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Lighting for Film: Simple not Plain

Lesson 5 of 14

Color Temperature & White Balance

Bill Megalos

Lighting for Film: Simple not Plain

Bill Megalos

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Lesson Info

5. Color Temperature & White Balance

Lesson Info

Color Temperature & White Balance

Let's, talk about color real quick because we're going to be playing with the color temperature in the next exercise that we're going to do. When we leave this studio, we're going to be playing with color temperature wouldn't be tricking the camera, okay, um, there's times when you want color to be very neutral and very clear, but most of the times artistically you want to add a little color, you want to warm things up a little or cool them down, just as we were talking about before, you know, maybe maybe the criminal and maybe there's a thing where there's two brothers and it's a cain and abel story or one guy's good one guy's bad and maybe you're filming them, you know, they're one of the bad guy you might be filming him cold and and conscious and the other guy, you might be feeling warm or whatever, so we're sometimes it's it's, very subtle what we're doing because we're pretty subtle people but a color chart, but you see what happens is if the camera is set so that it's a little bi...

t warmer than the light that's in there what'll happen is all these colors will turn out a little bit warmer this this green will turn into this kind of olive green, and this is, uh this pink will become a little bit more orange right so so we can use that to our advantage we can trick the camera we can when we white balance the camera we can tell the camera do this and and it'll it'll it'll just things that way um so these this is one of the tools that we have but in the meantime let's just talk about what what color temperature is color temperature is away we describe the color of the light but doing it sort of scientifically all right um in this in this case right here if the camera is balanced to this these tio these air these fluorescent lights so they have a little bit of we'll have a little bit of green in them I don't know if you guys can see that but there's a little bit of green and normal fluorescent lights but you can see that this is a warm light bulb that you see in a lot of office is not so much anymore but a lot of officers would have warm white cool white is is the more common one it's cheaper it's it puts out more light for what used and then daylight or ones that are really balanced for like grow lights and things like that you can see that with these different color temperatures I don't know if you can see that those numbers there but it's three thousand k four thousand k and six thousand k you can see that the higher the number the colder the light is the more it is towards blue okay this is a six sixty five hundred I'm sorry for kay and three sixty five hundred it's closer to blue alright these colors come from it because there's one well there's one engineer scientists in our group here it's called these air kelvin the case stands for kelvin which is like centigrade but much much higher and these these numbers or what happens if you take what is called a black body radiator which is basically a piece of matter and you burned it at that high high level it would put out that color light so when you talk about red you know when we talking astronomy we talk about the blue door the red door the red giants and the blue dwarfs that's they're talking about the color temperature of those the red ones are burning much much much at a much lower level that's why they're color comes out red and the blue ones are burning at a much higher level which is why they're stuff comes out but for us the way we perceive it you know we all have color has color is is on is on a spectrum just like sound is on a spectrum you know we have we talked about this everybody's heard this roy g bit right what's what's our in roy red orange, yellow green flew into go violence by violence so that that spectrum this is the this is the visible light spectrum, right? White light contains all of these. But if you were to break it down in a prism into the different components of it, this is what we can see. Well, these red, these red have a longer wavelength, and these have a shorter wavelength. Alright, basically they're vibrating it different. So what happens is that if you were to make a film, if you were to look at phil, if you if you look, if you things that are red and warm are never look as sharp on film as as as things that are blue, they never they always look a little bit softer it's because because the wavelengths are longer and it doesn't resolve as well. This is one of the reasons that new sets always have blue in them. You know, when you look in the newsroom set, it's got blue, so it just looks sharper and cleaner, and it doesn't look mushy. Also, the blue is there because it's, in contrast to the warmth of the faces, it makes the people look more alive because the background is blue, so you have to always be careful it was, it was much worse an older analog video if you looked at analog video, you could see that the red sometimes you'd see it looking on a vhs tape, you'd see it almost lifting off the color like almost lifting off of the stark if he made a dub, you'd see that anyway, so so the higher the color temperature, the cooler, the look alright in most video cameras, normally you have three. There are three settings that you normally need to know about daylight, which looks like a sun tungsten, which we use the word before, which looks kind of like a lightbulb, although if you don't have glasses on, you might think the two of them are the same. And then this one is the one that you said um, basically when we say daylight is fifty, six hundred different people rate daylight at different levels, all right in europe, which is further north and here the daylight is actually bluer than it is here. All right, but basically way figure out this daylight we generally people say daylight is between fifty, six hundred two, sixty, five hundred k. Okay, what does that mean? What is daylight? Daylight is a combination of sunlight and skylight, right? When I'm sitting there and the sun is hitting me that there's, the hard sun hitting me, and then the skylight is kind of filling it in right well the actual skylight itself can be over ten thousand or more but the sunlight is warmer it's a lower color temperature maybe it's forty five hundred but together they add them um they kind of average them out to that whereas if it's an overcast day like this morning wass where there's no sun in it and you just seeing those clouds I mean you have a son's up there behind the clouds but the clouds are so filtering it it might be more than ten thousand it might be fifteen thousand it might be if you were to take a picture it would be very cold because if your camera is set for sixty five, fifty six hundred it feels really cool it's cooler than that so we can set our camera to preset to tungsten or to daylight or weaken said it's something in between by doing what's called a white balance where what we do is we we take a white card of some sort piece of paper and we put when we point the camera at it put the camera and automatic focus push that what manual balance and it will adjust to that okay so um I can show you that or weaken you can just take my word for it and we can use it in our and our playing later we can we can do that and we can do that in a minute but basically what happens is just so that you understand too so that why do we do this? Our eyes can see things much better than the camera the camera is much more the camera's muchmore I don't want to say ignorant it's just basic it doesn't have doesn't have all the processing that we have, it stays what it is. So what happens is let's say we've got a situation like remember those two girls in the setting sun with the sun was pink and white if we had that camera set for normal daylight exposure because the light is getting warmer as is going through the haze at the end and we shot this kid in that light he would come out as orange, ok? He would come out as orange because it's that time of day, if we were to take this card and we were to put the card in the orange sunlight and do the white balance on this card and then we were to film the card, the kid he would come out without that color would come out okay, so what the and that's not always a good thing if we want to show that it's sunset and we take that color out when they were taken that away, so we don't want to be white balancing all the time back in the early days of video the engineers were running the show on this that white balance white mouth and everything looks fake and it looked like video and it ended up looking like you know, soap operas so what we need what we need to bear in mind is that if we're shooting indoors with indoor lights which are called tungsten lights which these air basically like this you notice that compared to this which is set up for outdoors this is very warm so if we're shooting if you're shooting if the camera theo if the camera is set for if the camera is set for indoors right thirty two hundred like we're working in a normal studio and we see the and we see the light that's outside it will be you know daylight it will come out blue right because this wants to see a warmer light it's set up for a warmer light so that the light that's outside which is this higher color temperature this sixty five hundred it will turn out blue if the camera is set for if we're using indoor lights right like this light here these tungsten lights then it will come out normal if we have the camera set for daylight six thousand let's say just to be and we're using daylight then everything will look normal but if we're using indoor lights like that or that what color will it be orange alright the scale is toe orange, ok so we can trick this we can play with this can you pull out of full orangina and a half orange and a full blue and a half blue please so um we can also set this manual if we want in between and that's kind of what we're going to do um so these air the ranges of color temperature all right the blue sky by itself with no sun in it is ten thousand overcast day here it says about seven thousand um tungsten lights indoor lights like this indoor movie lights thirty, two hundred household bulbs like that closer to twenty, eight hundred sunrise sunset really warm candlelight which burns not very hot ah thousand so candlelight even if you're no matter what your candles they're going to look orange um we used things called gels because originally they were made out of gelatin two now they're not made out of jelly on their design now that they can handle hot lights you have to be careful with him still you can burn them but pretty much they're they're pretty good originally they were jealous and they burned out very fast but we still call them gels um c t o stands for arn ctb stands for blue so these air designed to correct the light and to end to match things all right so what's happening is the full cto converts fifty five hundred in other words, daylight two twenty, nine hundred or basically six thousand to thirty, two hundred so with with with the full cto you khun you can you can put that in front of a daylight light like this and it will come out right if your camera is set to the to the indoor setting instead of coming out blue and you can have half of it converts it half assed much and accorded converts in his quarters much very often what I'll do is just cause I'm usually work is a documentary cameraman I work by myself I don't have a lot of people toe follow up follow after me so I'll just I'll usually work with just half half orange and half blue and then I will fold it over and double it to make it a full one and I don't have to carry quite a cz much stuff but here take a look at so take a look at this I think if we just waken show them behind the light we show him just wait in front of the white so this is a full bloom all right this is the difference so that's a full blue this's a full orange all right watch what happens when we put these on top of each other put them back there they cancel out the color and it turns into grey ok neutral neutral density so this is a half orange and this is a half blue, same thing. When we put them together, they canceled out it's not as deep regret, because there's not as much saturation, they're not stopping as much light, but still it's. Great. Okay, so we're gonna use these. We're going to use these a little bit.

Class Description

Young filmmakers are often taught to de-prioritize lighting. They are told that lighting takes too much time, money, and expertise to have any profound effect on their work. Lighting for Film: Simple not Plain with Bill Megalos changes that.

In Lighting for Film, Bill will show you how to light technically, instinctually, and cinematically. You will learn how to light for both interior and exterior work and how the simplest lighting techniques can produce the most dramatic effects. 

You’ll learn how to:

  • Produce story-altering lighting effects with minimal equipment
  • Light for both of interior and exterior content
  • Choose instruments that suit your budget and filming goals

Bill will teach professional lighting techniques you can use on your own or with a crew that defy the everyday budget and common-wisdom of filmmakers having to tell a story "in the dark."


Dana Sue Childs

Bill is extremely knowledgeable and does an excellent job demonstrating lighting a scene and various ways to achieve a different mood or effect. This is not a class on specific equipment brands (i.e. what to buy), he does discuss and demonstrate different types of equipment, how to use c-stand effectively (c-stand), gobo arm/head, lighting safety: amps, volts, circuits, etc. Basically he goes into the necessary background information you need to understand and prepare for lighting setup at any location. Then he goes through various lighting scenarios, shots and scenes to demonstrate how you can get that effect at various times of day or locations. Then he tweaks it again to show a different example or angle. This was a great class! I didn't feel like Bill was talk at the student but actually engaged them and even though I was not there, I felt engaged. I'm now going to watch his other class offered. I only hope that he considers doing more classes since I like his style!

a Creativelive Student

This is a wonderful class with a very knowledgeable and experienced instructor. It starts with the principles you need to understand and then walks you through the process of actually doing the work on set. You can see what it takes to accomplish the work. I will be watching this over and over to let it all soak in. Thank you Bill for putting this together.

Joe Stevens

Great class, learned a lot. Would highly recommend!