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iStock - Stock Video Training Manual

6.3 - Digital Video Requirements: White Balance

White balance shows the camera what each colour should look like, by giving it a "true white" reference. If a correct white balance is achieved, theoretically all colors in the range will be correct. Most cameras do a good job at white balance using the auto white balance feature. You will notice white balance problems if colors in the clip look blue, yellow, orange or if whites have faint hints of color. Here is a basic tutorial how to achieve the correct white balance with your video camera;

a) Point your camera at a non-reflective, white surface in the same lighting you will be shooting with. White card usually works best.

b) Zoom in on the white surface so that the scene is filled completely with the white surface. In manual mode (most cameras override this setting in auto) set your exposure and press the "White Balance" button on your camera. It usually has a symbol like this "|\/|".

c) Set your white balance often or as often as lighting changes. This can vary by the placement of lights, changing outdoor or indoor conditions.


  • Keep in mind great lighting doesn't have to be expensive
  • A moving light source can be very interesting. Try a light bulb on a string if you feel like being creative. Hold a spotlight and move it around on your subject or behind your subject.
  • Use reflective or non-reflective surfaces to bounce, reflect or soak up light or to subdue shadows.

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