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VIDEO TUTORIAL: How To Fix Baked-In White Balance Issues With Color Correction

Filmmakers, editors and budding colorists often ask me some variation of : How do I fix white balance issues in post? Or – What’s the best method for fixing color temperature?

We’ve all been there at some point – We’re editing a scene or reviewing raw footage and come across a clip that just doesn’t match.

All our other shots might look perfect. They have balanced color palettes and look great straight out of the camera… But this one shot or scene sticks out. It’s either far too warm or far too cold, and clearly has not been white balanced properly.

This is one of the most common issues you’ll come across as an editor or colorist. Thankfully, it can be remedied by reversing color temperature to create a more neutral baseline.

If you are working with a RAW format, this is very easy to achieve, as you simply change your white balance setting retroactively. But for those of us working in compressed formats (like H264 or ProRes), we need to take a more careful approach.

As I demonstrate in the short video tutorial below, it’s all about paying attention to skin tones, avoiding global adjustments, and following the correct order of operations –  Which is especially relevant if you plan to use color grading LUTs.

This week’s video tutorial covers all this and more. As with some of my other tutorials, I use Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve to demonstrate. That said, these are fundamental principles which can be applied no matter what software you use.

So sit back, relax and enjoy this quick color lesson!

If you enjoyed this tutorial, leave a comment and let me know. I’d also love suggestions for future installments. Drop me a line if you have a color related topic you want covered.

And don’t forget to check out my new color grading platform CINECOLOR.IO, which hosts all my Cinematic LUTs.

You can also access my Cinematic Color Grading Masterclass here.

And for more content like this, be sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

About Author

Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!

2 Comments

  • Richard
    April 1, 2019 at 6:46 am

    I’m a wee bit confused. On the one hand you say we should get our colors to a neutral place before you start the creative part of the grade, which I understand. But in the video you’re using you made a conscious choice to set your white balance set to push the image toward blue.

    To me those two ideas contradict each other. Are you saying that shooting to get balanced relatively accurate colors is the safe and sane choice while baking in your white balance like you did is something that’s a more advanced technique?
    Thanks—RS

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      April 3, 2019 at 6:00 pm

      Sorry for the confusion Richard! Normally, you want your white balance set as close to your final look as possible. That will usually be neutral, but in some cases you might balance it to be a bit warmer/cooler if you plan to stylize it in post.

      I simply used our blue-looking footage as an example of how to reverse cool color palettes, since it’s common for filmmakers to set their white balance incorrectly. Hope this helps to clarify!

      Reply

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