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same boreing look


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#1 jed read

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 09:20 PM

Hey i am 13 and have been into cinematography for a couple of years, and i love it soo much!! but i got one problem, I always got the same look. It's a bit hard to explain. I am getting some small flood lights soon, and i think that could give it a better effect, when i use them. Yea so is there ways to change the look with just natural light? I think I heard of some pale blue card to give the skin warmer tones, what is it and does any one know where to get one. :D

Edited by jed read, 17 April 2008 - 09:21 PM.

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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 10:04 PM

If you're working on video, the blue cards would be tricking the camera while you're white balancing. it's fine to do that, though a lot of color manipulation is availible in post. Most, as far as I know, prosumer level NLEs (FCP/Premier and or Vegas) all offer some color corrrectoin where you can change tones to your heart's content.
Natural light is natural light, you can modify it with silks and flags to create light and shadow with it. You can bounce it with bound bard, or mirrrors, or beadboard to give it different qualities, just the same as you will be working with your flood lights (though they will have a different, and harsher look, generally speaking). Pick up a good book on cinematography, something like Cinematography by Blair Brown, it'll give you some good ideas as to what you can do, ya know? And don't forget, practice makes perfect, so just keep shooting and shooting, and remembering what you're doing and what look you're getting. I am constantly surprised by the results I sometimes just "get lucky," with (like a perfect lamp shade giving a scene a nice golden tone).
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 10:57 PM

I have a way to do trick white balances on the cheap. Go to a paint store and pick up a selection of paint cards. Most of what you want will be slightly off white, but feel free to experiment with others. White balancing to a slightly blue card will slightly warm up the look. The look will be cooler if you balance to something slightly warm, like a cream.

Through some simple testing, you can arrive at a few specific cards you like to use. Then, I suggest getting a bunch of the ones you like and just stick them in a drawer so you have them.
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 11:01 PM

. . . after working at home depot in the paint department, I never want to see those cards again! . . . though, Mr. Keth, is correct, they are a cost effective and fun way to fool the camera. . . or an amazing alternative to actually painting a room. . .hmm...
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#5 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 11:54 PM

I have a way to do trick white balances on the cheap. Go to a paint store and pick up a selection of paint cards. Most of what you want will be slightly off white, but feel free to experiment with others. White balancing to a slightly blue card will slightly warm up the look. The look will be cooler if you balance to something slightly warm, like a cream.

Through some simple testing, you can arrive at a few specific cards you like to use. Then, I suggest getting a bunch of the ones you like and just stick them in a drawer so you have them.



I've been leery of doing this and committing to a specific off-white balance on a shoot, although I'm going to experiment more.

Have you ever wished that you had white balanced normally instead of using an off white (in either direction) card?

Although of course I suppose that if you can color correct a poor "normal" white balance, or a shot that wasn't even
white balanced properly, say running outside in the daytime without resetting a 3200K white balance, then you probably could color correct for an off white balance if you changed your mind?
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#6 jed read

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 05:02 AM

thanks alot, now time to go to the paint shop and thanks alot for that tip with the lamp and lamp shade
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 05:05 AM

The lamp-shade was just a bit of luck on a location; but you can do a lot with a china ball, available at any Ikea or home decoration store.
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#8 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 08:34 AM

I think I heard of some pale blue card to give the skin warmer tones, what is it and does any one know where to get one. :D



You can use a 1/4 CTB lighting gel held in front of lens during the white balance from the white card for a similar effect. You can also go even stronger by doubling it up or using 1/2 CTB.
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#9 Jim Keller

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 03:05 PM

Go to a paint store and pick up a selection of paint cards. Most of what you want will be slightly off white, but feel free to experiment with others.


For a more severe effect, I've also had good luck using pastel copy paper (available at most office and art supply stores).

That said, with the newer versions of Final Cut Pro capable of doing an excellent job color correcting, I no longer bother.
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#10 Michael Nash

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 03:55 PM

Have you ever wished that you had white balanced normally instead of using an off white (in either direction) card?


The problem with "creative white balancing" like this is that it's really impossible to do fine color correction in the field. You can bias your image one way or the other as a start, but don't expect to get it exactly right in the field.

One thing that happens with this kind of white balancing is that while it pushes the red and blue channels up and down to warm/cool the image, it can make subtle differences in the green channel more apparent. For example, biasing the image warmer with CTB can end making the image too yellow for what you want, rather than orange, depending on the scene. The heavier the bias the heavier the error in subtle color rendition.

That said, I use a swatch book all the time. I just try to be conservative with it.
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#11 Zac Halberd

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 05:21 AM

Is it just me, or is it kinda cool seeing a 13 year old on this website asking legit questions about lighting? A decade ago, and this would have been a bit rare. Shooting is becoming accessible to everyone. Just my two cents.
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#12 catherine lutes

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 12:26 PM

white balance is a great way to play around with the image and to learn basic colour lessons. Try white balancing off any colour just to see the effect. I also stick to the swatch book, but I have in a pinch white balanced to the sky to get a warmer look in the field - although obviously results vary with this trick.
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#13 Drew Ott

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 10:21 PM

Is it just me, or is it kinda cool seeing a 13 year old on this website asking legit questions about lighting? A decade ago, and this would have been a bit rare. Shooting is becoming accessible to everyone. Just my two cents.


Yeah, the internet is a fantastic thing for filmmakers.

I was his age just a couple years ago, and forums like this have been my main source of film education.

Keep learning and shoot all you can. Good luck.
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#14 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 11:23 PM

The problem with "creative white balancing" like this is that it's really impossible to do fine color correction in the field. You can bias your image one way or the other as a start, but don't expect to get it exactly right in the field.

One thing that happens with this kind of white balancing is that while it pushes the red and blue channels up and down to warm/cool the image, it can make subtle differences in the green channel more apparent. For example, biasing the image warmer with CTB can end making the image too yellow for what you want, rather than orange, depending on the scene. The heavier the bias the heavier the error in subtle color rendition.

That said, I use a swatch book all the time. I just try to be conservative with it.



I understand in general but perhaps not exactly. Is white balancing with some license in the field inherently a good way to get a look closer to what you want
or do you use often a swatch book because of the demands of the production schedule ?

In an ideal situation, would it be better to white balance as normally and accurately as possible if you have all the time you need to adjust colors in post?
Therefore, if you have limited time to play with colors in post, is starting the color of the picture in a certain direction right from the set, by white balancing
to a chosen off-white subject, a solution of efficiency to get a jump start on a customized look that you wouldn't have time to do entirely in post but could tweak if you came in with that look already to some degree in the image?
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