VIDEO

How to white balance Nikon cameras

Nikon-white-balance.png

Why do a preset white balance?

 

Please read: What is white balance if you need to understand the concept of white balance in detail.

The cameras made today are extremely sophisticated and they can judge pretty accurately what kind of photograph is being shot under what lighting conditions. But sometimes, you need to give them a little push so that they are able to serve you better. If you feel that your photographs are too warm or too cool for your taste, maybe it is time for you to do a custom white balance or as Nikon calls it - preset white balance. We are going to take a look at the easiest, cheapest and fastest way to white balance Nikon cameras. If you want to know about  custom white balance on Canon cameras, please read this article here.

White balance Nikon camera

White balance is nothing but getting rid of the colour casts on your photographs by telling the camera, "Hey! This is white! Please make other adjustments accordingly!"  So logically, the easiest way of doing this is by showing the camera a piece of white paper and telling it that this is white. Different cameras have different ways of measuring white under different lighting conditions, though internally the process remains the same.

How to white balance Nikon cameras

Nikon calls this adjusting the PRESET white balance and it is done by pressing the WB(white balance) button on the camera and turning the command dial until the display show "PRE".  You then release the WB button and press it again. The PRE now begins to flash. This means that the camera is in ready mode to take the new white balance setting. Now all you need to to do is put a white paper in front of  the camera and press the shutter button while the PRE is still flashing. The display should read "GOOD"  which means your  preset white balance was successful.

Important

  • The white paper should fill the entire frame - nothing else should be visible.
  • If you are shooting a wide shot, zoom in to the white paper or move closer to the paper.
  • Do not get the paper close to the camera as the light falling on the paper has to match the light falling on your subject. Get the camera closer to the paper instead.
  • If the camera is hunting for focus, switch to manual focus. It will not make a difference if the paper is out of focus to take the white balance reading.
  • If the camera displays "NO GOOD" that means that the camera was unable to get a proper reading. Check if your exposure is correct. Underexposure or over exposure might cause a bad reading.
  • Make sure that the PRE is flashing when you press the shutter button.

Please watch the short video below to understand this process better. If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments and if you like the video, please subscribe to our channel by clicking here.

 

https://youtu.be/CL_WPm13zI0

 

Subscribe to GMax Studios YouTube channel

Please ask any questions that you might have in the comments section below.

 Please share this article with your friends if you found it useful.

Colour grading video in Lightroom

Screen-Shot-2015-05-26-at-1.47.07-am.png

Colour grading is a slow and tedious process. With the huge amount of software at our disposal, we can go spend hours and hours trying out various options and looks with the video before we can decide what look to finally go with. As described in our post here, there are quite a few stages to colour correct your footage and get it to the final look that you want. But what if you want to do some quick colour grading and are short of time and don't want to jump through all the hoops? Or what if you just want to quickly see a number of options before  you decide the final look of your video or film?

Adobe Lightroom tips

Enter Adobe Lightroom which is primarily a photo post-processing software but can come in very handy if you are in one of the situations described above and are looking at colour grading video in Lightroom. It is even better if you have one of your favourite looks saved as a "preset" in Lightroom. One click is all you need. Take a look at the video below to see how it is done and leave us a comment if you found this useful or have some questions.

http://youtu.be/ScLaTzbm_xk

Colour correction and colour grading in video

GMAX_STUDIOS-2713.jpg

To give a professional look to your shot footage, some amount of colour (color for Americans) correction and colour grading is important. Though quite a few people use both the terms, colour correction and colour grading interchangeably - they are in fact, two different processes altogether. So what is the difference between colour correction and colour grading in video, film or photography?

Flat image as captured before Colour correction and  colour grading

Image 1: Footage as captured. Flat and raw. Notice the low contrast and saturation.

Colour correction is the process by which you ensure that all the shots in your film or video have the right white balance, contrast and tone in every scene so that there is no major visual jump in between shots and scenes and they look like a part of the same production and not different shots assembled from different sources. The final outcome of the colour correction process is to often make the shot footage look as natural or real as possible - more so because more and more people and cameras shoot in a "flat" picture style which might not look very pleasing to the eye. In one sense, colour correction is an essential part of preparing your footage for colour grading.

GMAX_STUDIOS-2713-2

Image 2: Colour corrected footage. Nice punchy contrast and saturation.

 

Colour grading is applied after colour correction and is referred to the process of giving different colour tones and hues to your footage so that it creatively conveys the theme on which the film or video is based. It is largely a creative process where the creator of the piece decides that his film will look better with such a tonality. Colour grading is more about conveying a mood that suits the film and it involves manipulation of highlights, midtones and shadows to give the entire footage a different tone altogether.

GMAX_STUDIOS-colour grading

Image 3: Colour graded. Faded out the colours and diffused the highlights. Since this was a part of a scene where the protagonist is remembering his dead wife the grading helped  give the footage a dreamy feel.

 

Correction before grading is a nice way to remember the difference between the two and while on the subject, take a look at out video below that is perhaps the easiest, quickest and cheapest way to colour correct and grade your footage. Take a look and leave a comment if you have further questions. Also, please subscribe to our YouTube Channel by clicking here.

http://youtu.be/ScLaTzbm_xk

Using Black Rapid Camera Strap with Arca Swiss plate

The problem

Using Black Rapid Strap with Arca Swiss plate.

If you are a fan of Black Rapid  camera straps like me and use an Arca Swiss compatible ball head as well - then you might think that you have a problem. I really wanted to use the Black Rapid strap with my Arca Swiss plate without going though the trouble of removing the plate each time. I never though it would be possibleAt least, until I came across the Acratech Swift Clamp, which lets me use both together.

using the black rapid strap with arca swiss plate

 

The solution

It is a beautifully crafted clamp that lets you use your Black Rapid  camera strap with any Arca Swiss compatible ball head without changing the plate. The link being the Arca Swiss camera plate that fits on both.

using the black rapid strap with arca swiss plate

So I can use my Black Rapid strap with my Arcatech ball head as well. It was making me very uneasy to think that I would have to give up using either one of them because changing the camera base plate in the middle of a shoot just does not make sense.

The Acratech Swift Clamp is so wonderfully crafted that one almost does not feel like using it. It is true craftsmanship but it comes with a price and I mean literally. At about 150 USD it is not a cheap buy but I am very happy with my purchase.

The Acratech swift clamp

 

Following is a short video to demonstrate how both of them work together. I hope to put up a video of it in the field pretty soon. Take a look.

Please share this article with your friends if you found it useful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YlavX7VwWo

Subscribe to GMax Studios YouTube channel

Shooting a TV pilot with Canon 5D Mark II

Professional-video-DSLR.png

We had bounced off an idea to Channel V (India)but things looked kind of shaky because we could not get the feel of the story across. Girl who wants to be a boxer... high school romance... song and dance... boxing ring... We decided to shoot this in order to get the feel across. Shot in a day on one location with minimal budget. The only things that we put up were the exhaust fan and boxing ring and bag.

I decided to shoot this on Canon 5D Mark II because I wanted to. But the question was how to shoot a professional video with a DSLR. I had never shot any video professionally on a DSLR (this was in 2010)and was itching to do so and this was my opportunity. The footage is straight out of camera as we did not have a budget for colour correction. Each setting we tweaked the picture controls, shot a bit of footage, transferred it to the laptop and reconfigured the picture control if needed.  Everything was totally on the fly.

Take a look at the video below and tell us what you think. Please subscribe to our channel by clicking here.

Subscribe to GMax Studios YouTube channel

How aperture affects photos |Depth of field

When you learn photography, it is easy to get confused between the various modes on the camera.

I shoot on A aperture priority mode on my camera 99% of the time (see Aperture).The main reason I do this is because I don't shoot too much of action and sports and thus find no reason to switch to S, shutter priority mode. I also like  to control my depth of field or DoF as it is known. In easy terms, depth of field refers to how blurred out your background is, compared to the focus point. This is controlled by the aperture.

How aperture affects photos - Depth of field

To demonstrate this point, enter "The GMAX Team":

I shot the image below on an aperture setting of 1.8 on my camera. The camera automatically set the shutter speed to 1/160th of a sec.

How aperture affects photos

The focus is on Kai, the red Ninja. Notice, that though the difference between the team members is only inches - they have been arranged slightly one behind the other - the policeman, appears to be blurred. The focus gently blurs from Kai, to the policeman's handcuffs and the dog Tommy and Zane, the white Ninja are completely blurred.

For the next shot I changed the aperture setting to f4. The background is gradually beginning to come in focus. The policeman is happy now.

GMAX Studios-6080

 Let us stop down the aperture a bit more as in, make it smaller by stopping it down to f8. We see that  more of the background is coming into focus even though the main focus point still remains the same.

GMAX Studios-6082

If we make the aperture even smaller by closing it down to f11, the background is almost completely in focus.  The eyes of the white Ninja are almost sharp too. You can also make out the form of the chair at the dining table. which was not the case at all when we were shooting at f1.8. Also notice how the stitching on the dining table is in focus BEFORE and AFTER the focus point.

GMAX Studios-6084

For comparison, here is the first image shot at f1.8 again:

GMAX Studios-6079

Thumb Rule:

The higher the number of the aperture, more of the background will be in focus. This can be summarised by the graphic below.

Depth of field

You can download a hi-res version of this graphic to your computer or smartphone by adding us to your Google Plus circles. Also watch the video below to understand this concept better and see a practical demonstration of how aperture affects photos and depth of field. If you like the video, please consider subscribing to our channel by clicking here.

https://youtu.be/q3SvCAlgFLw

Shoot me your questions in the comments or leave your suggestions as to what articles or videos would you like to see next.

Subscribe to GMax Studios YouTube channel

Learn photography in one hour