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Archive 2012 · Balancing Color Temperature - Gels, White Balance Tools, ...
  
 
sherijohnson
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Balancing Color Temperature - Gels, White Balance Tools, Etc.


I have a shoot coming up where there is overhead ceiling lighting, most likely fluorescent lighting, I may want to add some additional lighting. I am curious if there is a chart or some kind of resource that helps make sense of how to blend lighting or figure out your idea color temperatures and/or white balance.

I think this is one thing I could work on to improve my workflow and processing.

I do a lot of wedding work, so when I do that kind of work, lighting can change from one spot to another and it might be more complicated.

I just appreciate any insight especially with this upcoming project where the lighting will be more constant throughout the shoot.

Please feel free to share how you approach these things, examples, products used, etc. I want to make it easy to figure out for any given lighting situation how to deal with these things.

Thank you!!!



Sep 19, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Steve Wylie
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Balancing Color Temperature - Gels, White Balance Tools, Etc.


Two ideas: (1) if you're shooting strobes in a mixed lighting environment and can't simply turn off the existing lights, try to set your exposure to render the ambient environment a "black box", i.e. underexpose by lowering ISO and setting shutter speed to your max sync speed. Then, all the lighting you use to properly expose your scene is lighting that you bring and can control. (2) I had a shoot this past week using Spiderlites to shoot corporate head shots in a room with ambient fluorescent lighting. I couldn't get rid of the ambient, so I simply used a Passport color checker to create a custom dng profile of that specific environment with the fluorescents and the Spiderlites, and used it to balance my exposures. In this case, although the fluorescent-lit areas of the room weren't part of the environment I wanted to capture in my frame, they did influence the color matrix. The Passport color checker and resulting dng profile took care of that.

If, on the other hand, you need to mix whatever ambient lighting exists in an environmental portrait, then you can do two things: (1) "correct" for the ambient lighting with the selection of the best available white balance option on your camera, offset by the opposite color gel on your lights, or (2) push your ambient conditions to a logical extreme and then compensate with appropriately gelled flash. This is a technique that Joe McNally uses very effectively. For example, he'll be in an office environment at mid-day, set his white balance to tungsten and underexpose the shot severely, to create a deep blue late afternoon look in the sky, the office, and the person in it, then bring in one or more small flashes gelled with CTO to compensate for the tungsten white balance, to selectively light the most important element, the person being photographed. In this application, the small flashes are tucked in behind computer screens or other out-of-view places and used very selectively to light the person, not broadly to create a wash of flash-lit environment.

Hope this helps.



Sep 19, 2012 at 04:51 PM
sherijohnson
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Balancing Color Temperature - Gels, White Balance Tools, Etc.


the interesting part, this will be in a gym, may or may not be people in the images, or just to where people can't be identified. anyway, just want to come up with a game plan to get the best images possible and I know they likely want it to look like it normally does in there, but I may try some lighting effects, etc.


Sep 19, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Steve Wylie
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Balancing Color Temperature - Gels, White Balance Tools, Etc.


Okay, that tells me something more. Gym lighting can be really funky, but there's an easy fix. I shoot a lot of high school dance competitions, which in my area are held in gyms rather than on stage. Gym lighting, even (or especially) new gym lighting, can vary significantly from light fixture to light fixture, and from shot to shot, especially if you shoot at 1/250 or faster. Gym lights cycle rapidly from green to magenta. The naked eye doesn't usually pick up on it, unless you're really sensitive to it. My suggestion is to start with Average White Balance and keep your shutter speed down below 1/125 or thereabouts. That will enable the cycling of all the fixtures to be complete, giving you nice white light. Your LCD screen will tell you if you've gotten it right. If you have to go up to 1/250 or faster to freeze motion, well, you're pretty much hosed, as each frame will be different. I'm not aware of any "global" correction method for that.

From there, if you want to try some lighting effects, your decision might be dictated by how much of the area you want to light. If it's selected small areas, I'd stick with average white balance and not bother with gelling your flashes. If the "real estate" of your shot is primarily flash-lit, then change your WB to flash. Either way, I would probably not bother with gels or other color correction strategies.



Sep 19, 2012 at 09:33 PM
sherijohnson
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Balancing Color Temperature - Gels, White Balance Tools, Etc.


not sure we are talking about the same kind of lights, this is in a strip shopping center with drop ceiling, fluorescent lights in the ceiling, fitness center type place with weight lifting equipment, cardio, etc. That is what I am dealing with. I did a courthouse wedding a few weeks back with the same kind of lights and it is tricky stuff, luckily that was over fast and I didn't have too many images to edit. Anyway, that is what I am dealing with here and there is definitely a color balance type issue with this type of lighting.



Sep 20, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Steve Wylie
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Balancing Color Temperature - Gels, White Balance Tools, Etc.


Okay, sorry. I thought you meant a gymnasium. I guess I'd go back to my first response.


Sep 20, 2012 at 04:53 AM
sherijohnson
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Balancing Color Temperature - Gels, White Balance Tools, Etc.


thanks for sharing the info, I looked up some things and read what is on strobist about the fluorescent lights, it does not sound like something that is easy to deal with... but I am hoping it's not too bad. I did order some gels to try out. I think I will do some test shots and adjust the WB setting on the camera and see what happens.


Sep 20, 2012 at 03:29 PM
JBPhotog
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Balancing Color Temperature - Gels, White Balance Tools, Etc.


I'd strongly suggest you do a site visit and check out the actual lights to see what WB they are. Easy enough by shooting a WB card and then in post determining the actual WB of the ambient, shoot Raw. Then you can apply that same gel combo to your strobes.

For example: Cool White FL lamps generally need a CC30M to correct them for daylight so by using the opposite on your strobes, as in a Lee 213 or Rosco 88 you are essentially turning your strobes into high output FL. Selecting Cool White in post in your Raw converter will balance everything out. Now if they are some funky combo you may need to combine gels to get it right. Recently I had to stack a Lee 213+Rosco 1/4CTO+1/8CTO to get the flash balance to match the ambient.



Sep 21, 2012 at 12:35 AM
 

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BrianO
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Balancing Color Temperature - Gels, White Balance Tools, Etc.


sherijohnson wrote:
thanks for sharing the info, I looked up some things and read what is on strobist about the fluorescent lights, it does not sound like something that is easy to deal with...


Sometimes going to extremes in correction can work well, and is easier than trying for an exact match.

For example, many fluorescent lights have a greenish tinge to them, and unless you're shooting flowers and shrubs in a nursery, greenish background lights don't look good to most people. But if you put a strong green gel on your strobes and then correct for that green with your white balance setting, even if you over-correct, the subject will be lit correctly by the strobes and the background lights will take on a more-pleasing tint.



Sep 21, 2012 at 05:19 AM
PShizzy
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Balancing Color Temperature - Gels, White Balance Tools, Etc.


fluorescent lights still cycle, similar to the mercury vapor lights at a gymnasium, at 50-60hz (60hz in US I believe)

If you are shooting still subjects (inanimate), you could shoot it at any multiple of 1/60th or longer. So 1/60th would get you 1 complete cycle, 1/30th would get you two, 1/15th would get you four.

I would shoot at least 1/30th, as shutter speeds are not exact enough, and with more cycles you would get lower error deviation.

You could do a site visit, testing the white balance at one of these shutter speeds by shoot at "flash" WB preset, then noting what color a grey card shows up. That tint would be the gel color you need on any lights you bring into the equation, in order for your lights to match the fluorescent lights in the area. Usually its a plusgreen, pretty common color gel. The other popular one is CTO (color temperature orange), for tungsten lighting.

You could overpower the ambient, but if you do that, and the lights show up in the frame, they will be tinted a different color depending on what phase you caught them in. the rest of the image would be fine (since you *did* overpower ambient)

If you need more details, let me know.



Sep 22, 2012 at 04:54 PM
bbasiaga
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Balancing Color Temperature - Gels, White Balance Tools, Etc.


There are a lot of tricks, but the easiest for me is to gel the strobes to match the existing light. Hopefully the florescent are green as they always are, and you can put the fluorescent correcting filter from your gel pack on your strobes, set the white balance to fluorescent, and shoot away.

Its pretty hard to kill ambient in some of those places, but that is the next best option if they are a strange color.



-Brian



Sep 24, 2012 at 03:07 AM
sherijohnson
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Balancing Color Temperature - Gels, White Balance Tools, Etc.


lots of good info here, I am still quite confused by some of this, but I am determined to get a handle on it. I got some gels delivered yesterday. I am wondering if there are any good video tutorials to be had because I think that could be helpful making sense of how to tackle determining what kind of light it is and how to balance it all out.


Sep 26, 2012 at 12:15 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Balancing Color Temperature - Gels, White Balance Tools, Etc.


sherijohnson wrote:
lots of good info here, I am still quite confused by some of this, but I am determined to get a handle on it.


Not a video, and a bit technical, but this page might help you as a starting point:

http://www.rosco.com/filters/roscolux.cfm?menuReturn=photo

It lists various gels and tells what each one corrects for or is best used for.

Also this page from Lowel:

http://www.lowel.com/edu/light_controls/gels.html


Edited on Sep 27, 2012 at 06:54 PM · View previous versions



Sep 26, 2012 at 07:46 PM
sherijohnson
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Balancing Color Temperature - Gels, White Balance Tools, Etc.


Thanks Brian


Sep 27, 2012 at 03:16 AM
ravisrajan
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Balancing Color Temperature - Gels, White Balance Tools, Etc.


BrianO wrote:
Not a video, and a bit technical, but this page might help you as a starting point:

http://www.rosco.com/filters/roscolux.cfm?menuReturn=photo

It lists various gels and tells what each one corrects for or is best used for.

Also this page from Lowel:

http://www.lowel.com/edu/light_controls/gels.html

Brian, Could you please advise what kind of gel pack/kit I should order?



Sep 28, 2012 at 01:58 AM
BrianO
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Balancing Color Temperature - Gels, White Balance Tools, Etc.


ravisrajan wrote:
Brian, Could you please advise what kind of gel pack/kit I should order?


To start out, one of the sample packs from Rosco would work well; you can tape the gels onto your Speedlites to practice with them.

Once you figure out which ones you use most often, you can order a few larger sheets of each to use with your Einstein.

Here's the sample pack I would start with:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/45184-REG/Rosco_950SBCNG0103_Cinegel_Swatchbook.html



Sep 28, 2012 at 04:18 AM





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