Tips about white balancing

Benjamin GS's picture
Last seen: 4 years 1 month ago
Joined: 11/06/2011 - 10:59pm

As the title says, I have a question about white balancing.

So here is the situation. You want to shoot a lecture during a college class. You want to record the teacher so you can upload the video for students later. You want to set up your tripod and camera in the back of the class room. There are windows in the back (where your camera is) but not in the front (where the teacher is). So the lighting is different.

Now, do you perform white balancing (wb) where you set up your camera all zoomed out, do you move the camera to where the teacher is and perform wb, or do you set up your camera in the back zoom in on the teacher and then perform wb?



vid-e-o-man's picture
Last seen: 2 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 02/06/2010 - 4:20am
Plus Member

 Benjamin, my understanding is that you would put a white card or other white object where the teacher is and zoom the cam in on it and set white balance, zoom back and shoot.

Benjamin GS's picture
Last seen: 4 years 1 month ago
Joined: 11/06/2011 - 10:59pm

OK. Thanks.

are you doing it that way when you shoot or are you guessing?

Ian McNaughton's picture
Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: 03/07/2011 - 5:42pm
Plus Member

Hi Benjamin,

vid-e-o-man is correct. The only place for taking a white card reading is from where the subject is standing, especially in a mixed light situation like the one you're describing. Depending on how fussy you are you could even get variations at different positions if the lecture is of the roaming variety; but you have to be realistic and practical. I'd be most surprised if the students who receive your DVD would bother at all about white colour balance unless it's radically off.

Regards, Alexian

H. Wolfgang Porter's picture
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator


They used to say, 'Don't sweat the technique'. That totally applies to whitebalancing. The guys are right. You balance off the dominant light source hitting your subject. You have the talent stand with the whitecard facing the light source and calibrate your camera. If the lighting is mixed, Place the card at the midpoint of the two light sources and calibrate. Hopefully, you're not zooming out to a 'Planet Shot' during a lecture anyway. Lectures are often boring enough that putting the subject in a wideshot will make your work a fine 'sleep aid'. Medium Wide if the lecturer is on the move or you're showing the person alongside a presentation screen. Go wide when they emphasize something onscreen. If they're just talking and not wandering, keep it at a Medium shot. Waist up will give them plenty of room for hand movements and they'll seem at a comfortable distance from viewers.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc.

Benjamin GS's picture
Last seen: 4 years 1 month ago
Joined: 11/06/2011 - 10:59pm

Thank you guys. That was very helpful. I actually made up the class room situation. I just thought it was a good example to describe my problem.

Last question: When you do white balancing, does the wb card need to fill the whole screen/lense or is it enough if it makes up the majority of it?

theonecanoe's picture
Last seen: 5 days 17 hours ago
Joined: 08/31/2011 - 4:20pm

Hey Benjamin, I generally find that as long as the WB card fills at least half of the screen the camera does a good white balance. If you're using a professional camera, you"ll know the WB is alright because you'll usually get a message such as " WB OK 3400 K" and on a consumer camcorder you'll know if the white balance took simply by looking at your colour LCD screen. If the colour looks off then it didn"t take...if everything looks normal than you"re good to go. As Alexian and Composite1 said above, always WBwhere the subject being shot is located, in the predominant light source.

Charles Schultz's picture
Last seen: 5 years 4 weeks ago
Joined: 10/25/2010 - 10:38pm

Always white balance on the subject, the light your camera receives makes no difference.