Understanding DSLR Color Shift, White Balance, and Color Profiles

When it comes to giving great tutorials on DSLR video, the guys at Stillmotion are full of helpful tips and tricks. This latest video discusses some of the advantages you have in setting your camera's white balance and color profiles. Since DSLR cameras still do not allow you to record in a RAW format, you must make many decisions in camera much like you would if you were shooting jpeg (which is great for events like weddings). Lee and I are big fans of getting it right in camera which is crucial when filming video because a compressed video has so much less room for error than a large 12+ megapixel photograph. Seeing real time comparisons of how white balance, sharpness, contrast, and color shifts can change the look of your final video is really helpful and should become a part of your workflow everytime you start filming video. Hopefully many of you can use this info when filming your BTS contest videos. We've featured Stillmotion a lot here on Fstoppers so be sure to check out their older videos as well.

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cool, very informative for understandig my canon camera

thanks guys!

Is there a Nikon equivalent?!?! Well, i should probably invest in a dslr video camera too i guess

Patrick Hall's picture

Canon and Nikon both share these features.  The photo profiles are named differently but you can still adjust Kelvin, "white balance shifting", saturation, contrast, sharpening etc on almost all Nikons and Canons.  

Tulaga Whitcombe's picture

Extremely informative... thanks for that. What's your opinion Patrick on the Technicolor Cinestyle? I use it alot but I'm finding that the image isn't sharp enough for me(blurry & washed out even after adding contrast in post) and also problems with skin tones...

Patrick Hall's picture

tell me what Technicolor Cinestyle is first :)  Is that software or a setting?  

The Cinestyle is a very flat profile.
"Q: How does it help the cinematographer?
A: The Technicolor CineStyle provides better dynamic range of the
captured content. This allows for greater artistic freedom during
shooting (as the look does not have to locked in during shooting) as
well as during the color correction process in postproduction."



"Q: What does it do to the image?

A: When the Technicolor CineStyle is selected in the camera it puts
the standard H.264 REC709 color space into a log color space. Video
images are recorded in log space. Still images are also converted into
the same log color space. This is the first implementation of its kind
for the Canon EOS line of cameras."


J G Harding's picture

It's most useful for lifting the blacks out of the area of the most aggressive compression, so it pedestals them at recording. It also protects highlights very well, but the downside is that the extra dynamic range sacrifices some tonal smoothness. You get a less natural skintone.

Patrick Hall's picture

Well we shoot on Nikons which do not allow for this profile.  I usually find that I crush the blacks down in post anyways and I personally like some blown highlights.  Obviously having complete control afterwards is always a nice benefit but if you have a particular style (like we have with every FS original for the most part) then it's awesome just letting the camera apply your preferred settings.  

Shannon Wimberly's picture

again...... thank you.... no... really... I JUST TRIED ALL THIS ON MY 5D!!!!  THIS HAS CHANGED MY LIFE!!!! MY GOD THIS IS AMAZING!!!! THANK YOU!!!!

Anonymous's picture

Great information..
thanks for the video guys!

Nicholas Gonzalez's picture

Definitely gonna run some in-camera tests for my upcoming tutorial. You, know, just as much as us photographers can get caught up, if not intimidated, in the gear of the craft, we can also get caught up in the how-to-do-it-right-using-software-you-can't-afford-yet mentality. Lately I've heard nothing but "Cinestyle, Cinestyle," "color corrections in post only." And all that is fine, but what if all we have is i-movie or some other basic video program but want to put out the best we can, regardless of gear. Man, do we have so much creative power by just doing it in-camera. You look at this video and think "Duh! Of course!" Simple. When in doubt, keep it simple. 

Awesome video.

Shannon Wimberly's picture

I seriously would never question Stillmotions approach to anything.... If Patrick says how to do something, I would tend to take his word for it..... and use that technique myself.

O'nev's picture

i have noticed the WB shift option in the mark iv but just have not had the time to investigate it further till i watched this video.

would it be advisable altering the WB shift if shooting stills to achieve a different look in camera ?

Nice Lady Productions's picture

If you know the look you're going for why do it in post when the camera can often get the exact look you want? If you're shooting black and white you would light for black and white (contrast/light/shadows), so you would want to light the scene a certain way, same with a picture styles/colour tone/white balance: they are tools to be used. Great video.

Patrick Hall's picture

I agree to some point.  I actually think cameras do a poor job with black and white so I'd recommend doing that in post.  Plus if you ever want to add some slight color to the final output it's always nice having the color there. But I agree, many times I spend the extra little time to get it right in camera and let the camera's software lock everything down.

Anonymous's picture

Thank you for sharing. Very informative video.

Anonymous's picture

Anyone know what kind of adapter is being used on the monopod to connect the camera?

O'nev's picture
Randy Richards's picture

A very informative video. I love the quality of work that the stillmotion team puts into all their productions. 

Greg Pettit's picture

Very useful and interesting. Doesn't hurt that the subject matter happened to be a fighter, being that I'm an MMA fan. ;-) I wish to God I could mute or at least turn down the soundtrack music, though! ;-)