White Balance in Premiere Pro – 2 Methods Compared and How to Check for Correctly Balanced Footage

Paul Shillito Editing / VFX Leave a Comment

If there is something that can almost guaranteed its that your footage will be, unless you are careful with lighting and setup, off in it’s white balance.

Whilst its a simple enough job to set the white balance in the camera before shooting, it is something that many beginners fail to do because they just don’t know how or just leave the camera in auto white balance.

Auto White Balance is fine if you are shooting outside on a sunny day but if you are inside with mixed colour lighting or if you just plain set it wrong, you’ll end up with the white balance incorrectly set then you’ll have to fix it in the edit.

In this video I show you not only how to check for correctly balanced footage but also two methods of how to white balance in Adobe Premier Pro using the fast color corrector and the divide blend mode.

Its not a quick video because I wanted to explain the process in detail unlike many of the videos out there which just show the process but don’t tell you what is going on.

As you will see the heavier the colour cast, the more the work that will be required to bring it back.

You’ll also see that it is rarely a “One Click” process unless there is a only a slight color cast, but the extra work once you know how to do it will get you out of many a hole you could find your self in. Even with tools like the fast colour corrector with it’s White balance option need a lot more tweaking to get it right or as right as you can get it.

Another problem is that unless you have some frame of reference its difficult to get a perfect white balance with your eyes alone. That’s why you should use a proper colour checker card from a company like Xrite at the beginning of each shot to give you something that you know is the correct shade of whites, greys and black with no colour cast.

Items like a piece of white paper or plastic which are often dyed with a hint of blue to make them look brighter white which will skew the results when your trying to balance the footage.

And there is on more final thing and that it is that the footage your using, unless it comes from a pro or semi pro setup with have been encoded with H264 and a colour space of 4:2:0. This is rather unforgiving when making corrections to heavy colour casts due to the fact that such a lot of the colour information has been lost during the encoding process. So it will often be impossible to get a perfect result, you will just have to accept that may have to be as good as you can get it.

Footage shot recorded in formats like ProRes 4:2:2 or better still 4:4:4 or RAW still has most of its colour information intact and will be easier to correct.

YouTube link http://youtu.be/mQbDFmRLogo

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