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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 05 Mar 2012 (Monday) 18:33
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Questions about gels and colour balance.

 
AbPho
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Mar 05, 2012 18:33 |  #1

I am trying to wrap my head around using gels.

I know that gels can be used to


  1. To match the colour cast of the flash to that of ambient lighting. An example would be to use a CTO (change to orange) or a CTS (change to straw) gel to match the flash to tungsten lighting in a room. I would need to set the WB on the camera to Tungsten.
  2. To enhance the colour of ambient light. An example would be to use a CTO again during a sunset to enhance the sky. The camera's WB would be set to Tungsten. A Caucasian subject would be rendered with natural looking skin tones.
  3. To give colour effects to a scene. Arts stuff.


What I want to know how the other camera WB presets change the colour cast. I tried playing around with them but Tungsten is by far the most obvious. The others are so subtle, they are hard to make out.

What other gets would be used and to what effect?

Any pointers or links would be appreciated.

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PhotosGuy
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Mar 05, 2012 21:13 |  #2

Short answer: Shoot RAW & don't worry about it.
Long answer: See for yourself. Take an image of something white in sunlight at all the presets & look at the results. Then do the same thing for each preset in it's recommended light.


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AbPho
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Mar 06, 2012 06:11 as a reply to  @ PhotosGuy's post |  #3

I tried the first half of your long answer suggestion. TUNGSTEN gave the greatest change. The others are so subtle it is hard to see what they are actually doing.


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Curtis ­ N
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Mar 06, 2012 06:47 |  #4

If you're using Adobe Lightroom, you can select the various Lightroom presets and see where they put the color temp and tint sliders. That will help some.

You can also shoot the same scene using various camera presets, then look at them in Lightroom and see where the sliders are. They won't be the same as the Lightroom presets, but you'll get the idea.

Heaven only knows what a "fluorescent" preset will give you. There is so much variation in fluorescent bulbs it's darn near impossible to get it right without a custom white balance.

There are two axis in white balance. Color temperature which goes from amber to blue, and tint which goes from green to magenta. Gels are used to shift the white balance in a particular direction.

Back in the days of film, you could use daylight film and a blue filter on the lens as an alternative to tungsten film.


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AbPho
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Mar 06, 2012 09:47 as a reply to  @ Curtis N's post |  #5

Thanks Curtis.

My Canon dSLR also lets me set a white balance correction (see page 74 of the user manual). Anyone ever use that? The manual mentions that this method can be used instead of putting a colour correction filter on the lens.

I guess I'll look around for some decent gels.


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Hopelessdfilms
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Mar 06, 2012 12:13 as a reply to  @ AbPho's post |  #6

If you are shooting in a controlled lighting situation (where lighting values are not changing) you can set your camera manually to expose properly and then shoot away freely.

With this said, imho the best practice for setting white balance is as follows.

If you're working in a situation where there are mixed lighting sources, ie different color balances, find the lighting that covers the majority of the subject/room. Set your cameras white balance as close to this lighting as possible. Don't spend too much time on this as you can easily and quickly adjust your wb later in processing.

Now that you're set to the majority of the lighting, if necessary go to the other lights that are casting a different color cast and wb and correct them...if necessary.

Now in post, assuming you took at least 1 shot with a grey card, calibrate your wb off of the greycard and then copy and apply those adjustments to the rest of your images from that scene.

Since the lighting did NOT change, these adjustments should apply to every other image perfectly.

and done.

just my .o2c




  
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Curtis ­ N
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Mar 06, 2012 15:15 |  #7

AbPho wrote in post #14034961 (external link)
My Canon dSLR also lets me set a white balance correction (see page 74 of the user manual). Anyone ever use that?

The camera is full of "features" that are only useful if you're shooting in JPEG mode and intend to do little or no post-processing.

I shoot RAW and deal with white balance later. I have enough other things to worry about when I'm shooting. Your camera's white balance setting doesn't affect the RAW data or what you can do with it.

However if I'm shooting in a tungsten environment I will set the camera white balance to tungsten, just to make the review image look better and create a more useful RGB histogram.


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AbPho
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Mar 06, 2012 17:22 as a reply to  @ Curtis N's post |  #8

The cool thing about learning is that at first there is sooooo much information coming in. My brain gets overloaded and I'm thinking about all this stuff. At first I would try to imitate images that I have seen. Then as I start to understand I naturally come up with my own ideas. As the experience grows, a certain level of zen (inner camera peace) is attained.

I just wish I had people to photograph so that I could practice and learn. :(

PS: Gels are fun. I have a nice red one. I call this picture "Martian Robot".


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PhotosGuy
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Mar 06, 2012 23:12 |  #9

I call this picture "Martian Robot".

"Carnelian Carter"!


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JTW_Jr
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Mar 07, 2012 00:05 |  #10

I shoot using the XRite Color Checker Passport , solves that whole white balance thing pretty well :)


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AbPho
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Mar 07, 2012 07:16 |  #11

PhotosGuy wrote in post #14040280 (external link)
"Carnelian Carter"!

I do not get the reference. And Google does not either. :(

One thing I want to point out is that I am not always after a perfect white balance. I believe that different colour casts set the mood / location of a shot.

Currently reading Hot Shoe Diaries (HSD), and The Speedliter's Handbook is soon to follow. Good example in HSD but applying that at the scene will be another thing.


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boerewors
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Mar 07, 2012 08:10 |  #12

Shooting RAW in florecent lighting and using flash for fill will not work out perfectly without using a green gel.


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[Hyuni]
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Mar 07, 2012 08:27 |  #13

A creative way to use gels is to make things look warmer or cooler than they really are.
For example, you can use a CTB (blue gel) and adjust your WB in post to make the room look a lot warmer than it really is, or the opposite, use a CTO and correct subject WB in post to make it look cooler. I recently used a light purple gel to get my background to have a greenish (matrix style) tint.


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PhotosGuy
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Mar 07, 2012 09:54 |  #14

AbPho wrote in post #14041671 (external link)
I do not get the reference. And Google does not either. :(

"Carnelian" = brownish-red, & Martian Carter gets Martian Carter (external link)

Or Martian Robot Carter = Martian Robot Carter (external link)


FrankC - 20D, RAW, Manual everything...
Classic Carz, Racing, Air Show, Flowers.
Find the light... A few Car Lighting Tips, and MOVE YOUR FEET!
Have you thought about making your own book? // Need an exposure crutch?
New Image Size Limits: Image must not exceed 1600 pixels on any side.

  
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AbPho
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Mar 07, 2012 11:39 |  #15

[Hyuni wrote:
='[Hyuni];14042035']..​.I recently used a light purple gel to get my background to have a greenish (matrix style) tint.

Do you have a link?


boerewors wrote in post #14041917 (external link)
Shooting RAW in florecent lighting and using flash for fill will not work out perfectly without using a green gel.

Correct. For mixed lighting RAW means nothing in terms of correcting white balance in post.


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