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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old December 30th, 2003, 09:38 AM   #1
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white balance difference

Heard that when using auto white balance, what it got in VX2000/2100 and PD150/170 will be different -- PD150 gives a more pro look in fact. Also heard people complained that when using a few VX2000 shooting the same time, auto white balance of each camera is different!

Any comments?
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Old December 30th, 2003, 09:39 AM   #2
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Does these cameras (or any camera) has a say 12 steps dial to adjust white balance? (from indoor to outdoor etc.)
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Old December 30th, 2003, 09:50 AM   #3
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There isn't a "dial" like you describe, however if you go into the custom preset menu there's an item called WB Shift which defaults to the center positon. You can adjust this maybe 3 or 4 clicks (can't remember exactly) to either the right or left of center and that will shift whatever white balance you've already set towards either warm or cool.
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Old January 12th, 2004, 10:55 PM   #4
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The correct white balance is a very subjective value. If you are shooting a project for a customer...its his call, not many choices there. You may find some really neet colors on your set that will make it easy to experiment for the correct white balance by directing your lens at a very pastel light blue or in florescent lights a very pastel light green and check the results. I didnt think this up but instead read some forum that sent me to another web site etc...and infact the results were quite usefull...there are cards available for correcting white balance in different shooting situations, however my budget says substitute

hope this helps and good luck
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Old January 17th, 2004, 11:47 AM   #5
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Any camera that is in auto white balance mode will undoubtedly produce varying levels of color accuracy. Whether it is a VX2000, PD150, etc. Saying that a PD150's auto white balance mode is more pro, is simply ridiculous. There no such thing as a pro auto white balance. And the color reproduction capabilities on a PD150 should be identical to that of a VX2000. The variable in the equation is the AUTO MODE. Don't use auto for anything. That will always produce different and often innacurate results. For color accuracy, always MANUAL white balance the camera. And for multiple cameras, always white balance to the same card under the same light. OR, set the preset white balance to the appropriate white balance preset such as 3200 INDOOR or 5600 OUTDOOR. Then adjust the CUSTOM PRESET white balance shift to compensate for any warmer or cooler tones as Boyd suggests.
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Old January 19th, 2004, 08:13 PM   #6
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Thank you guys for your input :)

I'll keep this in mind -- don't be lazy, use manual mode!

Question: When shooting in environment that lights changes frequently (typical example is shooting rock concert, or a day time that frequently having clouds covered or uncovered the sun), how to handle it?
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Old January 19th, 2004, 09:20 PM   #7
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Kaif,

For the particular situations you mentioned, I would recommend that you use the same presets you would regardless of the changes. In other words, even though the lights have colored gel on them at the rock concert, they are all still (usually) Tungsten based. So even though they are flashing different colors, the base color (white) behind them is a 3200 indoor Tungsten color. Same with day. Even though the clouds may be coming and going, the overall color balance outdoor is going to remain 5600 daylight balanced.

The colors of life change in front of our eyes. Don't be afraid to let the same changes happen in front of your camera. As long as your preset is correct, the changes will only apear natural. Or course, for all situations, a manual white balance will give you a more controlled balance. But don't be afraid to preset and forget.
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Old January 20th, 2004, 06:52 AM   #8
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Thanks Jon for the input.

Ya, human's physical ability (or to say the nature) is just so amazing...it's too difficult to play god -- even only to make the eyes!
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Old February 24th, 2004, 04:11 PM   #9
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Hey you guys,
So are you saying the indoor outdoor presets for example on PD150 will work just fine in conditions where the light is changing every few moments. So on a sunny day with clouds moving over head instead of manualy white balancing every 2 minutes just go with the outdoor preset? Or if indoors as mentioned before like at a concert use the indoor preset. Should you only use the card and the manual white balance technique when shooting indoors where a constant light source never changes?
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Old February 24th, 2004, 04:23 PM   #10
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Todd,

It takes a bit of experience to know when to white balance and when not to. And everybody has differing opinions on the matter.

I'm of the opinion that preset white balances are usually the way to go for most applications. 90% of the shootingsituations you'll encounter fall under one of two white balance presets. Either indoor or outdoor, Tungsten or Daylight.

For an outdoor situation where the sun is moving from clear sky to cloudy sky and back again, yes, the outdoor preset is fine. In fact, I'd say it's the best choice. Better yet would be an 85 filter in front of the Tungsten preset, but that's the purist in me...

For an indoor concert, 100% yes for the Tungsten/indoor preset. Especially since concerts usually consist of many different colored lights flashing or changing and there's no way you can white balance to the source without the gel.

The only situation that I usually recommend using the manual white balance would be under flourescent or unique lighting. Maybe sodiums or mercurys.
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Old February 24th, 2004, 05:04 PM   #11
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Thanks Jon!
I'm outdoors and around water with my Pd150 90% of the time. I'm using a Tiffen Polorizer and the Tiffen 812. Do you see any problems with this combo of filters? Is white balancing going to be correct with these filters attached or do I need to take the 812 filter off to have a correct white balance?
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Old February 24th, 2004, 05:41 PM   #12
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I am sorry but I cannot agree that preset white balance is the way to go.

During the daylight hours, the color temperature of the light does change. So unless you want to show the change, manual white balance is necessary. Same if you go from direct sunlight to shadow.

Inside, the color temperature of the lights vary widely. The shot you took of the model under the PAR lighting is going to be different under a spotlight which might just be a HMI. Surprise!.
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Old February 24th, 2004, 06:06 PM   #13
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Oh Man!
I trying to figure this one out? So the way to go is to run around with a white card and manually white balance every few minutes during a sunny day with moving clouds over head! If I'm Run & Gun and the conditions are bright with clouds every few minutes will the outdoor preset be better than auto white balance function ? Or do I just run around with a white card all day.
Thanks Mike & Jon
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Old February 24th, 2004, 07:02 PM   #14
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Like I said, everybody has differing opinions on the matter. Usually the difference in opinion comes from training, experience and primary application. Most industrial videographers will swear by white balancing under each and every light they come in contact with. And plenty of wedding videographers run and gun with a preset.

So yeah, depends on what you're going for.

In my opinion, running around with a white card white balancing every time the clouds roll in or every time you move under a tree is follish and unnescesary. However, I'm also of the opinion that constant and vigilant white balancing is sterile and looks electronic. If the color under the trees or when the sun goes behind the clouds is a bit colder than under direct sunlight, then so be it. Guess what, the actual color actually is colder under the tree and when the sun is behind a cloud. If you white balance differently when the sun goes away, then you're trying to make it look the same, when it clearly isn't. If you're shooting under a grey sky on a gloomy New England day, should you white balance for true white and then slap a 812 filter in front of the lens? I wouldn't. I think trying to force a sterile out of a naturally grey day is a bit silly. This is of course my opinion though. And I know we all don't live in the same grey and gloomy area of the world.

I primarily work as a Director of Photography specializing in High Definition and also work as a Digital Imaging Technician. So my approach to color is drasticaly different than most of my video colleagues. I never white balance a camera. For two reasons. One, a 5600 white balance is "electronic" and "fake" for lack of a better way of putting it. So all color coming from the camera is "naturally" 3200. If I require a white balance different than 3200, then I rely on CC filters to achieve the proper balance. HD cameras (and most professional and broadcast) have CC filter wheels built into them. If I require a balance different than one the standard 4300 or 6300 filters on the internal wheel, then I move to an external filter. This is the same way film is shot and it's just the way I'm use to working. Second, as a D.I.T. I'm experience and skilled in coloring (or painting). If I want a color that is unique or sterile or balanced a particular way, then I will use the paintbox to color my image that way. Granted, this is a drasticly different way of working than most. And I'm well aware of the fact that few have the experience or training required to perform this type of image manipulation (which is why I get paid what I do). Not to mention that the small prosumer cameras like the PD150 don't offer this kind of control.

So maybe I'm not the best person to ask about color if you're a videographer.

I will say this, beware the 812 filter on skin tones. A proper white balance and exposure should yield a pleasant skin tone. Adding warmth to the image is dangerous in my opinion. I personally hate warm and red video. But you should beware of warmth primarily from a skin tone point of view simply because if the skin tone goes too red, you'll be screwed. If you try to scale back the red flesh tones in post during color correction, the color will turn green and then you'll really not be happy with your flesh tones!

And regardless of the theory and dogma, you do need to remove the 812 filter before you white balance your camera. White balancing with the 812 filter on the camera won't screw up your white balance, but it will zero out the color of the filter causing the filter to be pointless and have no effect. For the 812 to be effective, you need to white balance clean, and then add the filter. Also, auto white balance will often negate the effect of an 812 filter.

If I were running and gunning in an outdoor situation with a PD150, I would set the white balance to the outdoor 5600 preset and go.

Personally I prefer colder tones in exterior shots and I often shoot my outdoor scenes with a very blue and cold color balance. Videographers always ask if I forgot to white balance, filmmakers ask how I achieved such a cool look... It's all about perspective.

The bottom line is that everybody will have different color needs and everybody will have different ways of achieving thier desired color. There is no such thing as the right color. Only the color you desire.
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Old February 24th, 2004, 07:20 PM   #15
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Truth is, when it gets really busy, I use Auto on both my 150 and DSR-300. Works well most of the time. But if I'm doing multi-camera shoots they just have to be color balanced to the same standard or the intercut video is not pleasant.
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