View Full Version : white balance

Eddie Rex
08-07-2009, 01:52 AM
i've been working on some new films using a canon xm2, however i've not done a white balance during the whole production. i just forgot about it, which i know sounds a bit stupid.

is this a problem? or do some films not use a white balance?

08-07-2009, 10:43 AM
It will only be a problem if each scene shot has a different white balance.

How does your footage look to you?

Eddie Rex
08-07-2009, 03:48 PM
well i think its fine

08-08-2009, 12:20 PM
Then is seems you have answered your own questions.

Not setting the white balance on your camera wasn't a
problem. And some films (yours) don't use a white

If in the future you want to play around with the
white balance you can. Try setting the WB using
a light blue card or a grey card. Shoot a bit of a
scene with all three settings and see what you like

Eddie Rex
08-08-2009, 02:35 PM
well it looked fine to me, however i was interested in a second opinion.

i've done a WB before by holding a white card to camera in previous films and noticed you can create different effects with various colours. i just forgot all about it in the gatehouse movie.

2001 Productions
08-08-2009, 11:10 PM
What??? No! You totally have to white balance when shooting! You're not supposed to screw up the colors until you grade in post! What were you thinking???

BTW, I'm half drunk and totally kidding...or totally drunk and half kidding... :D

08-09-2009, 07:52 AM
This tutorial seems to pretty much explain the basics you need to know:

It's surprising how much you can improve things by some simple tweaks.

08-09-2009, 10:47 AM
Sorry Eddie. I didn't realize you were asking for a
second opinion. I thought you were asking if not
using the white balance would be a problem.
Obviously it wasn't a problem because you like the
way your footage looks.

The clip looks fine to me. It would be interesting to
see if it looked any better if you had used the white

To answer your question: "or do some films not use
a white balance?" I'm pretty sure some films are
made without using the white balance but I don't
have a list or any clips to prove it.

As you now know, sometimes not using it can be
fine - especially when using a consumer camera.
I've never used the XM2 but I know it's similar to
Canon's GL2. It has white balance presets to if you
forget to white balance the footage still looks good. I
know on all my cameras if I forget to set the white
balance, it stays set to whatever the previous setting
was. And it can really screw up the color.

08-10-2009, 12:22 AM
So, I'm the only one who's not a big fan of the horrible green tinge in the first interior shot?

To me, it does indeed look obvious that you forgot to white balance between scenes. But, if you're happy with that look, then that's your decision.


Eddie Rex
08-10-2009, 01:17 AM
i was looking at that website the other day and can see the difference.

i know the xm2 comes with an automatic white balance, but whether it works when using a manual exposure is something i am not sure about.

i shall put the green tinge down to experience.

10-08-2009, 04:01 AM
I wouldn't have noticed it if I wasn't looking for it, but the colours change from shot to shot slightly. For consistency its best to WB. I always do, its just my own opinion.

10-08-2009, 08:04 AM
I think the scene looks good. I can tell it wasn't white balanced now that you've pointed it out, but still looks good.

10-08-2009, 08:05 AM
What were you using for sound and lighting?

10-09-2009, 11:39 AM
I don't "White Balance" per se, I use the indoor and outdoor presets. I consider it analogous to using indoor and outdoor film. You would then gel your lights to get the colors you want in camera.

Film cameras don't have the option to set white balance other than choosing stock. By using this method, I don't ever forget to white balance with every setup as I use tungsten lights and the white point is simply always right with them on the preset.

If I go outside, the outdoor preset gets set and is always right (overcast days tend toward slightly blue).

I also always color correct and grade every shot anyway, so not having the oportunity to have white balance shift helps me start with a flat palette. I've found it also helps get rid of one of the many components of the "too digital" look.

I'm on an XL1s for reference... the XM series has the same presets.

Kevin Thomas
10-09-2009, 06:28 PM
Well the green cast from the fluorescent tubes in the kitchen scene is most obvious on the tee-shirt and the actor's complexion and the scene doesn't color match with the next scene where the whites are white.

The purpose behind white balancing is to remove the necessity of color grading that is usually part of film post production. With digital color grading now is a lot more accessible and to a degree easier but it is still more efficient to white balance while filming.

The kitchen scene with mixed lighting - daylight from the window and overhead fluorescent tube - is an ideal example of the video advantage gained by white balancing rather than gelling sources or filtering the lens.