Why do you need to set the camcorder white balance?
Well… your eyes adjust automatically to the correct color but sometimes your camcorder… needs just a little bit of help!
Find out why below…!
Well… It's different things to different people. That may sound kind of weird… But it's true! You'll get a different answer as to what white is if you talk to a scientist and then talk to an artist or photographer.
A scientist... of course... Will tell you "black is not a color but white is a color".
He or she would tell you that white is a color because if you mix red, green and blue light you get white. Take them all away = black = no color! Physics… It's all about light rays!
An artist... on the other hand would say... "Black is a color and white is not ".
He or she would tell you that obviously if you look at something that is white… there is an absence of color! You can see that it's white = no color!… and black of course = a color… Just look at it…!
It's the color black !
Well… Hard argue with that…! So… Okay…
I'll try to stand aside from the debate between scientists and artists on if white and black are actually colors.
Fortunately for you… no matter where the colors are coming from … you can correct the color balance in your camcorder to accurately capture the fidelity of the colors in the scene. All you need to do is make sure the camera's color balance is correct and that is why the camcorder white balance correction is so important!
White balance is the adjustment on your camcorder that tells the camera what "true white" (the white you see) looks like.
Since white is the sum of all other colors (the physics definition) - if the camcorder knows what "true white" looks like it can then balance all the other colors correctly. Today most camcorders used by consumers have an auto–white balance feature built-in.
The camera automatically adjusts the color balance when you point and shoot. This automatic white balance does a pretty good job when the lighting is stable but in more difficult or changing lighting conditions it will leave something to be desired as far as color control. Sometimes, even with auto-white balance, the camera does not see the white in the scene correctly. This can create unsightly blue, orange, or even green color casts in your video.
The more expensive professional camcorders will have a manual camcorder white balance feature so that the camcorder can be set up to get an accurate color reproduction no matter what type of light you are shooting in.
To get the very best color control it is always preferable that you have a manual white balance feature on your camcorder.
If your camcorder has a manual white balance check then you should perform a check at the beginning of every shoot and also every time the lighting conditions change.
Be especially careful when you're moving between rooms that are lit by different types of lighting (with different color temperatures) ...
Or if you're shooting outdoors and then move indoors to shoot.
Remember… your eyes adjust to whatever kind of light there is and you see a perfect color balance.
Your camcorder doesn't do this and needs your help to
reproduce accurate colors and this can be done easily by using the camcorder white balance feature.
Here are some very basic steps when setting your camcorder white balance.
Of course, each camera is slightly different so refer to your instructions for the precise steps on your particular camera to set the camcorder white balance.
So… Here we go with the basic steps…
You're now ready to shoot your scene!
Make sure that if the lighting conditions change that you go back through the camcorder color balance procedure so the color in the video will be rendered correctly.
Need to see how it's done? Here's a nice video on setting a digital camera white balance manually by Marlene Hielema at ImageMaven... Enjoy...
You can actually become very creative in changing the color of your images by using the color balance adjustment. Hollywood movie makers have used this for years to create different moods and emotions in their films.
If you're using a manual color balance adjustment you can adjust it for a different light environment than the one you're shooting in and obtain different color values. For example, if you adjust the color balance for outdoors and shoot inside, your image will take on a blue cast. You can experiment with differing lighting situations and create different moods and atmospheres by changing the color cast of your video.
This can be a lot of fun and you can let your imagination and creativity run wild!
Just remember the camcorder doesn't always see colors like we do and we have to help it to see them correctly.
If you do your camcorder white balance adjustment correctly and do them every time you change lighting conditions you should always get the colors you want...
And that makes for a great video...!
Have fun...! Dan
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