April 30, 2001 tips & tricks

From: b-roll.net FORUM

I’ve been having some problems recently – shot three interviews in the last week which have been orange. I white balanced before each interview – got the subject to hold up a white card in front of their face. All interviews were outdoors, shot with the sun behind the subject (backlight etc). My Sony 537 doesn’t give a colour temperature reading. Any suggestions would be appreciated, as the organisation I work for is severely lacking in experienced operators. I’ve been shooting for 2 years, and find I’m now the most experienced operator.

If the sun is behind the subject (backlit) and they hold the white card up in front of their face, then you would be balancing on the "shade" side of the card. The color temp of that white balance would be up around 6.8 to 8 depending on the other conditions. Your camera is compensating for the shade (much bluer than the sunlight) rather than for the actual light. This causes your camera to turn orange. The bluer the light, the oranger the camera compensates. Using a color corrected light on the subject’s face, or a soft reflector for the sunlight would eliminate the problem. I hope that helps.

Learn from your mistakes Phillip. This "problem" that you happened on really isn’t a problem. You are now aware that if you want to warm up a sunset for instance you can white balance in the shade. This will, in effect, do the same thing you’ve been doing and give you a nice warm color temp. Not good for interviews but it does have its place.

sometimes you have to make them squint, it makes them and you look better… unless you can get totally in the shade, then just make sure you don’t have sun spots poking all over through the trees. i am using dvc-pro and sometimes despite the white balnce and temp those things tend to go on the blue side.


Try bouncing a bit of light back to your subject, using a relector board or even a bit of poly. Also take into account where it is you are doing your interview. eg. if you are doing it on a football field (backlit) the only light that is reflecting onto your subject is the green reflecting from the grass (so if you balance with the whitecard pointing slightly to the sky then you are not getting a true balance of what is lighting your subject)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.