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White Balance Reference System By Stephen Schleicher
Letís face it, we would all love to have video that delivers warm rich colors, but the problem is in the way that CCD cameras react to light. Yes, you can spend hours and hours tweaking the lighting, trying to get the desired results, but a simpler solution might be to adjust the way the camera perceives white. Enter WarmCards from

If you have been working in the video world for any amount of time, you know the importance of white balancing your camera. As we move from indoors to outdoors and as we move from room to room with a variety of different lights, our eyes automatically adjust to the variations in color temperature so what we perceive as white is white. However, cameras are essentially dumb units and donít know what the color white is, until you use a white reference card and tell it. As long as the lighting conditions donít change you are okay, but if you move to a new location, you have to white balance again.

What some people are not aware of is how you can manipulate the internal color wheel of a camera to make it think another color is white. If, for example, you were to make the camera think that the color blue is white, the internal color wheel of the camera would shift more toward the yellow/orange side to compensate. This of course would cause your image to tint toward that range. If you practice enough, you can achieve all sorts of weird color results by white balancing on other colors.

It is the practice part that most people donít want to deal with. Instead of going out and trying to find the right gel to place over the lens of the camera or purchasing a variety of different shades of light blue paper at the stationary store, it would be better to have a preset system ready for you. That is where the WarmCards come in.

Playing off the color wheel shift, WarmCards is a collection of five cards in various shades of blue that warm your image when you use them for white balancing. As long as you understand the white balance shifting theory, you also understand how great these cards can be.

Most of us generally try and find a white sheet of paper to white balance on, but that can be troublesome as marks on the paper, weather conditions (rain and wind), and the flimsiness of the paper can cause problems. WarmCards are laminated, so they will stand up to the wind and rain, and are sturdy enough that you could lean them up against something if you are working as a one man band. I have found that they are slightly prone to warping, but there are no bad light reflections from the laminate, so the slight bend is not a problem for me. To help protect the cards even more, they do come in a nice zippered case for easy transport.

The base WarmCards package comes with three color cards Warm 1, Warm 2, and Warm 3, which, as the name suggests, warm the image. If you think the warming is too intense, you can also purchase the WarmCards Plus Pak, which includes a Warm Ĺ and Minus Green card for shooting under florescent lights. To sweeten the deal, when you purchase the WarmCards, you not only get the large 6"x10" cards, you also get a set of smaller 3"x4" cards on a lanyard. You can simply hang the small cards around your neck for quick access.

If you would rather white balance on a white card, the backside of every WarmCard has a 100 IRE white backing.

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Related Keywords:warmcards, white balancing, schleicher, coloring, color wheel

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  • WarmCards by DMN Editorial at Aug. 03, 2004 11:51 pm gmt (Rec'd 2)

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