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09
Jul

Many cinematographers use warm and cool cards, like the DSCLabs White N’ Warm cards, to create a look in camera. By white balancing your camera on a card with warm (red) color the camera will produce a cooler (blue) balance. The opposite is also true; a cool (blue) card will give a warm (red) white balance. If you white balance off the same card in different lighting environments, then you can consistently achieve the same warm or cool look. What many people don’t know is that this same method can also be achieved in camera through white balance offsets. This option is available in many pro cameras and is simple to set. Depending on the camera, an offset can be applied to the preset, A or B white balance settings. The offset works simply by adjusting the white balance to be cooler or warmer. Just like using the same warm/cool card, the offset will be applied to any white balance that you run. The advantage to using the offset over using the cards is that you can white balance off any white surface and still get the look you are after (of course a nice white card is still advised, if available). Here are a couple examples of how this is set in different cameras.

On the Panasonic HPX370, HPX300, HPX170 and HVX200, the white balance offset is found in the Scene Menu.

HPX370 with a Cool Offset

HPX370 with a Warm Offset

On the EX1, EX1R and EX3, the white balance offset is found under the Picture Profile -> White Menu. Notice below that the warm and cool looks have opposite values when compared to the Panasonic cameras.

EX3 with a Warm Offset

EX3 with a Cool Offset

On the HDX900, HPX2000, HPX2700, HPX3000 and HPX3700, the white balance offset is under the Paint -> RB Gain Control. Here you can adjust both a red and blue value for each white balance setting (preset, A and B). The reason it is called “Gain Control” is because an offset is really a very subtle gain increase in one color channel, but not to worry, it won’t add an noticeable noise to your image.

Offsets are under Gain Control

On the PDW700 and PDWF800, the white balance offset is under the Paint -> White. Here they allow you to set an offset for both red and blue for A and B. The Preset white balance can also be adjusted in another menu.

Offsets are in the White Menu

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