Gels are free and maybe they work for you. They used to work for me unti i got the warm cards. No comparison. I'm not saying you should get them, but I would never leave home without 'em. To each his own, but don't knock them til you tried them. How do YOU know gels work just as good?
Well I haven't done a side by side test, but the cards are doing the same thing as the gels...manipulating the color temperature. I can get any color temperature I want with my gel swatches. So, no I'm not saying the gels are better, just saying they work great for me. Like you with the warm cards, I don't leave home without my gel swatches.
p.s. The swatches I'm talking about are the ones that are used as gel/diffusion samples for people who are ordering the aforementioned. They're intended use is a catalog, but they work great when you stick them in front of your lens and want to play w/your white balance. Before you do this though make sure you understand color temp or that you use a color monitor to check things out.
My reference to using a monitor with the gels pertained to using it for your first couple times out, or actually testing the process before heading out into the field. I would think that the same thing would apply to the warm cards. Once you know what the different gels/gradients of warm cards do then you can get rid of the monitor. It's not about being "cheap," but just making sure that you know what your camera is seeing. You're much braver than I if you're going to white balance on 3/4 blue without ever seeing it on a color monitor. If I'm "cheap" I guess that makes you lazy.
I only use a monitor when setting up for interviews. I certainly am not going to drag a monitor around with me for b-roll, outdoors, etc. -- just to check color everytime I white balance. It's not unusual for me to white balance a dozen or more times during a day and I'm rarely connected to a monitor. If that makes me lazy, I'd say that makes you insecure about your method of white balancing.
White balancing through a flimsy piece of gel is not as easy or as fool proof as using the warm cards. I've done it both ways thousands of times, and beleive me, warm cards are easier, faster, and more conisistent. When I DO use a monitor, it's to check the composistion, lighting, contrast, etc. for the client, it ain't just to check color. I know what the color it going to look like without a monitor.
My original point was to someone who might not be too sure what the resuting white balance will look like- i.e. someone who doesn't have a firm grasp of color temperature.
And by the way Blueboy gels are just as good as warm cards. If a normal whitebalance at a sit-down interview comes in at 2900K, and I want to up it to 3200K it's going to be the same regardless if I use your beloved warm cards or a gel swatch.
Steede, you are right that both methods to manipulate the white balance can have the same effect. No argument there. However, you stated earlier that you weren't brave enought to use a 3/4 gel without a monitor to check the results. Well, I wouldn't want to either. Once again, no argument there. But warmcards are different. You don't need to be "brave" to use them. That's the difference. I can trust my beloved warmcards, but I won't trust a swatch of gel. Sounds like you won't trust the gel either, but don't want to admit (or don't understand) that warmcards give you the peace of mind gels can't.
But, yes, all things being equal, the results are the same. But can you be sure without a monitor? I don't risk it, and I don;t carry a monitor around 100% of the time.
I guess we can agree that we both have a system that works. I too rarely use a color monitor. Don't have the time to use one as much as I like, but if you know your craft, which it sounds like you do, you don't really need one too often, though it is nice when you can utilize one.
As for my 3/4 blue comment, I guess I was throwing out a hypothetical scenario. I usually only bump it up a little- 1/4, 1/3, or 1/2 blue is enough for my camera and personal tastes, unless I'm shooting a sunset, scenic beauty shot..etc.
Hey, I have found a cheap alternative to warm cards... I have only found these on eBay but they are called Shooters Blues. They are small warm cards and are great. The only downside is that they only come in the light blue and the light green but other than that they are great! And the best part they only run like ten dollars. The sellers name is porsche21 if you want to check them out.
Stay away from these cheap knockoffs. A guy at our station bought one and it's not the same thing at all as the warm cards the rest of us have. It's shiny, too small, and doesn't give the same color. We tested it and it's not the same. If you really want to save a few bucks on the regular warm cards just buy the smaller digitcal camera pack they sell. Don't mess around with the quality of your video just to save a buck, it ain't worth it.