When shooting in the field, it's often worth the effort to calibrate your camera. By manually setting your white balance, you increase the chance of proper color. Each camera is a little different (so look up the specifics in your manual). What we want to talk about now is using a consistent source to white balance during both the production and postproduction stages.
Here are two tools that are affordable and portable, and can help you calibrate cameras in the field and double-check color balance in post:
- QPcard (www.qpcard.se). A cheap and easy way to address color calibration is to use a fresh calibration card when shooting. One option is the disposable QPcard. Priced at less than $5 per card, this is a great investment in accurate color. Simply use the adhesive strip to adhere one to your clapboard at the start of each day of shooting, and you’ll have a great source for checking color balance in post. With a white, black, and neutral gray surface, it is very easy to use the Three-Way Color Corrector when color correcting. In most cases, it will only take three to calibrate each camera.
- Photovision One Shot (www.photovisionvideo.com). This calibration device offers a black, white, and gray stripe to color calibrate. The other side is a white reflector to help bounce light on set. What’s great about it is that it is reusable and can fold to a small size to fit into a camera bag. Various sizes are available, from 6-inch targets to wear around your neck to 34-inch targets for large multicamera events.
For more on DSLR video, check out From Still to Motion.