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White balancing is the fine art of setting up your videocamera for good filming. By giving it a white background as a baseline, you can get better colors and natural lighting for your shots.

My crappy JVC doesn't have a white balancing feature, but most camcorders do. You set it to the white balance function and point your camera at a white piece of paper underneath a white light. Click the button, and your camcorder's good to go.

Some trickster wannabe cinematographers point the camera at off-white paper or shine really bright lights at the camera to change the baseline, making their shots brighter or darker. If you do it really bright, you can get some cool creepy shots, even in the middle of the day.

You can also "white" balance with different colored sheets of paper. There's a really cool website at http://www.urbanfox.tv/workbooks/anycam/paper_effects.htm with some pictures of how white balancing with different papers can produce different shots. Very artsy fartsy, but it can look good when done right. Don't get all crazy, though! Moderation is the key

Hopefully this will give you, Mrs. Amateur Filmmaker, a good start in creating your new masterpiece. Now show me what you got.

The reason you need to do this is because, regardless of what your eyes tell you, the color of an object is extremely dependent on the quality of the light source.

This is quite obvious when using camcorders or color slide film in photography. If you take a picture of an object indoors under incandescent lighting, and then move the object outside on a cloudy day, and take another picture, and compare the two images without adjusting for white balance, the color of the item will appear very different in the two locations. In digital imaging, one sets the white balance by adjusting the baseline. In color slide photography, you either use film calibrated for your light source, or you use filters to compensate to the difference. The reason you dont' have to think about white balance with normal color print film is because they do the color balancing at the time of printing the photograph. Indeed, if correct color is important to you, you take a picture of a chart with calibrated colors, and you specify to the printers to adjust the settings so that the colors on the chart are correct.

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