Author Topic: A white balance question  (Read 304 times)

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Nigel

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A white balance question
« on: January 05, 2018, 09:07:53 PM »
I don't want to get all pixel peepy but I'm trying to get my white balance right when taking portraits. The problem is particularly noticeable on these to shoots where whatever I do I can't get the blue of the shutters to match. I did get it better than this for the final edit. It's actually more like the top one.


Tristan
by Nigel Rumsey, on Flickr


Deo
by Nigel Rumsey, on Flickr

So will a grey card do the job? Or do I need one of these?
https://www.amazon.co.uk/X-Rite-MSCCP-ColorChecker-Passport-Affinity/dp/B002NU5UW8

Which just seem stupidly expensive?

I'm mainly editing in Lightroom, although I don't suppose that makes a lot of difference.
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MiguelCampano

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Re: A white balance question
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2018, 09:18:05 PM »
Hi Nigel,

Did you use the same aperture for both shots? Sometimes when I use my digital, changing the aperture/shutter speed will change the white balance of the photo, although I'm not sure since you used Portra 400.


Nigel

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Re: A white balance question
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2018, 09:22:42 PM »
Hi Miguel, I think it probably was the same for both. I think it's probably the Epson scanner software that can't handle all the blue, but with no white in the image I haven't got a reference point.
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Francois

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Re: A white balance question
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2018, 10:28:43 PM »
Usually, if all the pictures are from the same roll and taken using the same lighting, the balance should be the same.
You could use a sample spot (white, 50% gray or black) and use the eyedropper tool to set that value. This should also fix the white balance.

Usually, an X-Rite passport isn't necessary for film as everything it takes is daylight balanced. But it could make colors more even if you plan on hanging a series on the same wall.

A cheap and dirty way is to simply include an 18% gray card in the images and grab your neutral gray from there.
Francois

Film is the vinyl record of photography.

BernardL

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Re: A white balance question
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2018, 08:08:34 AM »
Quote
You could use a sample spot (white, 50% gray or black) and use the eyedropper tool to set that value. This should also fix the white balance. (...) A cheap and dirty way is to simply include an 18% gray card in the images and grab your neutral gray from there.
+1
But the bundled Epson software might not allow this, unless you are prepared to include a gray card in each shot. Your problem arises from the auto-everything mode of Epson scan software, more or less trying to make the picture color neutral on the average.

Here is how I handle this with vuescan; then you can find out if a similar functionality exists in the software you use. One shot per roll with a gray card (optionally also a Wolf Faust target, but that is another story). First scan that frame; right-click on the gray card. Color balance switches to "Manual", meaning that the RGB balance is frozen until further notice, such that the gray card is actually neutral gray. Scan the other frames on that roll; the software remains free to adjust the black and white points automatically, according to the histogram. If the light conditions change (sunny, open shade, tungsten, etc), you may need more than one "gray card shot".

And here is how I would handle it in post. The software I use --Picture Window Pro-- is not very widespread; just to give you the incentive to look for similar functionality in your software. Choose (out the two pics you show) the one with the "best" blue. With eyedropper, take a note of the RGB values on the shutter. Open the other pic, activate color correction tool with a 2-D hue diagram eyedropper; eyedropper click on the blue shutter; "pull" it in the diagram to the "good" value. You can also do it by trial and error, playing with the corrections and checking the RGB value of the shutter; but this does not guarantee that all colors are correct. 

Nigel

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Re: A white balance question
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2018, 08:54:30 AM »
Thanks gents, I’m going to rescan these and try turning everything off in the Epson software, that should hopefully give me a common starting point. Then I can try Bernard’s suggestion for matching the blues.

It seems like at least using a grey card is the safer option for the future.
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Francois

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Re: A white balance question
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2018, 05:02:33 PM »
Few people realize how much power is available in the epson scan software.
Here are some of my favorite buttons in it :)

You'll be surprised by how much change these can make.
As long as there is a color you're sure of, it usually gets the rest working.

Just don't look at the rest of my settings, they're from a previous cheap scan I made...
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 05:04:50 PM by Francois »
Francois

Film is the vinyl record of photography.

Francois

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Re: A white balance question
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2018, 06:13:59 PM »
Just thinking...
have you tried using photoshop's Image->Adjustments->Match Color function?
Francois

Film is the vinyl record of photography.

Nigel

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Re: A white balance question
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2018, 08:36:32 PM »
Few people realize how much power is available in the epson scan software.
Here are some of my favorite buttons in it :)

You'll be surprised by how much change these can make.
As long as there is a color you're sure of, it usually gets the rest working.

Just don't look at the rest of my settings, they're from a previous cheap scan I made...

François, only you could have favourite buttons in that software! I appreciate you being able to see the good in it, I generally swear every time I have to open it. On the Mac, it refuses to respond if you as much as hover your mouse over another app while it's running.

I do need to brush up my PS skills I'm sure I could get more out of it than I do now. I'm afraid I've got so used to LR that PS doesn't get an airing very often.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." Albert Einstein

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Francois

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Re: A white balance question
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2018, 09:03:01 PM »
Probably because for some reason I never really got along with Vuescan. I always found it tedious and slow to use. And the number of times it has to move the scan head just to get a single image really turned me off.
Maybe you could get better results using the Windows version of Epson Scan through an emulator like WineBottler?
Francois

Film is the vinyl record of photography.

Francois

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Re: A white balance question
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2018, 02:02:25 PM »
Hey Nigel,
I found the solution for your Epson scan woes.

You can always install virtualbox along with a minimal windows so install and the windows version of the drivers.
If you need help with the project, let me know.
Francois

Film is the vinyl record of photography.

Nigel

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Re: A white balance question
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2018, 08:17:01 PM »
Hey Nigel,
I found the solution for your Epson scan woes.

You can always install virtualbox along with a minimal windows so install and the windows version of the drivers.
If you need help with the project, let me know.

It's a good suggestion, but it seems a lot of work just to get one piece of software that's supposed to run on OSX to work properly. I might have another look at Vuescan - although the last time I did that it seemed to open a whole world of pain. The scanning issue is the one part of the hybrid process I don't enjoy.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." Albert Einstein

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Francois

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Re: A white balance question
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2018, 08:52:29 PM »
Well, it shouldn't be so bad as once it's installed it would just run.
If you want I can see if I can build something that you'd just have to dump the file and use.
Francois

Film is the vinyl record of photography.

MacArron

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Re: A white balance question
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2018, 08:26:29 PM »
Else you could choose a different path: use slide  :) You will be able to perfectly "see" the resulting colours and no colour balance changes.

To me problems with negatives are:

1- Orange mask and inversion to get the proper image, which might differ from one person/scanner to another.
2- Using a grey card might help, but the question is: will it give the same colour on different films? And also: will it give weird (or right) colours if we use the grey card in different lighting conditions (i.e. tungsten)?

Anyone can give a light on that?
Cameras to enjoy (I use them all):
Pentax P30/Pentax MZ5n/Yashica FX3/Contax 139Q/Contax RX/Mamiya C22/Exa 1b/Exa 1c/Kowa Six

Francois

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Re: A white balance question
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2018, 09:13:28 PM »
The gray card will compensate for everything, both lighting and film color cast.
If there is mixed lighting, it will only correct for the light that falls on the card.

While there is a difference between scans, the correction using the eyedropper will make everything even leaving only the film's characteristics.
Francois

Film is the vinyl record of photography.