Let's face it, today's video cameras and digital SLRs don't deliver the warm beautiful images that cameras used to have back in the old days of pickup tubes and film -- instead of CCDs and CMOS sensors.
Sure, the newer sensors have made cameras less expensive, smaller, and more reliable, but they have also made the pictures colder and harsher. Compared to the tube cameras of yesteryear, today's video cameras simply don't have the same warm, rich-looking pictures.
Diffusion filters, ProMist filters, warming filters, matte boxes, and soft lighting techniques have never been more popular. Why? Because these tools are necessary to combat the harsh, cold, electronic look of modern CCD and CMOS cameras.
An ordinary, neutral white balance is rarely acceptable anymore in professional video production.
Experienced cameramen know that you can trick the camera's white balance into producing better colors -- thus getting the "warm look" that audiences and clients prefer. The problem is that, until now, cheating the white balance was difficult to control, time-consuming, and risky to try and do when you're out in the field . . . especially if you don't have a monitor.
The WarmCards White Balance Reference System changes all that by providing an easy-to-use and consistent way of getting a warmer (or cooler) white balance. WarmCards can turn ordinary shots into extraordinary shots.
Do you want an accurate White Balance or a creative White Balance?
It's your choice - you can get either one with a set of WarmCards.
A standard white balance requires measuring the exact color temperature of light that is illuminating the subject. You can do that by white balancing on a white card, neutral gray card, or sometimes a piece of paper. In most cases, that will give you a straight-forward, boring white balance.
But, when you set your white balance using one of the WarmCards you are calibrating the colorimity of the camera so that it starts at a baseline neutral setting that matches the lighting conditions that exist at that place and that time -- and then you are adding certain amount of "warming" to the white balance so that you get warmer, richer colors.
Using WarmCards is every bit as easy as white balancing on a white card. Just aim the camera at the WarmCard . . . press the WB button on your camera. . . and you're ready to start shooting with a better white balance.
With WarmCards, you can achieve the desired "rich and vibrant color" right when you shoot -- rather than having to tweak the images in post-production. That saves a lot of time correcting by hand -- plus a lot of time for your NLE to render the changes.
There are many ways to color correct footage after you shoot, but none of them is better than just SHOOTING the footage the way you want it in the first place. WarmCards will help you avoid all that wasted time. Why not white balance before you start shooting, and then capture footage that already looks the way you want it to look? It's simple.
There are two versions of WarmCards to choose from: WarmCards 3.0 and WarmCards 3.0 Junior.
The main difference between the two products is that WarmCards Junior does not include the large cards.
Note: The small WarmCards 3.0 cards are twice the size of the previous WarmCards 2.0 small cards.
WarmCards 3.0 is the recommended product for TV and video production because it includes two sizes of cards in each of the eight shades. Why two cards? Because you need the large card for shooting interviews, but the small card is more convenient to carry around in a pocket or on a lanyard. WarmCards 3.0 Junior is for professionals who don't need the large cards.
Why are large cards needed? When shooting an interview, it is important to white balance AFTER all the lighting is setup and you're just about ready to shoot because any changes in the lighting can affect the color temperature and/or mix of light hitting the subject. You also need to hold the white balance card directly in front of the subject in order to be sure the light striking the card is the same mix of light that will be illuminating the interviewee's face.
In a typical interview setup, the camera is usually too far away from the subject to zoom in and fill the frame if you are using the smaller card. That's why you need the bigger card. The large card allows you to zoom in and white balance for interviews without having to physically pick up the camera and move it closer to the subject.
Once you've seen the difference WarmCards can make, you'll probably never use an ordinary white balance ever again. Clients and customers love the "warm look".
Advantages of WarmCards:
- WarmCards are an easy method of taking creative control over your camera’s white balance.
- WarmCards allow you to trick the camera’s white balance into providing color tones that look more pleasing than a “normal” white balance using a white or gray card.
- WarmCards give you unprecedented consistency between shots, between locations (both indoors and outdoors), and when using multiple cameras.
- WarmCards allow you to set the camera’s white balance by measuring the color temperature of the reflected light from a specific surface in the frame. This white balancing technique is sort of like using the eyedropper tool in Photoshop to pick a very specific color sample.
- Other warming methods, which cover the lens with some kind of filter or cap, are designed to only measure ambient light coming from all around the camera’s field of view. They make the (often wrong) assumption that the camera is located under the same lighting as the subject, and therefore, those techniques don’t provide the precision needed for a setting a proper white balance. A manual white balance must be set from measuring the reflected light -- and not ambient light.
- Warm Cards are very easy to use. You just hold the card you have chosen in front of the camera, zoom in until the card fills the screen and set your white balance and start shooting.
- Setting a manual white balance with WarmCards will lock-in the colors so they won’t shift unexpectedly in the middle of a scene or between frames.
- Because the white balance is set in the camera, no additional post processing will be required. This is an important consideration if you are on a tight time line for the finished production.