Shifting Color Without Changing Controls

A quick way to change the color in your video without tweaking the camera controls is to balance on a card that isn't white. Substituting a piece of light-blue poster board for the customary white card will add a little warmth to any scene. This is because the white balance circuit will offset the camera's nominal setting when you instruct it to make a blue card appear white. A little experimenting with various shades of blue poster board from an art supply store will let you match the shade of blue to the effect you desire.

The same technique is also useful in certain sports venues--such as ice rinks where high-efficiency discharge lighting is in use--where the ice ends up being recorded with a green or magenta cast despite your best efforts at obtaining an accurate balance. Balancing on a piece of art card that contains a trace of the color you are trying to eliminate should help fool the camera into delivering more pleasing images.

Keeping color balance under control when you're in "run & gun" mode is a lot easier if you can avoid changing filters and rely on the camera's A/B switch to instantly flip between two previously memorized balance settings. This can be a real scene-saver when following action from daylight to tungsten lighting. Believe it or not, unless it's too bright outside, your camera should be perfectly capable of achieving a daylight balance with the No. 1 filter.

Coming up next: Tips on holding a camera steady when shooting with a handheld.