White balance and why should not be left in auto

I want to talk a little bit about white balance, what is it, and why is so important to make sure you set it right.

The white balance

Sure you have a camera or maybe you are considering to buy one, for making videos or photos, one of the option you can change is white balance or color temperature, depending on the light source of the environment you are in, you might notice your footage or photo doesn’t look quite natural, the frame is immersed into a  yellow or blue tonality, it means that the white is not really white and black is not really black, the temperature of the shot is too high or too low. This is mostly notable when you use your camera in a close environment with yellow bulp or led lights, the entire frame will have a yellowish tone. Now because of auto white balance you might not notice this since the camera try to auto balance the light every time it change.

After taking videos you want to edit them to merge them together, maybe add some effects, color grade it and make a good film, the problem with auto white balance arise in this moment, when you need to color correct all your footages to have the same white balance. If you keep the auto white balance, you will end up having many clips with different tonality, or you might see during a video your camera changing the white balance, and it doesn’t have a really professional touch.

Also keep in mind that even tough there is this function on your camera, it doesn’t mean that is perfect, so at the end you need to do the color correction (white balance) in post processing as well. Having one white balance for all your clips reduce drastically the time you need for this process, that frankly is quite boring.

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White balance settings on Canon EOS 200D

Just as a reminder, you might know it or not, the color correction is not color grading where you use your creativity to make your film unique, and creating the atmosphere that you want to give to your film.

So what I do?

What I do is keep the white balance at cloudy, that should be a color temperature between 5700 and 6000 degrees kelvin, if you edit your photos and videos, for me this is the best thing to do, but if you are a casual photographer, just having fun taking pictures without editing them and post them on some social media, than auto white balance is perfectly fine and definitely remove you some work.

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