How to Check White Balance

White balance is something all camera users have come across at some point in their life. Whether you’re an amateur or an avid professional – a correct white balance is needed to ensure the colours in a photo or a video are accurate. As the primary engine for colour management, white balance is integral to a natural-looking image or video recording.

Most cameras today have built-in white balance settings, but it’s not a foolproof system. Shooting a sunset, for example, can push the camera’s intelligence and sometimes the exposure goes wrong, leaving you with either a pale, washed-out image or a fiery red glow. This colour temperature can ruin a shot, but some like to use it to create some interesting visual effects.

When shooting, set the white balance before you record by either recalibrating the camera or by selecting a preset that adjusts to different types of lighting. You can also use a light meter to help find the perfect setting. However, this needs to be done every time a shoot starts, especially when there is a change to the lighting. Today, many cameras also have a hue adjustment that trims the white balance setting just enough to produce more vivid colours without ruining the overall shot.

One manual example of playing with white balance is the ‘day for night’ trick, where videographers will set the white balance to ‘tungsten’ and underexpose the shot between 1 to 3 stops, creating a night-light scene in the middle of the day.

Post Production White Balance

For the pros, you’ll already have your preference of video editing software, but if you’re just starting out, beginner programs like Filmora are comprehensive enough to correct white balance, add colour filters and much more. Depending on the software, it usually takes little effort to locate an advanced tool designed for this purpose.

Adjust a slider or input some digits, and you’ll quickly see the image get warmer, cooler or just more natural in appearance. If you want to go an extra step, why not tweak it off centre slightly by giving people a slightly warmer hue (it makes them look healthier) or create a more serious tone by adjusting to a cooler-toned hue.