White Balance for Shooting in Snow

This week Brandon goes into the wilderness to demonstrate techniques for shooting video in the snow. What situations to avoid, and what situations provide ideal opportunities for shooting great looking winter videos.

Video Transcript

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Snow shooting and outdoor shooting in general are very similar. One of the main things you really need to focus on when you’re shooting in the snow is your color temperature, mainly your white balance, whether you’re cool or warm, or right in the middle.

One of the most important factors in filming a snow covered scene is your camera’s white balance. Most white balance settings on your camera will include an indoor preset that adds a bluish or cool tint to your scene; an outdoor preset that adds a warm, orange hue to your scene; and, hopefully, your camera has an auto or manual white balance. This will give you even more precise control in adjusting your balance to the conditions in front of you.

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Many cameras have custom presets for white balance that can be recalled at the touch of a button and this is very handy for changing conditions, which happens constantly in outdoor shooting.

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Since we already know that lighting is one of the most important factors in video period, it becomes pretty obvious that when shooting winter videos, lighting is really going to play a big role. Shooting during the middle of the day normally generates lighting conditions that are undesirable because of the amount of very bright, white colored light from the sun. This reflects off the snow and washes out the sky and can be blinding to both the camera and the videographer. To avoid bad lighting altogether, just shoot your video during the hours of sunrise or sunset. These are called the golden hours and they produce the most ideal lighting conditions during the day for video and photography. The golden hour lighting, when it reflects off the snow, creates beautiful hues of orange, pink, red and purple, which can produce some of the best looking outdoor videos you might see.

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Depending on the purpose of your video, there are different ways to give your audience a sense of being in the actual conditions of the environment by capturing certain pieces of the outdoor environment itself that surround you. Since the most common feeling associated with snow and winter is, of course, cold or even freezing, capturing clips of snow falling, an icy river running through the snow, even clouds rushing past a mountain, all of these different scenes can really draw your audience into the environment that you’re feeling.

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If you contrast a sequence of clips that show freezing environments with a clip of a warm fire, then you can warm your audience back up again and this is usually an effective way to stir emotion in your audience and get them moving around in their seat to keep warm.

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For more details, take a look at these articles using this DVD on your computer.

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