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White balance, daylight, and tungsten films.
Old 06-15-2005, 10:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Back when we shot film, we had daylight balanced film that we used under perpetual Seattle clouds, in the shadows of an ice cave, in full sun in the Sahara, with incandescent Las Vegas lighting, and the spectrum of flourescent lights indoors. We never worked with white balance, except for occasionally using tungsten film, and we all created some good photographs.

So, I'm getting ready to use a custom white balance set with strobes and a 15% gray card--and leave it alone...I don't know that much about white balace, but wouldn't this give me the same results as daylight balanced film? Let me know what you think, any thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: White balance, daylight, and tungsten films.
Old 06-16-2005, 08:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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If I read your question right, this ought to take care of the problem.

For example, my Alien Bees beauty dish (or matte pan reflector) has a slight warming cast to it. However, if I do a custom white balance on an 18% grey card, the color comes out perfect. If you're real anal, you might re-do the custom white balance every time you move the lights around.

If you shoot RAW, the file conversion software will let you adjust the white balance in post production. That's kind of nice in that you can add (or remove) a little warmpth to the images if you're so inclined.

lb
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Re: White balance, daylight, and tungsten films.
Old 06-20-2005, 01:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Assuming the color of your lighting doesn't change, the custom WB should work fine... with my Nikon you use a white card, instead of a grey card.

Like you say, film was daylight balanced or tungsten or whatever but in commercial settings it was routine to test every batch of film you bought and develop a CC filter solution to neutralize the color balance. You kind of just had to live with the color cast of mixed lighting or correct it on the enlarger.

Now, with WB presets and custom WB you have more creative control, particularly when shooting Camera RAW.

It's hard to beat having a grey card image for every shoot. In PS it's a great tool for color balancing and adjusting exposure by the numbers.
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Shoot Raw...
Old 06-21-2005, 09:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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problem solved. Life is even better in CS2.

Robert
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Re: White balance, daylight, and tungsten films.
Old 06-21-2005, 10:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Alan,

I'm not sure if I totally understand your question. If you are asking if you can set your white balance with your strobes and a grey card and then use that balance for everything you shoot with those strobes then the answer is pretty much yes. The color of the strobes will more than likely change over time but depending on how sharply your eyes perceive color you may or may not notice the difference.

However, if you are asking if you can set that white balance with your strobes and use that same white balance when you are outside shooting in the sun or indoors under incandescents then the answer is definitely "No". You can use it, but you will probably not like the results or at least they will not be accurate. The difference between digital and film is that one middle man has been eliminated. With a roll of daylight balanced film you would shoot it, drop it at a lab, and pick up the prints. No white balancing right? Well, no white balancing that YOU had to do, but someone in the lab was doing white balancing. You are very familiar with this if you have ever done your own color enlarging in a darkroom. "White balancing" or more probably "skin tone balancing" has always been part of the color photography process, but most photographers left the color work up to the labs who could afford the expensive equipment to make it profitable.
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Re: White balance, daylight, and tungsten films.
Old 06-21-2005, 04:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think you understood the question and answered it pretty well. Thanks for the help.
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