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Balancing light/color is your friend!

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Deanna de Azevedo
Posts: 180
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(@deanna-de-azevedo)
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At some point in your journey of capturing videos for lecture, you'll want to know about BALANCING LIGHT/COLOR (generally) and WHITE BALANCE (specifically). Here's a visual — top left image, captured at night; bottom left image, capture during day:

White Balance Examples 2020 0922

 

Easy definition for balancing light/color?

Adjusting complementary colors relative to a reference point. That reference point can be a white sheet of paper (like the kind from Delta's Printshop), middle grey (a.k.a. grey card), color bars (think broadcast TV), or a color chart.

While the physics behind balancing is the same regardless of equipment, the interface can vary. Typically, you want to look for TEMPERATURE and TINT. If your equipment has a WHITE BALANCE MENU but uses other terminology (e.g., on an Elmo, you might see R-Gain and B-Gain), it should be pretty easy to determine which is TEMP and which is TINT.

White Balance Formula for Night

For video, you want to balance BEFORE capture. For still images, you can balance after but rule-of-thumb (especially if you're working on high-stakes material)? Balance as much as you can BEFORE; make micro-adjustments after.

Remember: post-production (after capture) software can only work with available information in an image file. If information is not there or your capture is highly compressed, then you might never be able to achieve perfect balance after capture! That's why in the example above (top right), the result still has a yellowish cast.

Now, I must be 100% honest:

I've balanced complementary colors a gazillion times, and every time? I still need to write down the complements so my brain does not get confused. So, here's a cheatsheet with explanations below the image:

White Balnce Cheat Sheet

STEP ONE (see top right on cheat sheet):

When I balance manually, I use my reference point (e.g., blank sheet of white paper), to first adjust the TEMPERATURE OF LIGHT. If my image looks too yellow (or orange)? I move towards blue; if my image looks too blue? I move towards yellow. I do this until either blue or yellow, respectively, is mostly neutralized relative to my reference point.

STEP TWO (see bottom left on cheat sheet):

After I balance for TEMP, I do a (micro) adjustment for TINT. Again SLOWLY adjust towards either magenta or green to get your capture as close to your reference point as possible. 

And that's it. Balancing really is that easy!

Let me know if questions.

 

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Deanna de Azevedo
Posts: 180
Topic starter
(@deanna-de-azevedo)
Reputable Member
Joined: 4 years ago
White Balnce Cheat Sheet

This post functions as an explanation of the above image.

Top left:

Cyan (C), Magenta (M), and Yellow (Y) are pigment-based colors (a.k.a. dyes, paint) known as SUBTRACTIVE COLORS.

  • When subtractive colors overlap, the result is BLACK (or "K").
  •  

Red (R), Green (G), and Blue (B) physical light are known as additive color. (Super simple explanation:In physics, light and color are the same thing.)

  • When additive colors overlap, the result is WHITE.

 

Top Right:

Temperature of physical light falls along a spectrum from BLUE (B) to Yellow (Y) and is measured in Kelvin (K).

  • Blue is the temperature daylight (a.k.a. the sun).
  • Yellow is the temperature of candlelight.

Note that depending on chemicals used in a lightbulb, other colors might be rendered.

Temperature Spectrum or Slider

 

Bottom Left:

After we make and adjustment for temperature, we then do a micro-adjustment for tint which falls along a complementary spectrum from Magenta (M) to Green (G).

Tint Spectrum or Slider

 

Bottom Right:

C-M-Y and R-G-B are complementary colors:

  • C complements R
  • M complements G
  • Y complements B

"Balancing" light/color involves adjusting complementary colors relative to a reference point, for example:

 

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