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Old December 4th, 2008, 10:04 PM   #1
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Stage lighting fakes eye but not camera?

Theoretical questions here:

Assume the following conditions: Multiple lights, gels, or filters, spot lighting, typical theatre lighting.

-Assume either- preset white balance at 3200k or manual white balance to something on stage the is closest to white,,,,,spot light on a card etc...

#1- If the lamps are not the same color temp. will it affect what the eye sees? Can a red dress look like purple for instance to the human eye if the lamps are cooler than 3200k?

#2- Can the same conditions affect the camera? Will what looks like red to the eye possibly be recorded as purple on tape?
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Old December 4th, 2008, 10:50 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by David Morgan View Post
Theoretical questions here:

Assume the following conditions: Multiple lights, gels, or filters, spot lighting, typical theatre lighting.

-Assume either- preset white balance at 3200k or manual white balance to something on stage the is closest to white,,,,,spot light on a card etc...

#1- If the lamps are not the same color temp. will it affect what the eye sees? Can a red dress look like purple for instance to the human eye if the lamps are cooler than 3200k?

#2- Can the same conditions affect the camera? Will what looks like red to the eye possibly be recorded as purple on tape?
I was shooting in a night club and there was a red sign that was purple in the viewfinder. Fortunatly, I was shooting with a V1 and they have a clever WB setting where you can roll through something like 15 steps of daylight white balance and I was able to find one setting that looked perfect for the lighting conditions.
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Old December 4th, 2008, 11:26 PM   #3
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The simple answers are #1 - yes and #2 - yes
Typically, our eyes can judge red from blue from yellow, etc. , under different color temp. lighting.However shades of each color, therefore accuracy, are not as easy.Throw in different varying color temp. and our eyes( actually our brain) may muck things up.
Theater lighting is typically designed for the human eye/brain and our cameras just can't easily replicate it.
You may find that white balancing preshow when the white spots only are on , is the best you can do.The shows lighting will likely be designed around that representing natural skin tone.You may have to color correct in post certain scenes if it is a priority to your client.eg. Wizard of Oz and Dorothy's shoes are not ruby red.
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Old December 5th, 2008, 10:20 AM   #4
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yes, some of the venue's I've been in are in questionable shape. Who knows what the condition of the spotlight lamp is or what temp it is?
Even when I've tried to WB with a white reflector and the spot, I've gotten unpredictable results. Lately I've locked off the camera preset at "indoor" and gone with that. No worse than trying to customize the WB.
One time, a dancer was wearing a red top and when I reviewed the tape, it was way into the purple spectrum, which hints of blue....somewhere...... but I couldn't see it when taping.

Canon XH-A1
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Old December 5th, 2008, 10:24 AM   #5
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Greg,
what happened to the rest of ur color balance when u found a match with the sign?
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Old December 5th, 2008, 06:09 PM   #6
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Greg,
what happened to the rest of ur color balance when u found a match with the sign?
It looked good. At least it very closely matched what my eyeballs were telling my brain. The client was happy, too.
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Old December 6th, 2008, 05:42 PM   #7
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The brain tries to white balance what it sees as real. That's why photos and videos of stage production seem to have so much more color than one remembers from the live performance. Apparently the brain does not see the reproduction as something that should be white balanced.

Similarly, hard shadows often don't work on film. In 2D, the brain sees the line as a break, a division, that is not experienced in direct viewing in the real world.

Designing what looks good on screen is designing around these perception truisms, even if we are not directly aware of why.
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