Friday, June 12, 2009
Fair and White-Balanced
You can tell A LOT a photog by watching them white-balance. Take this cat. When he stumbled in late to a press conference in motion, a PR chick sidled up and jammed a program in his hand. He never looked at it; just stuck in front of the lens and calibrated his colors. That the speaker he was about to shoot was standing under a spotlight thirty feet away didn't seem to bother him. I like that; if only because it drives the production types crazy.
See for every schlub white-balancing off his tube-socks, there's a pasty shooter rifling through a collection of mail-order warm cards. No doubt he'll find just the right shade of ivory to synch his camera's innards with the room's brackish light - but he'll miss the first seven soundbites trying to decide. I choose The Middle Way... Sure I like to show up early and sniff around the room's edges for palatable light, but if I gotta bum-rush the interstate at dusk and 'zero out' my fancycam's color memory off a passing semi that ain't been washed in a while... Well, that's how the white-balance bounces.
Soooo, if you're a forgetful photog or just a well-dressed ex-thespian who works with one, do us all a favor: the next time you see a shooter trying to Mirandize his camera, hook a brother (or sister) up. Uncrumple that grocery list, point to the sixteen ambulances parked nearby or simply flash him those pearly whites your parents are still paying off. That way, nobody will turn up blue on the evening news, we'll all keep our jobs and those clowns in the edit bay will have to find something new to cackle about. The lenslinger in your life will thank you. This one certainly does.