How to gauge colour temperature for your shots.
Tungsten and daylight settings are the most widely used white balance values, but some situations call for more nuance. Sets that use mixed light sources are a common case where you need to rely on your eye more than any set rule. For example, an indoor scene with light coming through a window will show different colour temperatures across the frame.
In these situations, establish what the dominant light is and balance to that. If they’re both fairly equal, split the difference. You have to know the rules to break the rules. “Cinematography is a lot like cooking,” says Leonard. “You should know the recipe, but at the end of the day your taste has to be the final determinator. Know your numbers and settings and how to qualify their accuracy using tools like scopes. If it doesn’t look right, change it. Your eye is always going to be the compass for whether your image looks good or not, so make sure your monitors are properly calibrated.”
Videographer Hiroshi Hara advises you to manually choose your white balance. “Usually I choose either tungsten or daylight balance as a starting point and adjust my temperature based on the situation,” says Hara. Build your set around one colour temperature so you don’t have competing white balances. “The less manipulation you have to do later in post the better. You want to nail your shot in-camera as much as possible,” says Hara.
Using colour temperature in post-production editing.
The decisions you make in the field become critical in the post-production phase, where your colour balance influences the colour grading process. There are two sides to this process: colour correction and colour grading.