Jump to content




Photo

Outdoor White balance and day time temperature on location


  • Please log in to reply
27 replies to this topic

#1 Duca Simon Luchini

Duca Simon Luchini
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 74 posts
  • Director

Posted 29 September 2015 - 03:03 AM

Hallo everybody,

I'd like to know some more about white balance in Outdoor shooting.

I'm not sure about a very common argument...: when we make a MANUAL white balance (day time outdoor location) on a white paper hit by light source (Sun) we catch (measure) the right sun light temperature in that moment - i.e. the white balance control of our Camera acts  as a thermo colorimeter - OR measuring a manual White Balance means to reset a white value as if we were in the presence of a light 5.6 k?

I say that, because I read many post where Camera operator were NOT agree to make ALWAYS a manual White Balance... even if, I din't understand why...

 

Anyway, shortly, what we should be about white balance in a day time outdoor location, where is the sun the (main) light source?

 

Many thanks for a reply!


  • 0




#2 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4743 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 29 September 2015 - 06:24 AM

It's because "daylight" is a never a contrant colour temperature and the image can be mix of the direct light from the sun, the blue from the sky and whatever the clouds are giving. At either end of the day, sun light changes to a warmer colour, which is how the eye sees it. correcting the white balance the later case to match will upset the colour relationship beyween the sun and the skylight. so that this will bexome excessively blue. It's an interesting effect, but it's not natural.

 

DPs may also find that the "correct 5.6k" doesn't give the best skin tones, so use a manual setting that they feel gives the best result.

 

Note, you should change to your real name, it's a forum rule.


  • 0

#3 Duca Simon Luchini

Duca Simon Luchini
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 74 posts
  • Director

Posted 29 September 2015 - 08:08 AM

It's because "daylight" is a never a contrant colour temperature and the image can be mix of the direct light from the sun, the blue from the sky and whatever the clouds are giving. At either end of the day, sun light changes to a warmer colour, which is how the eye sees it. correcting the white balance the later case to match will upset the colour relationship beyween the sun and the skylight. so that this will bexome excessively blue. It's an interesting effect, but it's not natural.

 

DPs may also find that the "correct 5.6k" doesn't give the best skin tones, so use a manual setting that they feel gives the best result.

 

Note, you should change to your real name, it's a forum rule.

I Brian and thanks for your reply,

my questions are just little different: okay, daylight change constantly, but my question was essentially :

- when we make a MANUAL white balance (day time outdoor location) on a white paper hit by light source (Sun) we catch (measure) the right sun light temperature in that moment - i.e. the white balance control of our Camera acts  as a Thermocolorimeter?

Okay, you said rightly:  the color temperature during the day constantly changes, even if it changes very quickly only at dawn and dusk.

But anyway, I did not understand what you should do (as I learned more about what you should NOT do)... I mean, if you have to shot a Master shot and a Coverage of a scene, how do you dale white balance, maintaining a continuity of light and mood? Make a single unique white balance for all scene, OR you have to re-make a new white balance  when you realize that the temperature of the light has changed considerably? And if change white balance, what happen to your continuity of light and mood?

 

Many thanks for a reply!


  • 0

#4 Robin R Probyn

Robin R Probyn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1042 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Tokyo

Posted 29 September 2015 - 09:45 AM

Personally I think its best to keep the WB constant.or at least stick with the presets...I just keep to the presets .. unless there is some very obvious reason it should change in the scene.. but presuming its happening in real time.. in the one location.. then tweak it in post..( if you can shoot log/RAW all the better..) this will give you the best control .. 

 

Constantly changing the WB for every shot will make it a lot harder in post.. the Sony F5/55 in Cine EI mode actually locks you out of manual (for some reason called Auto!) WB and you can only use the presets,in the theory of making applying LUTS easier/better..

 

But many ways to skin a cat as they say.. others might say this is the worst way to go.. just how I work..   if you have absolutely zero post then maybe you want to WB more.. but there is virtually nothing shot now.. even news .. that some basic WB,contrast tweaks aren't done.. 


Edited by Robin R Probyn, 29 September 2015 - 09:46 AM.

  • 0

#5 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 18789 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 29 September 2015 - 09:48 AM

Duca, you need to contact Tim Tyler the site administrator so your User Name can be a first and last name.

White balance is a creative choice. Daylight is a mix of warm sunlight and cool skylight so whether you want to favor one or the other or shift everything warmer or colder is a choice.

As for manually white balancing, it depends on what you are trying to achieve creatively plus whether you plan on a final color-correction. Minor changes in natural daylight color are generally best left to post color-correction once you see how shots look edited next to each other. But certainly if you move from the sun to the shade and don't like how blue the faces have gone, you can change the color temperature setting or do a manual white balance.

The thing is that doing a manual white balance constantly may not necessarily make things match better than leaving it to one setting for a big chunk of the day.

Daylight changes and that's both a good thing and a bad thing. When it gets late in the day, the angle of the sun and the color difference between the sun and the shade will change beyond the ability of white balancing to keep the same look as earlier in the day.
  • 0

#6 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11229 posts
  • Other

Posted 29 September 2015 - 11:50 AM

Constantly changing white balance can create a situation where nothing is consistent with anything else. If you leave it alone, at least you end up with stuff that was shot at similar times of day matching.

 

P


  • 0

#7 Duca Simon Luchini

Duca Simon Luchini
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 74 posts
  • Director

Posted 30 September 2015 - 12:48 AM

Okay guys,

I contacted Tim and he should change my user name in Duca Simone Luchini (my extensive name). I really don't understand why it could be important, but rules are rules...

 

Turning back to this argument, maybe we can summarize it so:

 

1 - The scene  should always be conceived with a mood and a color palette and the color style chosen should be guide the Camera setting (White balance, Colour filters) and Lighting (Colour Filter). 

In outdoor scenes this is complicated cause sun temperature changes and is a mixture from a direct sun light and reflected light from sky ( and clouds ...) .

 

2 - Instead, if the Director and/or DP don't have a precise idea of the color and mood of the scene (newbie, low budget) or if the Production company want to give a color dominance and mood in post production (by Colorist),  it would be advisable to make a single white balance to have a constant and neutral mood and lighting approach (no color filters).

 

Anyway, for me for me still remains unclear the role of color meter... I mean: you should make a manual white balance filming a white paper

OR

you can measure color temperature and give to Camera this Kelvin value measured with color meter. I don't understand if it is the same thing. If I make a manual white balance with my Pana 151, I can not see the value in Kelvin... but maybe somebody could try to see if , with a color meter and with a Camera which displays Kelvin value, the manual white balance Kelvin Value is the same in both measurements.


  • 0

#8 Satsuki Murashige

Satsuki Murashige
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3081 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco, CA

Posted 30 September 2015 - 03:06 AM

Full names are important because it encourages everyone contributing to be on their best behavior and to be accountable for their words and actions. Online communities that allow contributors to hide in anonymity usually have a bigger troll problem than we do... ;)

 

1. Correct.

2. Not exactly. In order for a scene to cut together properly, color and lighting should stay consistent. The best way to achieve this is to eliminate as many variables as possible. So as a general rule, you try to have within the scene consistent lighting units (not lighting the master with HMIs and then the CUs with Kinos or LEDs), consistent lenses and filtration (not shooting masters with Ultra Primes and CUs with Super Baltars), consistent camera settings including white balance, etc. This in turn makes the colorist's work much simpler as they can set a basic look for the scene from the master shot and then tweak for the coverage. But if for example you had used an HMI for your key light in the master and lit your CU with a 1x1 LitePanel, the color of the light and therefore the skintone would be slightly different. And if you had white balanced the camera for each source, then the color of the key would be similar but the color of the background would change and be significantly different. This becomes a much bigger issue when you are re-shooting or picking up a scene that was shot weeks or even months apart.

 

So this is where you would use a color meter. It is mainly used by the gaffer to check the difference of each individual light source so that they can be matched with gels. For example, HMI globes tend to change color as they age. So during prep the gaffer would check the color of each globe and assign certain gels to each lamp so that they all match in color. Also, some lights that have discontinuous spectrums like LEDs and sodium vapor cannot be matched to tungsten or daylight because they are simply missing certain colors.


  • 0

#9 Robin R Probyn

Robin R Probyn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1042 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Tokyo

Posted 30 September 2015 - 03:53 AM

"(not lighting the master with HMIs and then the CUs with Kinos or LEDs)"

 

Can you not do this..  so you would have to light the CU with smaller HMI,s than the big ones used in your master wide..  rather than say a Kino.. or Celeb ..  not trying to be picky.. and I know you are around drama shoots and Im not..  but surprised to read that..

 

Thanks

 


  • 0

#10 Satsuki Murashige

Satsuki Murashige
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3081 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco, CA

Posted 30 September 2015 - 04:40 AM

Hi Robin,

 

My intent was only to offer general rules of thumb for the OP. Obviously these guidelines get broken all the time by DPs who know what they're doing! But most that I've worked for are sticklers for matching like-sources for coverage. If the key in the master is a tungsten booklight, then you don't generally replace that with a 3200K Kino for a CU without a good reason (and really, you're probably already close to being lit with a light that soft anyway). There's a little more leeway with daylight, but there's no getting around an HMI source looking different from 5500K Kinos, or CTB on tungsten, LED, or remote phosphor. I think most would prefer to further soften the HMI with a frame and introduce a passive bounce fill instead of introducing a 1x1 Litepanel for example. If the shots have to intercut, why mix and match the key unless you absoutely have to? With a tungsten key, I feel it would be more common to introduce a Dedo or 1k zip or something small and still keep consistency.


  • 0

#11 Robin R Probyn

Robin R Probyn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1042 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Tokyo

Posted 30 September 2015 - 05:30 AM

Ok thanks.. sorry I didnt want to come over snarky in any way..  its totally my ignorance of large scale drama lighting.. I was genuinely surprised .. 

 

Makes sense ..thanks for the education sir.. 


Edited by Robin R Probyn, 30 September 2015 - 05:35 AM.

  • 0

#12 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 18789 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 30 September 2015 - 11:04 AM

White balancing in a camera changes the gains on red, green, and blue individually until white is rendered white. Just changing Kelvin manually adjusts the color along the warm-cold axis, not the magenta-green axis too unless you take a color meter reading of that and the camera has some sort of CC magenta-green input separate from Kelvin setting.
  • 0

#13 Duca Simon Luchini

Duca Simon Luchini
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 74 posts
  • Director

Posted 30 September 2015 - 12:17 PM

Interesting and exhaustive! B)

Many thanks!

 

P.s. I wrote Tim, I'm only waiting for variation... :)


  • 0

#14 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 18789 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 30 September 2015 - 12:27 PM

Judging by his Facebook posts, Tim is on a cross-country motorcycle trip so he might not respond right away...
  • 0

#15 Duca Simon Luchini

Duca Simon Luchini
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 74 posts
  • Director

Posted 30 September 2015 - 12:31 PM

Ah, ah... anyway this is not a big trouble! We can wait. :lol:


  • 0

#16 Satsuki Murashige

Satsuki Murashige
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3081 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco, CA

Posted 30 September 2015 - 01:34 PM

Ok thanks.. sorry I didnt want to come over snarky in any way..  its totally my ignorance of large scale drama lighting.. I was genuinely surprised .. 
 
Makes sense ..thanks for the education sir.. 

Not at all, I'm learning all the time as well! That's why we're all here, right?
  • 0

#17 Robin R Probyn

Robin R Probyn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1042 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Tokyo

Posted 30 September 2015 - 07:08 PM

Not at all, I'm learning all the time as well! That's why we're all here, right?

 

Indeed sir .. cheers !


  • 0

#18 Duca Simon Luchini

Duca Simon Luchini
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 74 posts
  • Director

Posted 01 October 2015 - 12:32 AM

Hi everybody, sorry if i came back to some topics of this thread, but thinking about your answers, I have arisen other doubts ...

 

When we make a White balance we simply remove every cast color ... shortly, we remove a colour dominance, to obtain a neutral color scene.

Instead, setting up a specific Kelvin value, means to give a dominance, i.e. means to give a specific color temperature to Camera. In Inside location, if we use 5.6 K lights and we give 5.6 K as white balance to our Camera (often 3.2k and 5.6 K are  presets available). to be sure to have color continuity (or consistence, as Satzuki said).

In outdoor scenes, where sun lighting change constantly, we should follow the same concept, i.e. trying to keep at the same color temperature between Camera and Sun. In many cases, if we add lights we should provide to match these lights with the sun color temperature to keep to have continuity in general lighting of the scene. So, as said Satzuki, Gaffer should measure the SUN color temperature and provide to add gel to match the color temp of additional outdoor light (normally 5.6K) with the actual sun color temperature. A very complex and hard job....

All I said is only to ave continuity in lighting.

Instead, ONLY IN OUTDOORS SCENE, OF COURSE, if we want to work with a specific color scheme, mood, suggested from screenplay, Director, and so on, we should modify in some way the variant that is not controllable, and that is the sun.

 

A classic example could be an outdoor scene where the actual sun is lighting a warm color but we want a cool color.

Another common example:Director wants e "green" mood for a specific outdoor scene. In these very common cases we can use additional outdoor lights with color filter to color lights as he want, but we can NOT apply a color filter to sun...!

So, I think, but I'm not sure... (this is a question): in this cases, the way to give to sun light a mood is to work with color balance in Camera, is using a specific Warm Card" with the green" mood chosen from Director? Or we have to apply a lens filters (but in this case, how we make white balance)? I mean, before you add a color filter to the lens, maybe I should take a neutral white balance (with pure white card)?

 

Last, but not least... in our discussion we can not also ignore the cases where you can not manage the lighting as in a set of fiction.

When we make Documentary, Reportage, Street Cinema (Cinema veritè, Live GOPRO or Drone Cinema...)  often, if not always, we have no control of lighting. In these cases, which is the best way to set up white balance?

 
And from this question also arises another question: when I turn on the Camera (and I have NOT and Automatic preset on , as a 3,2k or 5.6K) my Camera "catch" the real color temperature of the scene in that moment?
It could be great! I mean: every day we can meet e great "natural" lighting (indoor or outdoor it doesn't care) and would be great to catch this lighting "as it is at that time". And this is the same for Docs, Reportage, etc... you could always meet a situation with a great natural lighting, and this is the real mood of that scene in that moment! It is not something thought by Director or DP or Filmmaker...but it might work great! But how can we catch the real on location lighting mood? Surely, we have not to make a White Balance... but I'm afraid the Camera takes memory of the last white balance used setup... so, what we have to do to catch the "real light on location moment"?
 
Many thanks for a reply!
 
 

  • 0

#19 Robin R Probyn

Robin R Probyn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1042 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Tokyo

Posted 01 October 2015 - 01:44 AM

Duca

 

Im no expert when it comes to big lighting set ups.. but your really over thinking this WB thing.. what about in the film days.. daylight and tungsten.. that was it.. ! 

Some video camera,s have auto white tracing.. but like anything auto on a professional camera .. you only really need it when you have no choice.. post grading  these days is very cheap,quick and "easy"..  you can do it on just about any laptop.. in the back of a van.. 

 

Don't worry about WB so much.. you will have so much else to worry about ..  you don't have to be doing it in camera every 5 minutes..  just use the pre sets.. or do a WB when under unusual lighting.., if you don't like the color of that look. Sometimes the look of Sodium /or greenish fluorescent lights suits the mood..  why take the warm light out of a sunset.. etc

 

Just shoot and relax a bit :)


Edited by Robin R Probyn, 01 October 2015 - 01:50 AM.

  • 0

#20 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 18789 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 01 October 2015 - 10:09 AM

Duca, I think you're forgetting that outdoors unlike on a set the daylight is a mix of the color temperature of the sky and of the sun, and people will be in more of one or the other depending on their angle to the sun and whether they are in the shade, and the sun-shade difference gets worse in the early mornings and late afternoon. Yes, if you use an HMI to match the sun you should color meter the sun to know how much to warm it up and if you use the HMI to match the shadow fill from the sky, you may need to add blue to match though some of this can be done by eye.

But to some degree you can only spend so much time on all of this and you will have to fix some of this in the final color-correction.

Most cameras have a preset daylight color temp balance that works fine most of the time, particularly for documentary work.
  • 0


Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks

rebotnix Technologies

CineTape

Ritter Battery

Zylight

Visual Products

Glidecam

CineLab

Pro 8mm

Paralinx LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

The Slider

Tai Audio

Willys Widgets

Technodolly

Rig Wheels Passport

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Technodolly

rebotnix Technologies

Aerial Filmworks

CineLab

Tai Audio

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

CineTape

Abel Cine

Zylight

Rig Wheels Passport

The Slider

Willys Widgets

Ritter Battery

Visual Products

Pro 8mm