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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old February 6th, 2010, 09:15 PM   #16
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Erik:

You need to study up on color correction for your NLE.

The issues you talk about are very basic elements you should have learned for your NLEs color correction (at least in Sony Vegas Pro).
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Old February 6th, 2010, 09:19 PM   #17
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Erik, Travis is one of the leading videographers in the business. His work is masterful. I'm sure he never says "good enough". His voice is also the voice of a great deal of experience with weddings. A reception is fast paced and full of unexpected surprises. To do your best, your attention belongs on the things that are happening. Some of the best "catches" happen in the blink of an eye. If you're wandering around futzing with WB presets you will miss some of the spontaneous good stuff that can bring your production value up a great deal.

The problem that you mentioned with the table cloth and the candle is a typical one in post if you are using only the primary color corrector. Although very useful, the primary color corrector alone is a bit of a sledge hammer. With the secondary color corrector, you can select and adjust only one color without affecting any other color. Aside from providing latitude with color correction, it can also be used to make a selected color pop a bit.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 09:28 PM   #18
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Thanks for your suggestions. Just want to clarify, I'm not trying to suggest I don't know how to deal with these issues, just that it's better to avoid them. I'm definitely not intending to suggest that Travis would say, good enough, just that in my experience color correcting in camera leads to a better result, and in less time.

I don't think preparing your camera and planning for a shot should necessarily be called "futzing." I'd rather call it "best practice."

I agree with most everything in this thread, just wanted to add some thoughts. It seems like a lot of what I've put in my posts hasn't been read, as the same points I've made are being repeated as if to contradict some of my other points. I know how to color correct any shot, like everyone on this forum, but I'd rather not have to go to extreme lengths to rescue footage, especially since in camera WB is better IMO.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 03:28 AM   #19
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Hi Erik

I use tablecoths on a regular basis!! BUT with auto-white balance!! The HMC Panasonics have a rather good white balance in auto as long as you are within the WB range and I find that the results are way more consistent than using any presets or trying to do manuals while things are hapenning in quick sucession!! With my cams if the cast goes orange as it probably will with the venue's incandesant lighting, I simply move the camera close to a well lit white tablecloth or even the brides gown if it's white and the Auto WB corrects it within 20 seconds ...much easier than trying to correct casts in post!!

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Old February 8th, 2010, 08:48 AM   #20
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I never do manual white balancing on my cameras ever. I stopped that almost 2 years ago- I always use Kelvin to set the white balance. That way my cameras will match better.

In terms of reception shooting- dimmed incandescent lights can indeed be EXTREMELY warm. I turn the the Kelvin down as low as I can to cool the image- however this often still isn't enough. The key is to use your own supplemental lighting to get some normal skin tone back.

90% of reception venues will have less than ideal lighting which can lead to bad exposures and very warm white balance. It's critical to both know your camera inside and out and know how to utilize your own lighting- always off-camera, of course.
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Old February 8th, 2010, 09:17 AM   #21
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Glen, on the basis that you can teach an old dog new tricks, please enlighten me. Do you have some sort of meter which reads back colour temperature in degrees K? Perhaps I need to look at my old Sekonic L45 Studio meter and see if that is calibrated in K.
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Old February 8th, 2010, 09:27 AM   #22
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I shoot far more real estate jobs than wedding work but for both I'll dial in the WB on the Kelvin scale on either the 5d2 or my XLh1. Especially in real estate the lighting is so mixed, that you set WB on one thing and 5 feet away the color temp is very different. I've always just used my eye. Sometimes I have to tweak it in post, but I find it the best way to get the most reliable WB.
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Old February 8th, 2010, 12:27 PM   #23
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Quote:
Travis, that's not my experience at all. Let's say you are color correcting a shot, that you know was improperly white balanced. You're in a room lit with tungsten lighting, and you used the tungsten WB preset. There's a table with a white tablecloth. There are some people seated at the table. There's a centerpiece with candles. In the image, the candles appear pure white in their brightest points.

In your shot, the tablecloth is a tad yellow, so you drop your color corrector, tweak, and voila it's white. But, now the candles aren't white anymore, but are tinged blue. Skin tones do not look accurate. You haven't experienced this?

If you're prepared to sit there with each shot and play with multiple filters, you can "correct" any shot known to mankind. But while editing over 10 hours of footage? No thanks.

I'm not expert on how these filters work, but my eyes tell me that a properly white balanced shot looks awesome after a tweak in post, and an improperly white balanced one looks decent at best. Maybe I could say "good enough" but I have a hard time with those two words.
Please understand I'm not stating that manual WB is a bad thing, and if it works for you then that's cool. We just don't find it practical to constantly have to set the WB manually for each scene at a reception. For one thing, we're filming with 2-3 cameras at any given time. For another, there's so much going on at a reception that we really just don't want to mess with setting WB manually all the time (especially with unexpected schedule changes, events that are started early, events that we were not informed of, etc.).

As long as all of our cameras are set to the same preset and that preset is close to correct, we actually find it much easier to make adjustments in post (with a single filter by the way - not multiple filters). We don't have to 'sit there and play with each shot' either. Once you get a shot corrected you can just copy and paste the filter to other shots (5 second procedure) .. or if it's all part of the same clip you don't even have to do that.

Again, if manual WB setting works best for your style of shooting, then go with it. We just prefer to use a preset and then make adjustments in post. And once again, if a color adjustment in post to make a tablecloth white is going to make the candles bluish, then the exact same thing is going to happen if you manual WB at the event. That's just how color works. It's not like it works differently in the camera versus your editor. d;-)
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Old February 8th, 2010, 01:36 PM   #24
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it is possible that the skin tones were portrayed accurately - reception lighting is often warm.

It is also possible that the editor/colorist liked the warmer skin tones - many people do. That's why they sell warm cards.
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Old February 10th, 2010, 04:46 PM   #25
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IS it possible to get good colors with just on board lighting?

Just wondering if as far as white balancing if the onboard lighting helps, and it also seems like for trying to adjust 3 cameras white balance's on the fly is a bit crazy.

Thoughts?
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Old February 10th, 2010, 05:26 PM   #26
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On camera lighting at a reception that is dimly lit or has colored mood lighting can give a more natural look to subjects in the foreground while preserving the look of the room coloring in the background although the difference in lighting levels can be an exposure challenge. The dynamic range in some of the older ENG SD cameras did a great job with this. I have a friend who has a Sony DSR-390 that does a great job in lighting "challenged" receptions. Too bad HD is pushing it aside.
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Old February 10th, 2010, 05:38 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Elliott View Post
I never do manual white balancing on my cameras ever. I stopped that almost 2 years ago- I always use Kelvin to set the white balance. That way my cameras will match better.

In terms of reception shooting- dimmed incandescent lights can indeed be EXTREMELY warm. I turn the the Kelvin down as low as I can to cool the image- however this often still isn't enough. The key is to use your own supplemental lighting to get some normal skin tone back.

90% of reception venues will have less than ideal lighting which can lead to bad exposures and very warm white balance. It's critical to both know your camera inside and out and know how to utilize your own lighting- always off-camera, of course.

I totally agree with this (as if I'm the gospel). I got sick and tired of lighting problems at receptions and prayed to the Frezzi god, and out popped two dimable on camera lights. Now I just use my lighting to adjust my color. So my key is to have enough lighting to fix color easier. Quite often at receptions, we will go from room to room i.e. light source to different light source and if you stop for 10 secs to change the WB manually, you will miss shots.
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Old February 10th, 2010, 05:42 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silas Barker View Post
Just wondering if as far as white balancing if the onboard lighting helps, and it also seems like for trying to adjust 3 cameras white balance's on the fly is a bit crazy.

Thoughts?
One of the first things I learned many many years ago was to always WB under the conditions you would be shooting in, so if you use an on-board light then WB with it on.
I don't chase the WB most times-I WB at the beginning of the reception on a white table cloth, usuaully the cake table, using my on board light, set it and forget it unless there's something really strange going on with the "mood lighting" after they turn the lights down for dancing. In this area, the room lighing is generally "up" for introductions and toasts then turned down for dancing. SOmetimes strange things go on then but for the most part it simply gets darker with some spotlighting and special effect lighting from the DJ which is part of the "mood", my WB stays the same. I look to cover the event as it was and if the lighing makes 'em look like little green people, who am I to change it? That's what it was at the event so that's what it is on the video.
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Old February 10th, 2010, 06:24 PM   #29
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I have a WB card I keep with me and I manually WB every single shot. I habitually throw up the card and re-fix the balance any time I point in different directions. Facing away from windows, towards windows.... all that changes the color temp of the scene. My goal is to get as flat and even of color balance as possible. Then I can do less work in post with screwing around with the balance from shot to shot.
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