Regardless of the video camera you opt for, nailing your white balance is an absolutely essential prerequisite before you start rolling. Now, unless you’re shooting in raw, odds are you’ll end up with a poor white balance baked directly into your footage. So, if your videos seem a bit too much on the cool or warm side, don’t be surprised if you find it extremely frustrating and even impossible to get the proper white balance later in post.
While there are different methods to properly adjust the setting manually (such as using a simple white balance card), one easier solution may already be found on the smartphone in your pocket. Filmmaker Armando Ferreira explains how you can get the perfect white balance using a simple application on your iPhone.
First and foremost, this method will only work with an iPhone (or any device running iOS) since the workflow relies on a particular app called LightSpectrum Pro exclusively developed for iOS that will set you back just $1.99.
Furthermore, using the application itself is extremely simple and straightforward. At launch, your camera will turn on and a number will appear in the center of your screen, surrounded by a changing color dial. The number displayed is the color temperature of what the camera is pointed at (in degrees Kelvin) whereas the color dials correspond to the displayed temperature.
Apparently, this value is what you input into your camera when you set your white balance. Having this exact measurement allows you to dial in the optimal white balance right away, making the process as prompt and accurate as possible. In addition, you have the option to use either the front or back camera of your iOS device depending on the occasion.
For those curious on how accurate the color temperature reading might be, Ferreira compared the value of the app to the Canon C200’s auto white balance settings. It turns out that the app is indeed pretty accurate, even in some of the most challenging mixed lighting conditions.
Of course, it might be slightly off every now and then but you’re still presented with a value that guarantees better-than-auto white balance settings on most occasions. Just make sure that you are pointing your iPhone directly at the scene you are about to shoot rather than the light source itself and you’ll be all set.