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Why should you set the white balance?

I am often asked if you need to do a white balance when you can correct colour so easily in Adobe Premiere. The short answer is yes you should do a white balance every time you switch location or the lighting changes (after you turn off the studio lights you have been using for an interview for example).

Different light sources – daylight, fluorescent and tungsten lights – all have different colours. Daylight is blue whereas tungsten omits a more orange warm hue.

You need to tell your camera what is white in the location you are filming in otherwise everything will be too blue or too orange. Often this is easy to see on the camera screen if it’s way out but our eyes can fool us sometimes and you don’t notice if it’s a bit warm or cool in colour.

So what’s the solution?

There will be presets you can select – sunny, shade, fluorescent and tungsten light etc – but one of the best methods is to set a custom white balance. Every camera will operate a bit differently in terms of setting a custom white balance but the principals are the same.

You point the camera at a white card and perform the custom white balance. You may have to Google exactly how to do this on your camera or get in touch.

Once the WB is set you will immediately see the picture look correct colour-wise and importantly skin tones are not too blue or orange.

And remember… Do not use AUTO white balance as the colours will constantly change from shot to shot so you will have to spend a lot of time colour correcting your footage to make shots match.