Time for basketball again! White balance question.

Discussion in 'Sports' started by robert_bouknight|1, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. Well, the season has started, though I would see if there are any new/better techniques for my biggest problem.
    I shoot in lighting that is horrible. I used to do a manual white balance back when I used D1 series cameras, but have used AWB for the last couple of years.
    As those of you that shoot under the lights know, the WB changes from shot to shot in a sequence with some lighting. I shoot RAW+JPG, but will admit that I don't take the time to piddle with the raw files except for the very best shots.
    As I recall, even when using manual WB, the white balance changed from shot to shot. Guess I could try MWB again, but..
    Is there a technique that I am missing out on? Cameras are Nikon D600 and D800, running at around ISO6400 in the home gym. The lights are horrible.
     
  2. Wish photos could influence the school committees!
    I don't think you are missing anything. All fluorescents in my local HS gym so I have been using Fluorescent WB. Have used auto as well, but just seemed like Fl did better this year.
    In geberal, if the lighting color keeps changing & our cameras can't pick up the little variations & compensate…….., it gets fixed in Post!
     
  3. Wish we had the modern florescent "beam" lights. I get much more consistent results with those, and close to 2 more stops of light.
     
  4. When I was shooting with a D200 on AWB, the color balance alternated from warm to cold from one frame to the next in a burst. It seemed like the auto sensing system resonated with the 60 cycle variation in the fluorescent lights like a pendulum. A fluorescent white balance with a custom adjustment did better. I didn't have this problems with a D300s. We'll see how the D600 does this year.
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  5. next pic
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  6. I struggled with this myself, and finally called a manufacturer of this kind of light and asked for the RD department. A very helpful person confirmed my suspicion that they mix two sources in some designs, with the balance between them varying over the cycle. There is no way around this. The WB of the light is not consistent, so the WB in the camera has a moving target. But I get the best results by using a manual WB on my D7000.
     
  7. Rob,
    First and foremost, if you are going to shoot youth basketball you MUST fiddle with RAW. In fact, you must use it. Even then lighting is hard to perfect but at least you are working with quite a bit more information, sometimes 10x the information. I use Lightroom in post production and usually come away with pretty good looking photos. One thing I changed recently was the amount of flashes. I had always used one but decided to add a couple, all from the same spot I shoot and it helps. Also, I aim all flashes up on a slight angle and rubber band a white card behind which helps bounce light forward in addition to coming from above off the ceiling. Even if the ceiling is not the always desired white, you can still do it in most cases and adjust in Lightroom if necessary. With Canon, as long as the sensors can see each other, they will all go off or you can get inexpensive radio triggers. Bottom line is more light helps and certainly RAW is a huge help. Good luck.
     
  8. Several issues I struggle with to attain good white balance in a gym such as what is shown in the photos above:
    1. Light cycling
    2. Wood floors that impose a yellow tone that does not counter act the green to magenta tint shift
    3. An "AWB" algorithm that works well outdoors, but is horrendously amber biased indoors
    4. No time for fiddling with RAW files. No time for Lightroom. The only "must" is that the images be useable straight of camera from card to customer within minutes of the game being over. That means JPEGS, and often times reduced file sized JPEGS, so there is probably 100x LESS information to "fiddle" with, but it doesn't matter, because there is ZERO time to fiddle while the customer is waiting.
    So finding the best "balance" in unfavorable circumstances means, literally, finding a suitable balance that can be tolerated no matter which way the power cycle of the lighting swings. The task of manipulating the white balance setting in camera in and of itself is an art form that I yearn to learn more about how to perfect.
     
  9. The light cycles at 120hz. 60hz times 2 because the light won't care if the sine wave is at positive or negative value. As
    you slow down toward 1/125 sec, the color will be more consistent. Of course, that will really limit action shots.

    Next choice is high speed bursts. You'll have a better chance of catching shots with good light. Use photo sorting software
    like Photo Mechanic (this is NOT photo editing software) to quickly pick out the shots with good color.

    The worst problem is not the 120hz cycling. It's the flourescent lighting where the "bulbs" are all different colors. Look up
    at the ceiling and you'll see pink, green, blue, yellow . . . In those venues look for a place that is acceptably lit and shoot
    close-ups. Avoid using strobes. Very annoying to audience, officials, and other photographers.
     

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