White Balancing During a Color Change

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the April, 2008, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]


Chris Skinner writes:

Is there a technique to white balance in this situation.


Going from outside to inside; This is a steady-cam clip:


  1. Camera, with on camera 50w light (white balanced to natural light) is approaching door.
  2. Door opens and tungsten light makes everything yellow as camera now goes into the interior.

I would like to adjust the white balance in a way that does not have the sharp change from exterior white balance to interior white balance.


The alternative I think is to “razor,” making two clips, and use a dip-to-color transition. However, I would loose the entire “continuous look” I was trying to use.

Larry replies: Chris, you can’t re-white-balance while shooting.

But you can change color correction settings during editing so that a clip changes color to account for the shift in light – by using keyframes in the color correction filter.

To do so:


Now, as you move from one color light to another, the color corrector filter will compensate for the difference, keeping everything looking normal.

Here’s an article that explains a simple way to color correct, if this filter is new to you.

UPDATE – April 8, 2008

Shaun Roemich, of Gearhead Visual, sent in the following update:

Actually, you can change white balance while shooting if your camera has 2 manual white balance positions (A & B) on an external switch, such as most pro shoulder cams along with many of the newer HDV cameras have. Simply set white balance on B, go outside (in this example), white balance normally, go back inside and set white balance to A, white balance normally. Begin shooting outdoors and as you approach the threshold, simply flick the WB switch from A to B and Voilá! Some cameras even allow you set set the transistion between the two white balance values to be smoother (via the engineering menu typically).

Larry replies: Thanks, Shaun.

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