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Old May 8th, 2017, 10:30 AM   #1
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does ATW sometimes make sense?

Hi there,
I know there are some who steer clear of any auto function, and I can understand this. But after a shoot recently in which I had to move from outside to inside, and then inside to different colour temperatures, I was wondering whether assigning my fifth assignable button to ATW might, for circumstances like that where I'm not able to stop to take a white balance with a card, make sense.
Any thoughts on this?
I've never used the ATW feature so I don't even know this: once you push the ATW button, and it decides on the colour balance, do you then have to press the button again if you walk ten feet away and are in different lighting? When I just tested this in my office, it seemed to me that you do have to press the button each time you want a new white balance. So—and again, apologies in advance to the All-Manual people—is there no way, in uncontrolled situations like the one I found myself in the other day, to get the camera to stay in auto-white-balance mode?
Finally—I see that you can set the speed of the ATW in the menu.. scale of 1 to 5, not sure which is the fastest, but regardless, wouldn't everyone want the camera to adjust the white balance faster, rather than slower?
Thanks for any advice,
Malcolm (PXW-X200 user, btw)
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Old May 8th, 2017, 02:36 PM   #2
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Re: does ATW sometimes make sense?

I certainly use auto white balance at times, depending on the circumstances. You should be able to use one of your white balance selection switches on the camera instead of an assignable button.

Andrew
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Old May 8th, 2017, 04:05 PM   #3
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Re: does ATW sometimes make sense?

Thanks for the note Andrew. I've got my three white balance selection switches at the bottom side of my camera, and you're right, I could have one of them set for ATW. But I like to have the bottom switch set to 5600K, and reserve the other for setting with my white/warm card—this way I can get set for two interview locations ahead of time. Anyway, that's why I've got ATW set to one of my assignable buttons.
Since you've used this feature, can you or someone else please tell me:

- once you push the ATW button, and it decides on the colour balance, do you then have to press the button again if you walk ten feet away and are in different lighting?

and

- is there no way, in uncontrolled situations like the one I found myself in the other day, to get the camera to automatically keep correcting the white-balance? (again, I know this isn't ideal, but I'm talking about a situation where I have to follow-the-action, and can't control it)

and finally,

-re setting the speed of the ATW in the menu.. if you're going to use this automatic feature, wouldn't anyone want it to happen as the fast as possible? Why even have different speed settings?

Regards, Malcolm
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Old May 8th, 2017, 08:16 PM   #4
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Re: does ATW sometimes make sense?

The switch at the bottom should have three selection points, one for ATW and the other two for presets that you can set when doing a manual white balance (such as one for outdoors/sunlight and one for indoors/incandescent). The only button I push to set white balance is the one on the front face of the camera which then causes the camera to perform a white balance.

If you have the camera in ATW mode via that switch at the bottom, then it will continue to automatically adjust the white balance. There will always be a set delay before it decides that the lighting conditions really have changed (not just a momentary flash of a different light) and therefore adjusts the white balance / colour temperature that the camera is using. I've never adjusted that setting, having always used the default that the camera came with. (I have a PMW-300 K1)

Why would someone want a different sensitivity speed? Personal preference is my guess. A faster response would be handy if you are going from outside to indoors and you don't want people to notice any crossover time of weird colours. Hard to know for sure.

Andrew
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Old May 10th, 2017, 09:06 AM   #5
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Re: does ATW sometimes make sense?

thanks again, Andrew, for your advice on this.
I'm still a little confused, because when I walk around my house with my camera, having selected ATW, the white balance numbers don't seem to change in ways that I would have predicted... it seems to help if I keep pressing the button (in my case, assignable button 5).
Anyway, I hope I don't have to resort to it often, but if I'm in one of those situations where I can't stop the action and lighting conditions are all over the map, it's good to know that ATW should help.
Malcolm
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Old May 10th, 2017, 09:20 AM   #6
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Re: does ATW sometimes make sense?

Does ATW sometimes make sense? Never. Unless of course, quality images and consistent colors is not a concern. Somehow, in 37 years of shooting in some pretty fast, run & gun, situations I have never used it -- so clearly it is possible to avoid. White balancing properly shouldn't take more than 5 - 10 seconds.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 11:15 AM   #7
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Re: does ATW sometimes make sense?

I've never used it either Doug, and I hope I never have to. But yes, I was wondering if there might ever be a reason to. If action is ongoing, I guess I can look for something white in the vicinity and balance (while continuing to record, if only for the sake of audio), and then do the same thing if the action moves elsewhere. Is this what you would do? (I carry a white card around my neck, but I can't pull it off and ask someone to hold it while things are happening that I need to be recording, and not interrupting).
Regards, Malcolm
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Old May 10th, 2017, 12:31 PM   #8
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Re: does ATW sometimes make sense?

Malcom, yes, that's pretty much what I do. Most of the time there is something white around that I can grab a quick balance from (somebody's shirt is the most common). And I also carry a small white card in my back pocket or a folded up piece of copy paper. A few seconds getting a better white balance and locking it in can save hours of fixing stuff in post. It's not just that ATW won't be correct, it is more a problem of it fluctuating all the time.

Also, if you know in advance that you will be going back and forth between two lighting situations (such as indoors and outdoors) you can set your A and B memories in each location (even before shooting begins) and then all you have to do is flip a switch when you go back and forth. Many Sony cameras even have a function called Shockless White that will fade between the two when you flip the switch "live" so the transition is often seamless.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 12:38 PM   #9
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Re: does ATW sometimes make sense?

I use a expodisc for my whitebalance, it's in my shirtpocket all the time while I shoot, I also like to have my color right incamera.
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Old June 25th, 2017, 05:47 AM   #10
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Re: does ATW sometimes make sense?

The only time I use ATW is for breaking news when I am working live in that early dawn environment where color temp is changing every couple of minutes. If you can't control the environment or content, ATW can be your friend...but the biggest issue would be the damn color drift as the ATW traces continuously! If you can, give the scene a few seconds to settle on a color temp, and do so for each new shot, so at least you don't have mid scene color changing on a curve.

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