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Old November 22nd, 2010, 10:25 AM   #1
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Concert white balance

Hi!

I'm filming a concert this weekend and what got me thinking is white balance. There are going to be all sorts of lights. Blue, red, green, you name it. And not much white. How do I set this thing up? On what do I do my white balance??
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 02:02 PM   #2
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Most indoor concert halls use 3200k balanced instruments. Colors will change but setting your camera to 3200k will be the best place to start in my experience.

The main time when 3200k does not work as well is when your only have spot lights which are often closer to 5600k in normal situations.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 02:53 PM   #3
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Arrange to meet the lighting tech there when you are setting up and ask him to bring all the "white" stage lights up to 100% (lights without gels on them). Then take a white balance reading. As Tim noted, most concert halls have lights that are close to 3200K but I have been in some that end up closer to 4200K (weird mixture of lights).

If you can't get a reading ahead of time I would also recommend setting to 3200K and hopefully you'll have something white in one of the shots where it looks like they are not using gelled lights. Then you can get a good fix on white balancing in post.

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Old November 22nd, 2010, 04:50 PM   #4
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The lights are mostly spot lights. You know the aluminum tube like lights. God knows what color temperature they are. Probably closer to 2800K then to 4200K. I don't know. They looked quite red-ish to me... So what you are suggesting is that I (I will be there prior to the concert on the tone rehearsal - or how do you say this in english?:)) remove all or most the gels and do a white balance and then put the gels back on? But I cant turn the camera off then before I start shooting or the white balance will be lost... Damm. I really have to think this trough:) I'll have 4 or 5 cameras there!:)
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 04:56 PM   #5
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Just set them to INDOOR or TUNGSTEN or 3200, whichever your cams have as indoor default, and forget it. The colored lights are supposed to look colored.

I don't know what cams you have but none I've ever had lose the WB setting when you turn them off.

Whatever you do, don't use AUTO.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 05:08 PM   #6
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Yeah. I'll measure the light temp with a 7D so that way I'll now for sure what temp they are... Or I'll just use the 3200 setting. I'll be shooting with four different cams or five:) HPX171, HM700, HM100, FX1 and XHA1 :) It's gonna be a joy doing CC in post!!:)
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 05:14 PM   #7
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I agree with the others and have shot concerts and ice shows. Just balance backstage with your camera light which will give you about 3200 and try to get them to bring up their brightest setting they will use during the sound check and set your iris with just a tad of zebra showing at 70%. Resist the urge to adjust your exposure during the shoot too much because the climactic parts of the show tend to get real bright and that is the stuff you DO NOT want overexposed or with an obvious iris correction.

Make sure the automatic gain is off.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 05:21 PM   #8
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Your camera retain the white balance settings when they are turned off.

Best practice is to attend the dress rehearsal, show up early and have them put the spots on without any gels. Spot people refer to it as white light in the US.

Then do a white balance using one of the video cameras. I would not use the 7D as still white balance seems to be different from a number point of view.

If your WB is close to 3200k I would set all of the cameras to straight 3200k since you will have gymnastics in post anyway!

By going to the rehearsal maybe you can ask the lighting folks to calm the red down (seems like everybody want to use red and it looks horrible for video) and ask to use more skin tone friendly gels on the spots.

Often times this is a topic that nobody thinks of and they are happy to "do it your way". Also ask if you can get more fill lighting as it will improve the video image as well.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 06:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
I would not use the 7D as still white balance seems to be different from a number point of view.
Really? Didn't know that... Are you sure?

Anyway, I was thinking of adding a 1 or 2 soft banks to bring up the base lighting but I don't want to roughing the atmosphere for the visitors. It's a small rock/metal club so the atmosphere is gonna have to remain moody and dark...and red and green and yellow and...:) What I'm worried about is the dynamic range of the HM100. It's a 1/4 ccd consumer-ish cam definitely not meant for high contrast lighting...
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 06:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kilderry View Post
I agree with the others and have shot concerts and ice shows. Just balance backstage with your camera light which will give you about 3200 and try to get them to bring up their brightest setting they will use during the sound check and set your iris with just a tad of zebra showing at 70%. Resist the urge to adjust your exposure during the shoot too much because the climactic parts of the show tend to get real bright and that is the stuff you DO NOT want overexposed or with an obvious iris correction.

Make sure the automatic gain is off.
Oh don't worry I never shoot with auto gain or anything auto for that matter:) There aren't going to be any climactic parts either. Just a small privet-ish rock concert. As with 70% IRE, yeah it's how I usually light skin tones but here I'll probably be happy with anything not looking like mud:)
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 10:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanjin Svajger View Post
Really? Didn't know that... Are you sure?
Two things:

To take a WB reading with a still camera you need to actually take a photo or dial it in yourself. The kelvin number is not shown, just the colors change so you would not be able to know the actual number.

When I shoot tungsten with my 5D & 7D when I get into Lightroom the kelvin number is often under 3000k for the proper white balance as well.

I would rather see a true video camera's WB than a still camera's for a video shoot.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 05:33 AM   #12
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Hm... I'll consider this!

Ok. Thank you all for helping!
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 09:52 AM   #13
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I always set to 3200K (Tungsten) however as mentioned ask the lighting tech to switch on white lights for the recording. I filmed a concert last month which had a lot of red lights going and made skin tones look horrible on TV I had to manually grade WB in almost every scene in post.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 08:33 AM   #14
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Lighting technicians at concerts who never do film or video are usually not aware of the concept of "color temperature". They just throw in what looks good to the naked eye. They love instant changes from all halogen with red gels to their brand-new LED lights turned to maximum blue. 10K color temp difference from one song to the other - hurray!

In my experience, anything from 3200K to 5600K can work when you film a concert (mostly 3200K though). Nobody expects a neutral look, so a lot of colors is fine - you just have to be consistent. If the lighting guy doesn't own a lot of modern LED lights, you are perfectly right with the 3200K preset. When there's lot of LED lights, you might consider going a little higher, but even then you can stick with your 3200K preset. There will be halogen lights present in any case, so the 3200K is not wrong.
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