Night Scene White Balance

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    • #48009

      How do you white balance for a night scene?

      I drove by a bridge on friday night that is lit and I was thinking that I would love to come up and shootsome video of the bridge at night and realized I had no clue as to how I would white balance for it.

    • #197476

      Me? I’d simply use a white-balance card, place it where i the scene the most dominant illumination (nighttime) hits and go with that setting – all other things being equal.

      Or, I’d look back at the articles VM has had related to shooting “Day for Night” and see if any answers lurk there.

      In my experience, when white-balancing, I’ve always been partial to either using natural available lighting and/or my added lighting, setting it all up and white balancing the results.

      I’m not much in freaking with the colors or balance to get unusual or “creative” coloration, going with what’s there.

      Might be as simple as going to the spot you like, taking out your camera and shooting some footage using the bulb, sun, auto and a manual white-balance, then maybe having your vehicle placed in such a way that the lights hit the way you want and doing another test series. Check it out at home and see what gives you the closest to what your eyes and “mind’s eyes” told you looked good about it in the first place.

    • #197477
      Grinner Hester

      I’d throw it in preset and treat it as desired in post.

    • #197478

      Thanks Earl and Grinner. I’ll will experiment and see what happens. I guess the chalenge always is duplicatingyour “minds eye”and getting it to look the same in video.

      I’m sure Grinner has seen the bridge I want to capture in Alton.

    • #197479
      Grinner Hester

      yes, I’ve shot it several times. You’ll find no true white to balance on and if you use your own card or other white source in the foreground, it’ll in no way have anything to do with the lighting of the bridge. Again, it’s very easy to dial in the perfect look in post. You have to have all the information to do that though. Preset is yer buddy.

    • #197480

      Grinner – wouldyou please explain what you mean by “preset”?

    • #197481

      I’m not ‘Grinner’ but prosumer and pro cameras have standardized white balance settings or ‘presets’ for daylight and tungsten light sources. These are different from ‘Auto WB’ in that they don’t shift from one to the other automatically. Presets are useful in that in situations where you don’t have time to manual WB, you can select a preset based on the current location lighting and get usable imagery.

    • #197482

      Thanks Comp1 – forgot to check back on this thread…

    • #197483

      Good tip Composit1.

      I find using the “Daylight” setting from 45 mins before sunset to 45 mins after sunset gives a pleasing contrast between the evening sky blue and the interior lights warm orange/yellow glow…

      Same with 45 mins before sunrise to 45 mins after sunrise…. “Daylight” color balance cool morning blues with warmly lit interiors…..

      then from after dusk till just before dawn, I switch to “Indoor” or “Incandescent” color balance to get accurate “White” light from interiors and red/yellow/green stoplights looking right…

      Or was it the other way around, indoor then daylight? I forget haven’t shot at night for a while… there’s something to get out and do this week….

      Only switching from there if needed…..

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