Even if you plan to alter or grade your footage afterwards, having an accurate and consistent starting point makes your life much easier. Getting perfect white balance without a grey card, Expodisc, ColorChecker or fancy colour meter can be tricky, though. But it’s not impossible.
This video from Blake Rudis at f64 Academy walks us through a simple 3 step process to get perfect white balance in Adobe Camera Raw. While a neutral source in your shot can make this process much faster, this technique is still very quick and easy.
The process involves three steps.
- Take your vibrance all the way to +100
- Adjust the colour temperature to offset blue/yellow
- Adjust the tint slider to offset green/magenta
Then there is the unspoken 4th tip, which is to bring your vibrance back down to a level that’s pleasing to you.
The trick to this technique is to get rid of colours that might be dominating a scene. Ramping the vibrance up makes these overbearing colours much more obvious. Thus, easier to correct for.
Of course, you could just use the white picker tool in ACR, but that relies on having something neutral in your shot. But you don’t always have the chance to whip out a grey card. Figuring out exactly what’s neutral in a random scene when your white balance is already off isn’t always easy.
As they share the same Raw engine, this technique also works in Lightroom, too.