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White balance..

Discussion in 'Photography & Video' started by samos, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. samos

    samos Member

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    Hey fellas, quick one for you gurus.

    Say I have a setup with 2 x lighting softboxes and a white muslin behind. It would be good idea to set the white balance in the camera to that of the muslin? Not exactly sure what i'm doing when I do this other than telling the camera that white is the colour of the muslin. How does it help with photos? Photos will be taken on models, as well as close up (glove size etc).

    Cheers :thumbup:
     
  2. berek

    berek Member

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    You'll need to get a white card and take a picture of it at the models location and set the wb from it and not the actual lights themselves.

    You'll need to do it if you're shooting jpg's as it's a bitch to match colours exactly otherwise. You can set the whitepoint of the muslin in post but that would depend on the muslin being true white (255,255,255 opposed to 254,247,253)
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  3. OP
    OP
    samos

    samos Member

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    So a white bit of of cardboard near the muslin (or get the person to hold it up) point the cam and use that as the white?

    I was going to just use the muslin but I haven't seen what white it is yet.. The room is dark, so I obviously should take the photo with the lights shining on the muslin/card? I am also only using a digitial camera (not DSLR) but it takes some pretty good pictures. Should I borrow a DSLR? The images are only for web use.
     
  4. ^catalyst

    ^catalyst Member

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    not to be an arse, but grey cards are better for wb than white.
     
  5. sandwichamwin

    sandwichamwin Member

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    Just before you take your first shot (or anytime really) get your model to hold up a grey card and take a photo of it. Easy :)
     
  6. OP
    OP
    samos

    samos Member

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    Really confused with the white/grey card? :)

    So in short: Set up, get the lights ready + muslin - get the model to hold up the grey card...? (or can I just chuck the card on the muslin and take a shot to prep up before hand?) I only need to do this once, the white balance won't change when I turn the camera off will it??
     
  7. bugeyes

    bugeyes Member

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  8. OP
    OP
    samos

    samos Member

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    OK, so grey it is.

    Do I need to go to the extent of getting that particular one (Whibal?)

    Edit: Damn it seems I have confused the whole situation here. I thought the white balance was set on the camera and then that was that. It seems as though the white balance card is used for post processing in that raw software.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
  9. kingbob86

    kingbob86 Member

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    Shoot in RAW, use the grey card to set the white balance in post. You want it close to the model/subject so any stray light away from the subject that could affect it is minimised.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    samos

    samos Member

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    OK I'll have to do more reading. So far I have been using auto white balance. I personally think the photos didn't turn out how I wanted them due to poor lighting. Is auto balance the devil if the photos are taken from the same distance in the same controlled setting? Obviously it's less than optimal, but is it an absolute no no?
     
  11. kingbob86

    kingbob86 Member

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    If you shoot in RAW then it doesn't matter what WB setting you use because you can set it properly later in post. If you're shooting in jpeg then it helps to try get the WB setting close to right. There's less room to move because the WB is cooked into the file. Auto generally does a pretty decent job but sometimes it can help to shoot a grey card first to set a custom WB in the camera.

    Edit: Watching this might clear things up for you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_78rLzrOEI
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
  12. bugeyes

    bugeyes Member

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    You can use the whibal exactly in the same way you would with a sheet of paper with your cameras custom white balance setting. Watch the rest of the tutorials in the link.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    samos

    samos Member

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    Yeah I watched them except the last. Then I saw another on youtube, where a guy was showing the difference using a card, and then just using the cameras "auto" function for WB (ie no card). He said it was less than optimal as the photos you were taking wouldn't all be identical, but you could get away with it with the correct lighting environment.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EakvDiH9ST4

    Ie; in this situation she talks about 3 different light sources, and when using the auto balance the camera needs to choose the dominant source. I'll be shooting in a dark room away from natural light. There will only be one light source (the light coming from the soft boxes)
     
  14. bugeyes

    bugeyes Member

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    Dig out your cameras instruction manual and follow their guide on how to use the "Custom White Balance" function, in most cases they recommend using a sheet of white A4 copy paper. You place the sheet of paper in the main light source that's illuminating the subject, frame it as your manual indicates and take the reading. The camera then stores this custom setting until you take another reading.

    You can use the larger whibals or the expo disc, 18% grey card etc, in place of the copy paper to take the reading, though the whibal is probably the more accurate product for the application.

    You can also use the grey card and copy paper, and place it in frame next to you subject then photograph it. Then adjust the colour balance in photoshop as described by Michael Tapes. Why not try what you manual suggests then buy a whibal/ expo disc if you results are not satisfactory. How accurate do you really need you colour?

    I find that you get the best colour when your lighting is from from one type, and not from mixed sources. Subjects are usually 3 dimensional and any shadow areas can take on a different colour cast because the main lighting is directional and then the other sources will have more influence in the shadows.
     
  15. OP
    OP
    samos

    samos Member

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    Thanks for that. The camera I am using is a standard digi cam (Capillo R4). The photos I took initially actually came out pretty good, and this was using a terrible lighting setup. The colours don't need to be super accurate. Even if they are, other peoples monitors/settings/eyes will perceive them different anyway! They're only for web images, that's it. I will be only using one light source (that which comes from the soft light boxes!)

    I will need to read my settings, but the camera has: Autpm outdoors, cloudy, incandescent lamp 1/2, fluorecent lamp, and manual. The big problem I have is that I am colour blind. heh. But, when watching that tutorial I noticed a massive difference in the before/after, particularly with the girl who was having a portrait shot. I imagine this was exaggerated though to illustrate bad white balance to a good one?
     
  16. CapnBloodbeard

    CapnBloodbeard Member

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    White cardboard may not be neutral.

    Seriously. Get some A4 paper from a few different brands, put them next to each other. You'll get a few different shades.

    You need something which is actually designed to set a white balance off. A grey card will often (not always - check it!) have a WB side, and they're also great to help with exposure)
     
  17. lionman

    lionman Member

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    just shoot RAW and adjust in post...
     

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