Video Editing

What is white balance? How to perfect white balance in video production?

Posted April 19, 2021

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Different lighting conditions and camera settings can impact color casts, which can be frustrating for creators. So how do you fix this issue in digital photography and video production? White balance is the answer.

If you want to learn all about what is white balance and how to accurately white balance photography or video, this blog is the perfect explainer for you as we dive into:

  • What is white balance?

  • The purpose of camera white balance

  • What is color correction in videos?

  • Do human eyes have white balance?

  • How to get the perfect white balance on photographs and videos? -Auto White Balance -Manual White Balance  -Kelvin Color Temperature -White Balance Card

  • When would white balance card size matter?

  • How to set a white balance without a GREY card?

What is white balance? How to perfect white balance in video production?-Clipchamp blog

What is white balance?

White balance is a setting that tells your camera how to register color temperature. In photography or videography, white balance is a feature that successfully removes certain unrealistic hues that are cast over your footage, making the clip appear dull, tinted and not be of accurate color. Different lighting conditions will portray an array of color casts. For example, fluorescent light may cause video footage to have a green hue overlay, while warm light can portray an orange and yellow hue over the video footage.

The purpose of camera white balance

The purpose of white balance photography is to assist creators when shooting video footage or photography in different types of lighting situations. The feature will capture an image or video with an accurate color instead of appearing to have different color casts. To adjust the white balance on your camera, click on the auto white balance setting found in your settings menu. 

What is color correction in videos?

Color correction is a common video editing tool that fixes the color of your video footage that came out differently than desired. Even if you have used the same camera and lighting for every video clip, post-production might find you changing the saturation, brightness or hue. The color correction feature is usually done before any other video editing takes place to ensure all video clips have the same tones and look seamless. Our online video editor will be a helpful tool to color correct your video footage effortlessly. 

Do human eyes have white balance?

So you might be wondering, do human eyes have white balance? There isn’t a yes or no answer to this question. Basically, when humans view an object, its color is affected by different lighting conditions just like a camera. However, unlike setting manual settings on a camera, our eyes and brain don’t color correct for us. Human eyes coordinate with the brain to compensate for different types of light so we still see a white object as white, even in different lighting situations like warm light, fluorescent light, cloudy, shady, or sunny. This isn’t technically isn’t the same as white balance photography as the color hue will still always be altered in different lighting situations. 

How to get the perfect white balance on photographs and videos?

Perfect white balance-What is white balance? How to perfect white balance in video production?-Clipchamp blog

Auto White Balance

There are many different ways to get the perfect white balance and avoid a wash-out look in photographs and videos. The easiest way to achieve the perfect white balance is to use the auto setting on your camera which presets white balance. The auto white balance feature will use its pre-programmed adjustments to color correct your footage. This setting will be most useful when a white object is the main focus of the scene.

Manual White Balance

Alternatively, sometimes an auto white balance just doesn’t cut it. An accurate color rendition will require a manual white balance setting by the user to achieve the perfect white balance and avoid any footage looking washed out. The settings to choose from are as follows:

  • Incandescent light setting: best for traditional household bulbs 

  • Fluorescent light setting: remove green cast when video is shot under fluorescent light

  • Open Shade setting: eliminate blue cast that shadows create by adding a pink tone

  • Sunny setting: Sets color temperature to 5000 degrees Kelvin

  • Cloudy setting: add a slight warmth to make the video less grey

  • Flash setting: stronger warmth to make the video less bright 

Manual White Balance-What is white balance? How to perfect white balance in video production?-Clipchamp blog

Kelvin Color Temperature

Kelvin Color Temperature is a do-it-yourself white balance setting. Users will set the degrees Kelvin themselves to render color hues and adjust the color intensity of video footage. But what on earth even is degrees Kelvin? Kelvin temperature is no different from a normal thermometer scale, but instead of measuring how hot your meat is on the BBQ, you’re measuring how hot or cold the color temperature is of your video. The Kelvin white balance setting allows users to customize their very own color tones to their personal liking. 

White Balance Card

White Balance Card, also known as PRE is the final white balance setting to choose from. This setting requires you to physically hold up a white card in front of your camera lens, then click the shutter button. Your camera will read the color on the card and lock in the color temperature that is found when light is reflected off the white card. This feature works best for scenes that have very mixed lighting. 

White Balance Card-What is white balance? How to perfect white balance in video production?-Clipchamp blog

When would white balance card size matter?

The size of a white balance card would only matter if the custom white balance measuring area is too big for the card size, or if the camera is not responding to the card. If you hold a white balance card a short distance away from the camera, it should like up instantly. A4 size white card is usually preferred. 

How to set a white balance without a grey card?

If you’re unable to get your hands on a Grey Card, don’t worry! You can customize your white balance directly on your camera under the Custom White Balance tab. Firstly, take a photo of a white wall. The tones on the white wall will pose as your grey card. You can set this image to be your grey card on your camera. The below YouTube tutorial explains further how to custom white balance without a grey card. 

How can Clipchamp help you?

Now that you know the ins and outs of white balance photography and videography, your next step will be to edit your raw files. You can further adjust white balance and color correct video clips in our online video editor, without even leaving your browser.

If you can’t get the hang of how to use a white balance card or auto white balance settings, a green screen video effect might be the solution for you. Explore how to use Chroma Key and change the background color using our Green Screen video editor. 

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