White balancing different from video? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > And Now, For Something Completely Different... > Still Crazy

Still Crazy
You say you want resolution? The whole world is watching these digicams.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old December 22nd, 2005, 02:06 AM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 36
White balancing different from video?

Perhaps someone can help me settle this ongoing debate with my business partner. I shoot video, and he shoots digital still photos with a Nikon D2H and Canon Mark II. Most of what we shoot is live stage productions, which means the lighting changes nearly every scene. Before each show, I have the light board operator bring up the most neutral white the plot has and I white balance off of that. Basically, in nearly every venue I've shot in the camera tells me that the white balance comes in at 3200K - 3400K, and that's based on the type of lights (lamps, actually) that most of the lighting instruments use. To date, all of my colors throughout the entire show are accurately reproduced when viewed later on a reference monitor.

When shooting stills of stage productions, my partner claims that it's best to white balance every time the lighting changes. If you have a scene that's predominately amber, you need to find (or place) pure white in the scene and white balance off of that. If the scene changes to pure dark red, you need to put a pure white source in the scene and white balance again (even though the source will have an obvious red cast).

I had always believed that white balancing tells the camera what white looks like for this type of lighting (sunlight, flourescent, halogen, tungsten, etc) , not what a white source looks like in a color-casted scene. In my belief, you'd only need to white balance again for a stage production if they suddenly switched to flourescent overheads or the roof peeled off and the scene was now lit by sunlight.

So who's correct, or are we both correct and digital photography is just different than digital video?

Any help in settling this debate is most welcome.
Brent Warwick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22nd, 2005, 04:17 AM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Billericay, England UK
Posts: 4,711
I'm with you Brent. The lighting director wants his stage to be awash with different colours to add impact and dynamic range, and this means locking down the camera's white balance so that red remains red, and blue remains blue.

If you're constantly white balancing you're trying to 'correct' the lighting director's intent, and he'll not be best pleased.

Set your camera for artifical light and forget it (and hope the roof doesn't blow off). You can always tweak in post, but generally stage plays are very 'artifical' anyway (manerisms, makeup etc) so colour balance will be the least of the actors' worries.

tom.
Tom Hardwick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22nd, 2005, 06:42 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 704
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Warwick
I had always believed that white balancing tells the camera what white looks like for this type of lighting (sunlight, flourescent, halogen, tungsten, etc) , not what a white source looks like in a color-casted scene. In my belief, you'd only need to white balance again for a stage production if they suddenly switched to flourescent overheads or the roof peeled off and the scene was now lit by sunlight.
You're right.
White balancing works in the same for digital still cameras as it does for video camras. You should be fine white balancing at the beginning of the show.

And while I commend your commitement to your work, I dont know that I'd be too worried about re-whitebalancing if the roof suddenly peeled off the building.
:)
__________________
Luis Caffesse
Pitch Productions
Austin, Texas
Luis Caffesse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22nd, 2005, 08:43 AM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 493
All of the stage lights are tungsten-based, so they require the tungsten white balance, even if they have colored gels on them. Your process is correct. 3200k-3400k seems like exactly what I would expect.
__________________
Owner/Operator, 727 Records
Co-Founder, Matter of Chance Productions
Blogger, Try Avoidance
Joshua Provost is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 23rd, 2005, 09:46 AM   #5
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 1,653
All of the above is correct except I would not recommend setting the camera to tungsten and shooting away. On almost every digital still camera I have used the tungsten setting still shows a warm green cast. Manual white balance is always best. Thy your own camera by standing someone in front of a bathroom mirror where they are directly in front of tungsten light and try both manual white and tungsten.

Also, all stage lighting is not tungsten.

Best Regards,

Steve
__________________
Steven Digges
Still learning twenty years later.
Steven Digges is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 25th, 2005, 12:43 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Posts: 219
An important thing to do when shooting performances of this type on digital still is to use RAW-format, as this enables you to correct shots that are a bit off. Stage lightning cn be confusing for the cameras computer, meaning that you get can get underexposure in certain cases
__________________
----------------------------
12c41

JOS. Svendsen
Jos Svendsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 25th, 2005, 01:03 PM   #7
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
Posts: 11,527
Well I shoot both DV and digital still photos of our performances. After lots of experimentation I've come to the conclusion that my results are most consistent if I set both cameras to the tungsten preset instead of manual white balance. Part of this has to do with the nature of our crew calls and the time we have in the theatre. It's hard to get a controlled situation where I can do a manual white balance. And the times that I've tried I haven't been particularly satisfied with the results.

Most of the time I'm going to want to tweak the color in post regardless. No matter how you white balance it's all relative, and your eye perceives color much differently than any digital camera.

A really tough situation which is nearly impossible to reconcile is the case of a Xenon or HMI follow spot used along with tungsten/halogen stage lights. You definitely need to mess with the colors in post in a situation like this. Another tough problem arises when using large screen HMI/Xenon video projections along with the halogen stage lights. If you balance for the stage lights then all the projections look very bluish. If you balance for the video then the lights look too warm. You need to just play with the colors in post to find some sort of compromise.
Boyd Ostroff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 30th, 2005, 06:46 AM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Belgium
Posts: 695
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua Provost
All of the stage lights are tungsten-based, so they require the tungsten white balance, even if they have colored gels on them. Your process is correct. 3200k-3400k seems like exactly what I would expect.
That is probably true for theatre shows.
Most TV-shows and Rock shows are now with moving lights.
To make sure the color range is the best for the moving lights on TV, more and more lightdirectors color correct with a cold CTC in front of their tungsten lights instead, if they are not already discharge bulbs.
In Belgium I know a light director who puts a warm filter in his followspots to make a 4000k while the cameras are white balanced on 5600. To give the faces on camera a 'golden' look.
Marc Colemont is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 21st, 2006, 06:00 PM   #9
Warden
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Clearwater, FL
Posts: 8,267
Shoot RAW, if time permits, WB is a characteristic of the jpeg file and is applied in camera during the conversion to jpeg. RAW will give you maximum flexibility and highest possible accuracy, in regards to WB.
__________________
Jeff Donald
Carpe Diem




Search DVinfo.net for quick answers | Where to Buy? From the best in the business: DVinfo.net sponsors
Jeff Donald is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > And Now, For Something Completely Different... > Still Crazy

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:29 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network