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Custom white balance - how to tell what it actually is

billium99
Contributor

HI - 5D newb here.

 

I'm shooting in RAW and I want to confirm/determine what my actual custom white balance temperature is set to on my 5D MK III when I take a sample with my light disc and use it to customize white balance.

 

The thing is, I have photos I'm needing to take in a procession, moving from light source to light source, and auto wb isn't cutting it. What I want to do instead, is match the temperature on the light sources in two of the locations to the original light source, so the shots can be shot "live" with custom white balance that works all the way through.

 

But when I set it to custom, while it looks great in-camera, I'm not seeing anywhere in the camera that will tell me the actual WB temperature that was detected and compensated for.

 

Any suggestions?

 

Thank you

 

Bill

13 REPLIES 13

Skirball
Authority

@billium99 wrote:

HI - 5D newb here.

 

I'm shooting in RAW and I want to confirm/determine what my actual custom white balance temperature is set to on my 5D MK III when I take a sample with my light disc and use it to customize white balance.

 

But when I set it to custom, while it looks great in-camera, I'm not seeing anywhere in the camera that will tell me the actual WB temperature that was detected and compensated for.

 

Any suggestions?



I never use Custom WB, because I shoot RAW, but don't you put in the exact temperture?   Isn't that what Custom WB does?  If so, I'm not sure I understand your problem.

 

Beside the point, if you're shooting RAW, why not just do it in post?  Choose a WB that is close to what you want, and keep it for the entire shoot (doesn't really matter).  In post, pick a sample picture, choose your WB, and then just set all the photos to that WB.  In Lightroom it takes two seconds, presumably any other decent PP software would be the same.  Unless you're shooting under CFLs they should all come out the same.

 

Thanks Skirball - my problem is that I can never achieve the realistic color I seem to get very easily using custom white balance in-camera.

 

And yes, you can manually set the temperature, or you can take a photo with a light disc and tell the camera to use that image as the basis for white balance. This is also technically a custom WB setting. THAT's the value that I can't seem to get downstream, and my guessing at the right temperature in post processing has been a frustrating, futile effort.

 

Thanks

 

Bill

In addition to the kelvin temp (blue v. Yellow) there is also the green v. Magenta axis (or slider).

Right?
Scott

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@billium99 wrote:

Thanks Skirball - my problem is that I can never achieve the realistic color I seem to get very easily using custom white balance in-camera.

 

And yes, you can manually set the temperature, or you can take a photo with a light disc and tell the camera to use that image as the basis for white balance. This is also technically a custom WB setting. THAT's the value that I can't seem to get downstream, and my guessing at the right temperature in post processing has been a frustrating, futile effort.

 

Thanks

 

Bill


I'm assuming by light disc you mean a white card (or better, gray card)?

 

I thought (guessing here) that when scrolling through the histograms in camera that it will tell you the temperature you shot at.  But I don't think it tells the tint (magenta).  However, any good post processing software will do it for you.  You can simply copy the settings of the photo you like and it'll apply it to any others.  Or just look at the values of the temperture and tint. 

 

Although, as I reread your first post, I'm not sure that's what you're looking for.  If you're trying to balance what is "white" under different light sources then you don't want the same temp and tint settings.

I should have specified - this is RAW video.

 

And I'm moving from scene to scene in one take.


@billium99 wrote:

I should have specified - this is RAW video.

 


Ah, yes.  I knew something didn't seem right.

 

Sorry, I have zero experience with RAW video.  But, wouldn't RAW video still allow you to make such adjustments in post without any degredation of quality?  I'm guessing that's the point of RAW video.  So, with decent software I'd guess that you could do something similar as you would in Photoshop.

 

But again, if I'm reading your post right, you want to match color under different light sources.  Not sure if they have a 'match color' option for video, but I'd guess that trying to blend scenes is a pretty common thing for video.


@Skirball wrote:

@billium99 wrote:

I should have specified - this is RAW video.

 


Ah, yes.  I knew something didn't seem right.

 

Sorry, I have zero experience with RAW video.  But, wouldn't RAW video still allow you to make such adjustments in post without any degredation of quality?  I'm guessing that's the point of RAW video.  So, with decent software I'd guess that you could do something similar as you would in Photoshop.

 

But again, if I'm reading your post right, you want to match color under different light sources.  Not sure if they have a 'match color' option for video, but I'd guess that trying to blend scenes is a pretty common thing for video.


The video editing software will let you adjust the white balance in video -- just as you can with still photographs.

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

Thanks for the time all. I guess we're not addressing the need when we're talking about color temp in post.

 

And a grey card in the scene is interesting as a solution, and could possibly help in certain situations, but what I still really need is a way to learn the temperature of the lights, before I shoot, because I may not be able to have a grey card (exit from a house onto a beach), and without knowing even approximate values, I'm struggling to eyeball this stuff in post.

 

My camera measures the value I seek, but doesn't show the darn numeric value haha, so if I want to try and apply gels to filter the lighting and achieve a needed temperature, for example, I'm not sure of any way to do it without buying a really expensive meter.

 

(I was hoping someone would know "Oh you just need to Enable Temp Values. Click here and here and boom - there you go!" Sounds like such a solution doesn't exist hehe...at least on the 5D)

 

Thanks anyway

 

Bill


@billium99 wrote:

My camera measures the value I seek, but doesn't show the darn numeric value haha, so if I want to try and apply gels to filter the lighting and achieve a needed temperature, for example, I'm not sure of any way to do it without buying a really expensive meter.



Sorry to not have the solution you were looking for, but if you want to gel lights and measure incident light, that's what light meters are for.  I don't use them, because I can do what I want in post, with stills.  But you can't do it in camera as far as I know.

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