White balance is a function which gives the camera a reference to “true white” — it tells the camera what the color white looks like so the camera will record it correctly. Since white light is the sum of all other colors, the camera will then display all colors correctly. Incorrect white balance shows up as pictures or video with orange or blue tints.
Here are some tips on how to perform a manual white balance:
- If your camera has a filter wheel (or if you use add-on filters), make sure you are using the correct filter for the lighting conditions.
- Point your camera to a pure white subject, so that most of what you’re seeing in the viewfinder is white. Opinions vary on just how much white needs to be in the frame – but we’ve found that about 50-80% of the frame should be fine (Sony recommends 80% of frame width). The subject should be fairly matte, that is, non-reflective.
- Set your exposure and focus.
- Activate the white balance by pressing the button or throwing the switch. The camera may take a few seconds to complete the operation, after which you should get a message (or icon) in the viewfinder.
Hopefully this will be telling you that the white balance has succeeded – in this case, the camera will retain it’s current colour balance until another white balance is performed.
If the viewfinder message is that the white balance has failed, then you need to find out why. A good camera will give you a clue such as “colour temperature too high” (in which case change filters). Also try opening or closing the iris a little.
More information about white balance can be found at http://www.mediacollege.com/video/camera/white-balance/