DSLRs are a powerful and popular tool for creating video, but it’s likely that very few users of this fairly new product category have gone deep into its settings. For taking pictures and the occasional video, the defaults are fine, but if you’re interested in putting a little more love into your production, it pays to know a few tweaks you can make.
Stillmotion has put together an informative and well-made little video describing the fundamentals of white balance and a few obscure or hidden features that you can use to personalize your video before it even hits the SD card.
It’s Canon-specific, but still worth checking out if you’re new to, say, a Nikon or Pentax system. Check it out:
Sure, some of the changes aren’t really visible unless you’re looking for them, but even the little things matter. They can also affect the way you think, as he notes a few minutes in: you start noticing the temperature of the light, thinking about how your apartment would look with more sunlight and less tungsten.
Color is a powerful tool for expression, even when you don’t know what you’re doing. A while back I accidentally had my camera set to a cooling white balance while shooting outside in a warm afternoon light, and all my pictures had an icy, bright cast that at first bothered me but soon delighted me. I hadn’t thought of the urchins and buoys and things I’d shot as looking any way other than the way I saw them. Yet with a slight change in environment, they would look completely different. I didn’t “correct” the white balance after the fact because it ended up being a unique and interesting take — that I can’t exactly take credit for.
They’re going to have a second tutorial later in the month for post-processing color effects. If you haven’t played with Lightroom or Aperture (to say nothing of Photoshop and the like), you owe it to yourself to give one a try. The versatility of DSLRs made me fall in love with photography all over again, and as nerdy as it sounds, knowing my way around menus and applications was a big part of that.