Auto or Manual white balance for long outside video recording?

Teagan wrote on 11/26/2020, 11:23 AM

I'm learning more about my cameras and I sometimes video record events outside that last about 6+ hours from about noon to after dark.

Previously I had my camera set to auto white balance but now I'm wanting to have it be more accurate than that.

I can't find a good guide for this question easily and I don't know if I should show my color checker's white card (near the subject) and set it to that every couple of hours or just set my white balance once. The problem is that I will be recording at high noon and also after dark due to how long this event lasts. This problem came up when I tried to color correct the event after the fact and noticed that the colors changed in a major way multiple times throughout the whole video (warm to very cool). It may not be easy to notice but I do.

What is the best way to keep an accurate white balance for long outside shooting? Manual or auto, how, and why?


Musicvid wrote on 11/26/2020, 3:14 PM

It's a good question. Following.

DougT wrote on 11/26/2020, 8:28 PM

My first response would be MANUAL. And this is why, when you are in AUTO, the camera is constantly adjusting for the lighting conditions, meaning if you go in the shade, if a person with a white shirt leaves the scene and a grey shirt enters, or if the sun moves from in front or behind, your camera will adjust. Now try to color correct in post. It will be vary hard because it is a moving target. If you color balance manual, you have a fixed setting that you can then make adjustments to as necessary. If there is a drastic change, take the time to re-balance (such as moving inside or stadium lights get turned on). That is my 2 cents, take it for what it is worth.

Teagan wrote on 11/27/2020, 3:02 PM

So what do you think about me setting the custom white balance once with my color checker's white card and then, about every hour or two, showing it in the frame so I can correct the video in post every hour or so (the event has long pauses in between performances) with a white balance correction based on that card? Would that be a good method?

Musicvid wrote on 11/27/2020, 3:33 PM

I think you should run comparative tests. I think it depends on your camera's intuitiveness and "reasonableness" with auto WB, and whether that produces a pleasing result over the day's normal lighting shifts.

set wrote on 11/27/2020, 4:00 PM

"long pauses in between performances"?

Based on your description, I think that's the best you can do in the long pause, showing WB card for reference.... Alternatively, I would play with Kelvin Temperature White Balance, if it is in between 5700K-3200K, I may take 4000-4500K, just going for closest white or possible in between that can be corrected later.

Of course, this is just my personal trial-n-error... but one thing for sure, I'll avoiding Auto WB as well.

RogerS wrote on 12/2/2020, 3:17 AM

I think I'd shoot it on daylight WB and then in post somewhat correct the color as the day changes (keyframe it to fade in the correction?)

I think that would work unless you want the last shot to look exactly like the first shot and ignore the passage of time entirely. If you have long pauses you could rewhite balance in camera during each one.