Most videographers have a standard method that they use for white balancing. As anyone who has shot much video knows; nothing can wreak more havoc on a shoot and in post than white balancing your subjects incorrectly. Whether you shoot are shooting indoor, outdoors, or in an area with multiple light sources; it is always important to get an accurate white balance for your subject.
There are certainly times when the auto white balance function can produce a superior result (or even the manual mode and dialing the temperature in visually); however in conditions with several mixed lighting sources- a Vello Universal White Balance Handheld Disc can be a lifesaver.
Using a vello discs is fairly easy but does depend slightly on exactly which cameras you are using. With the Canon C100 , you need to have the white balance set to one of the custom white balance settings (either A or B) and then press the dedicated white balance button on the left body of the camera. At this point the sensor will read all the light that is coming through the disc from multiple sources and choose a color temperature setting based on this reading.
When these vello discs can come in handy is when shooting where you have multiple light sources at once. Perhaps you have overhead lights which are 3200K, a window bringing in bright daylight at 5500K, and you use a few led’s to try to brighten up and add some detail to the subjects face.
So in this situation; what color temperature would you use? If you are doing this manually; there isn’t really a definitive answer. You have to go with what looks right to you. You can switch the camera over to automatic and sometimes this can produce pleasing results. However, you can also use the Vello universal white balance disc to measure all the multiple light sources coming into the lens and then generate a reading based on this.
My advice would be to do both. Try the camera in automatic and also use the vello discs to see what kind of results you can get. This way you have a few different options and you can choose which looks the best based on your trained eye and experience. If you are brand new to the process, you may want to go with automatic until you have become more accustomed to the custom.
Many people still use an older method of finding something white within your shooting area and obtaining a white balance reading by zooming into the object. While I don’t criticize anyone for using this method; in my experience it is not always accurate. Many times the object being used for the reading is not pure white. In addition, this object may not be located where it needs to be to get a reading which is reflective of the light. This method can introduce extra variables into the equation that you don’t want to be wresting with while you are on set. The less room there is for error on a shoot is usually better.
- Quick and Accurate Custom White Balance
- Portable with Easy-to-Use Handle
- For Digital Photo and Video Cameras
- For In-camera and Post-production Use
- Works with Lenses of Up to 95mm Diameter
Some final thoughts
To get a truly accurate reading with the vello discs, it is recommended that you take the reading from roughly where the subject will be positioned. The main thing to remember here is to take a reading in the light where the subject will be to get an accurate reading. Some people recommend that you point the camera in the direction of the light sources when obtaining the reading. I have found the readings to be generally accurate when you point the disc/reader roughly in the direction of where your subject will be. Another option is to go where the subject will be placed with the camera and take the reading there.
Keep in mind that how you use the Vello will have to be tweaked slightly depending on the camera you are using. With the traditional EOS DSLR’s (Canon EOS 5D etc) you actually have to take a picture with the Vello in front of the lens and then set this image as the custom white balance image. This process definitely takes more time than with the and I wouldn’t want to perform this in the middle of a shoot due to time constraints. I will admit that they are not always 100% accurate but with a camera like the C100 or Canon C300 PL Cinema EOS Camcorder Body – PL Lens Mount they can be a good way to get a fairly accurate white balance quickly in tricky lighting conditions. Often times I will use the vello discs to get me “in the ballpark” and then tweak things slightly until the skin tones look to my pleasing.