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Old October 23rd, 2016, 05:43 AM   #1
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Basic Colour Balancing Strategy and Tools

I have been shooting sport during day light hours. Generally, I'll flip the WB to the daylight preset and away I go. Looks good enough, client has never complained, and most of all, I have been happy with the colour balance.

However as the season has ended, I am doing bits and pieces with the view to expanding from sport.

When shooting indoors, and in a two camera set-up, I want to be able to confidently proceed with setting the WB consistently, and efficiently.

What tips/ tricks/tools/methods do you use on-set?

Are there "must haves" in your kit for getting white balance right?

I want to make sure I get skin tones right, especially. And I want to truly step up in the colour management of my images...

Any help/advice/suggestions always appreciated.

Cheers.
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Old October 23rd, 2016, 07:17 AM   #2
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Re: Basic Colour Balancing Strategy and Tools

Hard to go wrong with a set of Warm Cards from Doug Jensen's Vortex Media.

Absent that, fill the frame as fully as possible with the white balancing card, and angle it towards your primary source of light that will be falling on the subject.

Over time, you'll begin to see the different colors from practical lights in the frame, and figure out how to adapt or correct them. But as a baseline, the easiest way is to have your indoor set mostly if not entirely lit with lights you provide.
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Old October 23rd, 2016, 11:23 AM   #3
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Re: Basic Colour Balancing Strategy and Tools

Hard to go wrong with a set of Warm Cards from Doug Jensen's Vortex Media.
+1 on that.
There is also this:
ColorChecker Passport Video Test Target, Chips & Chart: X-Rite Photo & Video
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Old October 24th, 2016, 06:57 AM   #4
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Re: Basic Colour Balancing Strategy and Tools

Warm cards are good. If you want more specific control especially in post
the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport Video is very good
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...ort_video.html
It can do a complete color balance as you can set it manually using the vectorscope in post or automatically in DaVinci Resolve or FCPX with Color Finale Pro.

BandH Quick Look at it
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora...ecker-passport
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Old October 24th, 2016, 01:00 PM   #5
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Re: Basic Colour Balancing Strategy and Tools

Some good replies already in this thread. For some background info, check out Adam Wilt's 30-minute webinar video, Test Charts for Production. That provides helpful info, especially if you're working with multiple cameras, and even if you decide not to use charts.

Test Charts In Production
Test Charts for Production - Moviola

A follow-up web article with links, further thoughts, and errata:
Webinar: Test Charts for Production by Adam Wilt - ProVideo Coalition
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Old October 24th, 2016, 07:34 PM   #6
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Re: Basic Colour Balancing Strategy and Tools

Gents, thank you all for the links.

Lots of interesting reading/options. Appreciated.
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Old November 1st, 2016, 10:05 PM   #7
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Re: Basic Colour Balancing Strategy and Tools

Not sure if you edit and or color correct your own footage but I have great results by shooting a small mostly white but has a black rim white card that is made out of stretchy nylon, it looks like a miniature flex fill. The reverse side is 18% gray card. It gives you a great starting point on using a three way color corrector by merely eye dropping the white, black and gray for the mid tones. I have a set of the warm cards but found that I could get the exact same results in post, no need to slightly bias the cameras WB with the warm cards.

If you rarely edit your own footage, I have had editors tell me that they appreciate me shooting a bit of the white, black and gray cards at the head of each lighting setup. Just depends on their level of skill and the tools they use. I have done grading sessions with a professional colorist and they often just use their eyes and their very expensive calibrated monitor. When all you do is stare at skin tones and footage day in and day out, they get pretty good at knowing what to do just by instinct.
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Old November 5th, 2016, 08:44 PM   #8
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Re: Basic Colour Balancing Strategy and Tools

IMHO White balance means white balance. I have been manually white balancing with white for many years. If you want to warm it up or change it you can do it better in post with a properly balanced image than taking a chance manipulating it in camera.

If I have a known consistent source like my Lowell lights I set all cameras to 3200K and it works every time.

Daytime sunshine varies greatly from dawn to dusk. The 5600K standard is based on noon on a clear day. There are lots of variables so I manually balance off of white. I do not use the daylight setting.

As far as cards go Dan has it right. Recording known values like white, black, grey, and a grey scale is always a good thing to do. Those are the only cards I use.

My favorite weapons for white balance are industrial cloth. I have commercial cloth napkins for a small size and I have two heavy duty white table cloths I can use at distance like a podium from the back of the room. Before I got them they were bleached so many times I can assure you they are white. And, in the kit I can wrap gear in them ;-)

To me, it is like audio, on the set it is my goal to record the cleanest most accurate signal I can. Sweetening happens in post.

Kind Regards,

Steve
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