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White Balance Tools

Dennis Mansour , Feb 21, 2011; 02:48 p.m.

I would like any ideas on doing White Balance using tools ex: X Rite , Expodisc, etc. I am using the 1D MK3 and the 5D MK2. Thanks, I shoot mainly weddings.

Responses

Ellis Vener , Feb 21, 2011; 03:13 p.m.

Iuse and rely on either of two "white" ( in reality, a light middle gray) balance targets:
The Xrite ColorChecker Passport system (also useful for calibrating a camera's color response and colro tweaking): http://www.xrite.com/product_overview.aspx?ID=1257

The WhiBal target: http://mtapesdesign.com/whibal/

The WhiBal is exceptionally color neutral (non-metameristic ( spelling?) ) under different lighting sources and in mixed/ variable light conditions.

I have tried other products. As a working professional photographer, these are the two I have come to rely on whether using Canon, Nikon, or Phase One cameras.

We all need to always be aware that that technically correct color is always expressively right (as a photographer you know that already), but both of these targets provide you with solid ground to start from.

Craig Dickson , Feb 21, 2011; 03:16 p.m.

Shooting digitally at a wedding, you have very little need for white balance tools of that sort. Shoot in raw mode (which you should be doing anyway) and set your white balance during post-processing by selecting a well-lit part of someone's white dress or shirt. After that you may want to adjust a bit because perfect white balance tends to look too cold, but it's a good starting point.

Dennis Mansour , Feb 21, 2011; 04:17 p.m.

I do shoot in Raw, I have seen posts that other photographers swear by that will be less in PP.
I was thinking of doing CWB as I change situations indoors or outdoors vs X Rite in LR.
thanks, rollsman

Ellis Vener , Feb 21, 2011; 10:20 p.m.

The Xrite ColorChecker Passport has a target designed for creating custom white balance in camera as you go, and you can do the same thing with the WhiBal card as well. It can save processing time down the line.

Tim Lookingbill , Feb 21, 2011; 11:01 p.m.

Before you judge the results clicking the WhiBAL card for R=G=B as too cool looking, increase saturation first just to check. In my experience post processing I often was taken aback by the sudden cooling and started adding warmth. Afterward, when I went to add saturation, other neutrals and pastels showed unsightly hues that weren't there before.

It doesn't hurt to to click and then add saturation first especially shooting Raw.

D.B. Cooper , Feb 22, 2011; 08:31 a.m.

+1 for RAW + ColorChecker Passport. It makes a camera color profile painlessly in post that's easily applied to any other shots done in the same lighting in a prog like LR.

David Phipps , Feb 22, 2011; 08:39 a.m.

I own a WhiBal, Xrite colorchecker passport, a 8 1/2x11 24 patch colorchecker, and one of those white/grey/black collapsible targets. I always grab a colorchecker (you can use the passport software with any of the 24 patch targets. It's a free download from their site) Using Lightroom and a colorchecker with the software now not only can I white balance but I can create custom camera profiles for my raw conversions.
I don't shoot weddings, but I would think doing a WB in the church and outside for any outside shots and again at the reception would at least give you a good starting point. although so would just setting a fixed WB in a situation like wedding where some shots in the middle of the room totally artificially lit and some by windows, not to mention stained glass windows, or different lighting altogether would be very difficult to do custom WB for every situation.
Although WhiBal looks near the top in specs I have had difficulty getting a good CONSISTENT wb from it.

Tim Lookingbill , Feb 22, 2011; 01:50 p.m.

Well if you're going to be shooting scenes with varying amounts of mixed color temp lighting, no WB device is going to give you consistent results even shooting with a fixed incamera "Daylight" setting.

You'll have to assess whether all have the same overall color palette viewing them as a gallery of slightly over sized thumbnails and tweak each one individually. Relying on clicking a WB target for R=G=B can become far more work.

DSLR's at least with mine are very sensitive to the slightest change in angle of light to subject to lens, and in a wedding shoot where all that is constantly changing, the color temp numbers in the Raw processor are going to vary as well as the preview. There's some strange optical tricks on the eyes that can occur when expecting and clicking for R=G=B because the overall image looks far more balanced looking not getting R=G=B from a target.

This is one of many reasons I don't do weddings. Expectations from family, bride and groom are way too high for such complexity. Just from my own paranoia of this issue I'ld seriously get an agreement in writing that such and such aunt, uncle, sibling, etc's skin tone isn't going to be as tan and caramel looking as others within the same shoot under mixed lighting.

Chris Ogilvie , Feb 23, 2011; 02:39 p.m.

As with most things there are a number of valid solutions! A lot depends on what you wish to achieve, and how. I have used a number of tools from targets to white balance lens caps, even coffee filters.
I find a white balance lens cap, such as the Brno or similar, to be the most convenient. I use these as my normal lens caps now. Since they are on the lens anyway it is simple to snap the custom white balance shot and set this on the camera, fast and simple.
Best accuracy has been with a white coffee filter over the lens, used as above. Issue is that you have to keep it, or any reflective target protected and clean. Reflective targets look most professional in use, think customer relations.
Ultimately, these are all good starting points for final critical white balance adjustment in post processing.

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