Low pressure sodium lights emit two visually undifferentiable wavelengths, and are capable of rendering only one color: deep orange. You can't use gels to change their color because they emit only one; you can only add or subtract how much "ugly orange" you have. (Black body sources like incandescent lights and carbon arcs emit a broad spectrum of colors in a curve that is centered around their nominal color temperature; thus tungsten lamps' color temperature can be changed nicely with gels.) Every gel on a low pressure sodium light will work like an ND gel and will not alter color temperature. The same goes for filters, so I wouldn't advise using an 82 filter or whatever; it will just work like an ND filter. White balance is some sort of algorithm magic, so it might do some good, but it might result in something weird.
Newer streetlights (high pressure sodium) render color much better, but they are still not great. If you can use an area with these you'll be much better off. I think there's an article in AC where Rodrigo Prieto discusses how he dealt with street lights when shooting 8 Mile, but I haven't read that article, and I'm not sure if he was dealing with low pressure sodium, high pressure sodium, or mercury vapor. For what it's worth, I've noticed that the EX1 is good with discharge lamps, but I doubt anything can make low pressure sodium look good.
David's one of the most knowledgeable people on this board and I would take his advice. Find a white balance (maybe around 2700º) that looks okay and use your scene files to decrease saturation if that helps. Post work can change the tint of your footage but it can't introduce colors that were never there. Shoot some test footage to make sure this doesn't look terrible or introduce lots of video noise; the lower your WB the noisier your footage will generally be. If you plan to light your wide shots, use tungsten lights with gels of your choosing to get a similar looking color temperature, or dim your tungsten lights until they look more orange.
For close ups, you can flag off the discharge lamps and use softer, prettier colors on your talent. Maybe use 1/2 CTS or something. Just test to make sure everything matches okay and nothing gets too noisy.
Edited by Matthew Wauhkonen, 17 June 2009 - 07:20 PM.