Camcorder Tips: Adjusting White Balance

The function to adjust white balance on a digital camcorder is one of the most important features, but it can be one that is so often overlooked by hobbyists and even slightly more ambitious film-makers. White balancing is, however, a very useful and important facility and one that can greatly enhance and improve the final quality of your recorded footage.

White is the colour that your camcorder uses as a basis to which the full colour range can be assessed. When you adjust white balance, you’re essentially telling the camcorder what white looks like in the current filming conditions. This allows the camcorder to take a precise capture of the other colours – and this is why it is considered an useful function to perform.

When should the white balance be adjusted? The answer is simply any time that the lighting conditions significantly change between scenes. Between indoors and and outdoors is a typical example because the camcorder will need to recognise the difference of sunlight. This helps to get the best footage and accurate reproduction of the colour content.

The white balance control on a digital camcorder can be set very quickly and it is very easy to do, so it can be completed in a few seconds. Most camcorders will be equipped with a white balance button or alternatively will have a menu option to access this function. You’ll need to identify where this function can be found on your camcorder – and if necessary consult your user manual.

To adjust white balance on your digital camcorder, simply use something that is white. A piece of paper or a white door or wall would be fine – in fact anything that is white will do. If you’re out and about you could carry a white card with you in your camcorder bag. Point your camera to the white item so that a minimum of 80% of the frame is white, and then simply press the white balance button.

You’ve probably seen video taken on a digital camcorder in which the colours simply aren’t accurate. Footage dominated by tints of the wrong colours really distract the viewer and suggest that the “adjust white balance” function was overlooked.

Want to find out more about digital camcorders, functions and accessories, then visit Benjamin Wilson’s site for how to choose the best camcorder for your needs.

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