" shot against the "right shots" dialed in, I can just use a quick "paste attributes" function to correct all the bad stuff quickly in post.

With auto WB, things are constantly changing. And trying to correct that in post is a bunch of unnecessary WB keyframing I don't want to take the time to do.

My thinking, anyway. YMMV.
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Old February 14th, 2007, 07:41 PM   #8
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Thank you all for your valuable thoughts. For me, a beginner, any ideas are appreciated and this Forum is priceless for all the info you can get.

Best regards to all

Stelios
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