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David all your responses in here would stand alone as an amazing article for people learning, your experience and sharing are so easy to understand and you provide very useful analogies. Would love to just compile all your posts into a tutorial.

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So, wait, I’d like to apply this knowledge to an example.

 

Let’s say this one:

 

robertobenigni-01.jpg

 

I can’t find a better picture now (it got lost somewhere in History), but I presume that what I’m seeing is an Aircraft Landing Light, probably better known as a Dino, gelled with some sort of blue gel and then diffused with that diffusion material, whatever it is.

 

What is the colour temperature of that Dino and what will be the resulting effect from the gel?

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A tungsten Dino, if that's what it is, is 3200K, so an 80A gel, if that's what it is, will convert it to 5600K.

This is basic photography. Read a book or ask your tutor.

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Dino's and MaxiBrutes usually use 1K PAR 64 tungsten globes -- Jumbos use ACL lights, which are also tungsten. There were very few multi-bank HMI fixtures built, it never really caught on, though today there are some multi-bank LED units.

 

Odds are high that the blue gel is therefore Full CTB (same blue as the 80A camera filter, corrects tungsten to daylight) though there is no way to know for sure by looking at a photo. I could imagine using 1/2 CTB on the tungsten lamp outdoors instead to get a warmer cast, or Full CTB + 1/2 CTB to get a cool cast, etc.

 

The naming of the lights is confusing because some rental houses just call any 24-light Mole Richardson MaxiBrute a "Dino" for example, and sometimes they call them "Jumbos" as well, and sometimes Jumbos aren't ACL, etc.

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Hallo everybody,

I'd like to summarize this topic, above all regarding white (color) balance in a Digital shooting situation :

 

1- first step should be to decide which is the color temperature we want to use for the scene (of course, regarding which type of location and lighting equipment we have available...): the most common use is 5600K or 3200K...

In case of intentional use of a mixed daylights/tungestens lighting sources, we can decide to work with an average value as 4300k.

 

So, if I decide to work in 5600K day light, I have to set my camera to 5200 as white balance / color temperature, and than I have to match to 5600K all my added NO DAY LIGHTS on set , using CTB on tungsten lights. Rights?

 

 

2 - Second step should be to conform all used lights used on set to the desired color temperature (commonly 3200K or 5600K...):

 

So, if I decide to work in 5600K day light, I have to set my camera to 5200 as white balance / color temperature, and than I have to match to 5600K all my added NO DAY LIGHTS on set , using CTB on tungsten lights. Rights?

 

If instead you decide to use e 3200K, you have to set your camera to 3200K and then match your daylight- balanced lighting units OR your natural lighting sources (as windows) with a CTO gel. Rights?

 

3 - The third question is about catching the on stage lighting (is the same if is INT or EXT) - if I have rightly understand - (and it was really important), we must only to decide which is the color temperature of the scene (5600K, 3200K) and then shot without any color correction on used lighting sources...

 

 

So, in this cases, if you shot at sun set or sun raise you can stay on 5600K as a color balance in your camera to provide to catch these typical warmer mood. Right?

 

Another classic example is use candle lights or torch / flambeau in a night scene (Games of Thrones): in this case, we have to set the camera to 3200K and shot the scene. The candle will appear warmer... but if we want "to cool" these lights ( candle lights or torch / flambeau) we should change the white balance camera setting to 5600K?

 

I'd like only to be sure to have correctly understand the process (in DIGITAL), so many thanks for a reply!

:)

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1- first step should be to decide which is the color temperature we want to use for the scene (of course, regarding which type of location and lighting equipment we have available...): the most common use is 5600K or 3200K...

 

In case of intentional use of a mixed daylights/tungestens lighting sources, we can decide to work with an average value as 4300k.

 

So, if I decide to work in 5600K day light, I have to set my camera to 5200 as white balance / color temperature, and than I have to match to 5600K all my added NO DAY LIGHTS on set , using CTB on tungsten lights. Rights?

Yes, you need to decide what color temperature you want to work at, but you don't necessarily have to work at an exact number, it's more whether you want to work at a daylight-balance base or a tungsten-balance base, or somewhere in between, but you don't necessarily have to pick 3200, 5600, 4300, etc. You may light a scene with daylight units and then decide that you like the look best when the camera is set to 5000K or 6000K, not 5600K. Same goes for a tungsten-lit scene, you may light it to 3200K but you may decide to shoot it at 3000K or 3400K, if your camera has that option.

 

In the case of mixed lighting, you don't necessarily have to pick 4300K, it just depends on how you want the mix to look.

 

Now some cameras only have a 3200K, 4300K, and 5600K option so that's what you want to work with.

 

Yes, if you decide to light the scene for daylight balance and want all your lights to match, you'd have to add Full CTB (blue) gel to your tungsten lamps to match your daylight lamps.

 

 

 

2 - Second step should be to conform all used lights used on set to the desired color temperature (commonly 3200K or 5600K...):

 

 

So, if I decide to work in 5600K day light, I have to set my camera to 5200 as white balance / color temperature, and than I have to match to 5600K all my added NO DAY LIGHTS on set , using CTB on tungsten lights. Rights?

 

If instead you decide to use e 3200K, you have to set your camera to 3200K and then match your daylight- balanced lighting units OR your natural lighting sources (as windows) with a CTO gel. Rights?

 

I'm not sure why you keep saying 5200 instead of 5600. If you want to work with 5600K lighting and have that be neutral, you'd set your camera to 5600K.

 

Yes, you have to add Full CTO (orange) to daylight units to convert the color temperature to 3200K.

 

 

 

3 - The third question is about catching the on stage lighting (is the same if is INT or EXT) - if I have rightly understand - (and it was really important), we must only to decide which is the color temperature of the scene (5600K, 3200K) and then shot without any color correction on used lighting sources...

 

The last part of the sentence doesn't make any sense. You still need to use color correction gel on lighting sources if they need to be changed for whatever reasons. I guess you are assuming that on a stage, every light used will be 3200K tungsten? Because that's not always the case.

 

 

 

So, in this cases, if you shot at sun set or sun raise you can stay on 5600K as a color balance in your camera to provide to catch these typical warmer mood. Right?

 

Yes, you can shoot a sunset exterior scene with the camera set to 5600K and it will capture the warmer colors of the setting sun.

 

 

 

Another classic example is use candle lights or torch / flambeau in a night scene (Games of Thrones): in this case, we have to set the camera to 3200K and shot the scene. The candle will appear warmer... but if we want "to cool" these lights ( candle lights or torch / flambeau) we should change the white balance camera setting to 5600K?

 

No, you've gone the wrong direction. If the camera is set to 5600K, then low color temperature sources will look orange -- 3200K tungsten will look orange and even lower candlelight will look really orange. You'd have to set the camera to lower than 3200K to start to shift the warmth out of a candle flame, though I don't know if most digital cameras can go that low (2000K or lower.) Plus you might start to see a lot of noise in the blue channel from that sort of setting.

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Hi David,

many thanks for your replies!

 

When you say: "Yes, you need to decide what color temperature you want to work at, but you don't necessarily have to work at an exact number, it's more whether you want to work at a daylight-balance base or a tungsten-balance base, or somewhere in between, but you don't necessarily have to pick 3200, 5600, 4300, etc." is of course okay, but the problem, when you choose for example a 5000K or 2500K, is not to easy to match your lighting equipment with gel... but you have to choose the right color temperature gel...

 

About 2) sorry, it was just a mistake: 5600K of course .

 

About 3), sorry again, I should to specify "natural" lighting source as candles, torch, fires, bonfire ( illuminations so much used for example in "the games of Thrones"). So, in this cases, I have to choose if I want a warm mood choosing a 3200K or a cold mood choosing a 5600K, regardless of the fact that candles, torch, fires, bonfire could be have different color temperature.

 

4) uhm, this is the consequence of 3)... so, you want to see "cool" a "natural" lighting as candles, torch, fires, bonfire, what do you have to do? A way you said is reaching a 2000k or lower values... (with pro e contras you said. Any other ways?

By contrast, if you want warmer these "natural" lightings (candles, torch, fires, bonfire)... you have to increase or decrease the color temperature value on your camera?

Edited by Duca Simon Luchini

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When you say: "Yes, you need to decide what color temperature you want to work at, but you don't necessarily have to work at an exact number, it's more whether you want to work at a daylight-balance base or a tungsten-balance base, or somewhere in between, but you don't necessarily have to pick 3200, 5600, 4300, etc." is of course okay, but the problem, when you choose for example a 5000K or 2500K, is not to easy to match your lighting equipment with gel... but you have to choose the right color temperature gel...

Real daylight has a range of colors, and daylight lamps aren't all exactly 5600K, some are more blue. So even if you don't add correction gel to your HMI's and daylight LED's, you might prefer setting the camera to some temperature other than 5600K, you may find going slightly higher or lower looks better on the monitor.

 

You'd only have a cold mood on the soundstage set by choosing 5600K lighting (or putting blue gels on tungsten lamps), not choosing 5600K on the camera. To get a cold image, you'd have to have 5600K lights and the camera set to something lower than 5600K, like 4300K, 3200K, 2700K, etc.

 

To a camera set to a high color temperature like 5600K, then a lower color temperature light looks more orange. So if you have a 3200K lamp, then it will look orange when the camera is set to daylight-balance like 5600K, look less orange if the camera is set to 4300K, look more or less neutral if the camera is set to 3200K, and then start to look blue if the camera was set to 2000K or lower.

 

But since sensors are naturally close to daylight-balance, to get them to be balanced for lower color temperatures requires that the blue channel get boosted, since lower color temperature lamps like tungsten are low in blue wavelengths. So the blue channel will always be cleaner as the camera is set near daylight and noisier as the camera's color temperature is lowered. For most cameras, going to 3200K is fine, the blue channel noise is acceptable (though not ideal for blue screen work) but going much lower like to 2000K might start to produce too much noise in the blue channel.

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Okay, I think I've finally understand... :unsure: :

When the color temperature value of lights used is similar or the same as the camera white balance (Camera color temperature), then the mood will appear neutral "white balanced".

 

If you want to cool the mood of a Daylight set up (5600K), you have to decrease the color temperature value of camera from 5600k to something like 4300K, 3200K, 2700K, etc.

 

If you want to warm the mood of a Daylight set up (5600K), you have to increase the color temperature value of camera from 5600k to something like 6000K, 7000K, 10000K, etc.

 

If you want to cool the mood of a Tungsten light set (3200K), you have to decrease the color temperature value of camera from 3200K to something like 2700K, 2000K etc.

 

If you want to warm the mood of a Tungsten light set (3200K), you have to increase the color temperature value of camera from 3200K to something like 4300K, 5600K etc.

 

So, it should be right, or better, it is right... (I tried with my Canon 60D and Magic Lantern which allows to set up whatever color temperature you want, and I verified it :ph34r: ).

Edited by Duca Simon Luchini

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Color correction "on set"

This is the best way to work: after reading script (commercial, fiction, docs...) we have to decide which kind of lighting "mood" we need, choosing a "basic" color temperature lighting (Daylight 5600K, Tungsten 3200K or a mix ).

At this point, we can apply a warmed or a cooler mood, increasing or decreasing camera color temperature from the initial "conformed" value ( (Daylight 5600K, Tungsten 3200K or a mix).

At least, if we want to "catch" the real magic moment, you have to switch the camera color value to find the right set up CHECKING your control monitor. Right?

 

 

Color correction in Post

So, if we don't have a clear ideas about color mood of a scene (There could be many reasons) we should make e neutral white color balance on camera to uniform on stage lighting with camera color temperature and then in post, we could provide to apply a desired mood.

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Ho David, reading again this very great post, I'd like to summarize what is important about white colour balance:

first, we have to uniform all lighting sources on set (in outdoor scene with only the sun as lighting source, the light is already uniform, of course), using camera filter or gel on lighting source, to have the same color temperature for all lights.

second, when all lighting source have the same color temperature, we can choose to let them so OR, we can change the global color temperature, setting on camera a desired color temperature (which could also very different).

A typical example could be a indoor scene with mixed lighting source of popular offices:

first, we decide to uniform all lighting source to 5600 kelvin , correcting with gel the other lighting sources as the very common florescent or tungsten lights;

second, we decide to cooler the scene, setting white balance on camera to 4500 or 4000 kelvin.

If this reasoning is correct, it should be valid for all lighting situations.

 

as always, many thanks for a reply!

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Hi guys,

in internet is a huge mass of misinformation, often even completely wrong ... which is why I kindly ask if what I wrote is right, or not.

A reply would be great contribution for everybody.

Cheers and many thanks.

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It's sort of correct but almost too simplistic since real daylight doesn't have one color temperature -- sunlight has one and shade has another so often there is a mix going on throughout the day. Most people aren't trying to eliminate that complexity. So to say that this approach is valid for all lighting situations is a bit too broad of a statement to be accurate. But it is roughly true if you want all sources to be the same color.

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Hi David,

It want to be only a starting point to understand the concept. I mean: one could say the opposite, namely, being the light of the day made up of a multitude of color temperatures, there is no point even out the color temperature.

In addition we should add another consideration: without a color meter is impossible to work taking into account all color temperatures. And most of indi cinematographer have not a color meter (really expensive).

 

Anyway, to reach a superior step, you are completely right: we can have a rough approach to color temperature, but we should also take care about shading (i.e, stage costumes, stage furniture colors). It a very complex work...

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I don't have a color temperature meter. The truth is that the majority of color issues you can see by eye (if you have a trained eye) and with today's digital cameras, the colors are visible on the monitor.

 

Daylight is a complex thing, a mix of warm sunlight and cool shadows and that balance changes throughout the day. So it's mainly a matter of having some idea of what you want to achieve in terms of colors. You could make everything the same color if you wanted to, but sometimes it feels less natural -- for example, sometimes an HMI by itself at 5600K looks a bit "cool" compared to a real beam of sunlight next to it coming through the window, so you end up putting some warming gel on the HMI to match the sun. But you get into a shaded forest where the daylight is rather cool and a 5600K HMI now looks a little warm when you try filling in a face with it.

 

But yes, it's important to understand how to get lights in a location to match each other in color, if that's what you want. But the practical reality is that some lights are more critical to match than others. For example, the key light hitting a face is more critical if you want someone to move from one key light to another, or you are shooting multiple faces in a room with multiple lights, and you want the same color from the light on each face. But the lights you use for fill or for a backlight are a bit less critical -- your eye tends not to notice the color on the back of hair or in the shadows if it changes slightly in different areas of the room. They still have to be in the ballpark, but it's not as critical as with faces where you could gel an HMI light to match a tungsten light, or vice-versa, and even if you use a color temperature meter to match, you still might see a difference because of the spectral range of each type of light -- so you'd avoid lighting one face with a gelled HMI and then another face with a tungsten and expect them to match perfectly.

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with today's digital cameras, the colors are visible on the monitor.

 

Uhm, sorry, but how? :blink:

If you use a digital camera, how can you check the color temp on the provided monitor? Or do you refer to a 3rd part added control monitor, with special tool to check color temp on set?

 

 

Daylight is a complex thing, a mix of warm sunlight and cool shadows and that balance changes throughout the day. So it's mainly a matter of having some idea of what you want to achieve in terms of colors. You could make everything the same color if you wanted to, but sometimes it feels less natural -- for example, sometimes an HMI by itself at 5600K looks a bit "cool" compared to a real beam of sunlight next to it coming through the window, so you end up putting some warming gel on the HMI to match the sun. But you get into a shaded forest where the daylight is rather cool and a 5600K HMI now looks a little warm when you try filling in a face with it.

 

Great, I understand. Need experience... :rolleyes:

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You can see the colors of different lights on the color monitor image -- if you can't see those differences, then they probably are differences that are so subtle that they don't matter much.

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Okay, David, but the "color monitor image" is a special 3d part monitor, or a function of the camera menu? Shortly, where I find it...?

<_<

The 'color monitor image' is just the image displayed on a monitor. It's what you see on the screen. Nothing more complicated than that.

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Yes, it's the HD color monitor you are viewing on set. If a light has a color cast or bias compared to other lights, you should be able to see it. And if you don't, then why is it a problem?

 

Color meters are useful for prepping equipment packages and for scouting locations and then pre-lighting them, but generally one is not measuring every source of light in a scene and half the gel or camera corrections are done by eye or from looking at the monitor image.

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