White Balance: What is it and why do I need it?
White balancing your camera before every shot can mean the difference between a great shot and a waste of time. So first of all:
What exactly is white balancing?
White balancing is a setting in the camera that makes subjects appear white. It may seem like an odd thing, but it makes the shot’s colors more realistic. Without white balancing, your shots may have green, blue, or orange tints to it that diminish the production value of your project.
What happens when you use white balance?
White balancing can be done one of two ways: AWB (automatic white balance) or manually.
AWB is simply a command for the camera that, while filling out the sight of the lens with white, tells the camera what white is. The camera doesn’t know what white is until you tell it what white is. However, AWB doesn’t always give the desired results. That’s where manual white balance comes into play.
Manual white balancing is a little more complicated. It’s important to understand the basics of lighting before you try to manually white balance your film. The camera understands things like color temperature, light sources, and Kelvin, but the operator should have a clear understanding to tell the camera what they want. Using a mixture of these settings can help to achieve the desired effect for you project and help to set moods.
Three things to remember about white balancing:
1) Automatic white balance is easier, but it isn’t always the best method.
2) White balancing is essentially telling the camera to treat any object with similar chrominance and luminance as the color white.
3) Keep in mind that where you’re shooting, what time of day, and the setting of your camera all come together to create the shot.
These are just the bare basics of white balancing. There is a whole world (and careers) just on lighting. Reading up on white balance on our site or photography can help you understand more about it, and help your projects be the best they can be.