Getting White Balance right in camera

One method to speed up your colour-correction after a shoot is to get white balance right in camera.

Here’s how I’ve been doing it over the past few months:

Pop the camera into Liveview, ensure your exposure is correct, then hit the WB button and the menu comes up on the LCD. Set it to Kelvin, and then use the other dial to quickly scroll through the temperature settings until you’re happy. Done!

I often end up in the 3400-4000K range for weird mixes of light, but I knew that already from my post-processing in Lightroom.

Caveat: This doesn’t work so well for very green sources like fluoros. You could go in and set the WB offset in the menu, but then you may as well just go and do a custom white balance.

This is obviously an ‘eyeball’ method, and so is not really useful if you need a ‘technically correct’ white balance. But in many genres (weddings, portraits, etc), apleasing white balance is preferable to a technically correct one, and this method lets you set just that – a pleasing white balance.

(Credit to Jonathan Dear who uses Liveview to set his exposure, which inspired this method.)

The Best (Is Yet To Come)

There’s been an article making the rounds about how ensuring you get “The Best” option when acquiring “things” results in an implicit trust in them… which is liberating. The “Best” in this context is not necessarily the most expensive; but the best designed, the most fit for purpose.

 “The Best Should Result in Less” builds on this by adding two points; this is not a decision made so you look good to others, and this actually results in fewer purchases over time.

This has stuck with me as I’ve recently been thinking about consumerism; and indeed being accused of engaging in it myself, since I’m usually among to first to jump on a new iDevice or DSLR camera.

I want to postulate that when it comes to technology, The Best Is Yet To Come. The “best” phone or computer now, will not be the best in two years time. Not only because technology itself evolves, but the uses we have for such devices evolve alongside them and our expectations are raised accordingly.

Geeks are the frontrunners for these new uses (think iTunes Match, AppleTV, photo retouching), which will trickle down into general society only after a few years, so we’re acutely sensitive of the capabilities of new technology over and beyond the previous generation.

So my attitude to acquiring technology is this; purchase when newly released, extract maximum usage and then when it is clearly superseded (which is now two product cycles for computers and phones, and one for pro-level DSLRs) upgrade immediately and sell the older tech while it still has maximum resale value.

(For instance, the iPhone 5. I upgraded fairly close to launch day from a 4 (not 4S), so I was out of contract. I have to stick on the same plan for my usage, so it was a no brainer when I could still sell the 4 for $300. So I was actually ahead on that one.

Ditto for the Canon 5D3. I bought some of the first stock into the country, and was able to sell the 5D2, which had been heavily used, for only $200 less than they cost *new* just 3 months later.

And I don’t buy new tech just for the sake of it. I still have the same LCD TV I bought refurbished 6 years ago. As to ovens, microwaves, washing machines who could only be loosely be considered “technology” anymore… if a company would actually design one with an accessible user interface; I’ll be first in line. Until then, only when they die. :)

A little bit of research on the electronic waste issue… looks like computers on the whole are orders of magnitude better in environmental terms than they were just a few years ago. In particular, a typical 15" CRT had almost a kilo of lea

d in it, nasty, nasty.
Apple claims to lead the industry in recycling products, at over 70% by weight. More here:
And where I got started was here:

I was intrigued by Apple’s new “Fusion Drive” that is an option on the new Mac Mini and 27" iMac, and I went digging through the configuration screens to see the price of said drive.

So it’s $300 (AUD) for 1TB spinning-rust plus 128GB of flash, vs $360 for just the upgrade to the 256GB SSD alone. So there’s a slight premium attached to it, how unusual for Apple. ;)

For a power user who will manage their own storage, the path of hard drive and SSD still seems like the better option, but for the everyday consumer this is a great advance. The speed of SSD and capacity of a hard-drive, transparent to the user, with easy backup and restore.

Further reading: Digging Into Apple’s Fusion Drive Details – The Mac Observer

So today Ricky Gervais tweeted: “Dear Religion, This week I safely dropped a man from space while you shot a child in the head for wanting to go to school. Yours, Science.” (link)

What immediately came to mind: “Dear Science, today I was looking 

after hungry orphans while you were dropping a nuclear bomb on Japan. Yours, Religion.”

Now I don’t mean that seriously… just posting a counter-point that setting up religion and science as enemies is a ridiculous thing to do. Yet people on both “sides” do so due to other vested interests. Both have the capacity for either tremendous good or tremendous evil.

Mobile data: learning the hard way.

I never thought I would be the victim of “bill shock”. But pride comes before a fall. :)

I’ve had my shiny iPhone 5 less than a week, and have been loving actually being able to have a good quality voice conversation and mobile data that works. Even to the point where I could download 500MB+ in under 10 minutes in a farm paddock in Gunnedah.

Sunday morning I get a text message saying I had used 109% of my 2.5GB allowance… and  I panicked just a little, given excess usage is 10¢ a MB.

Fortunately, the solution is to jump on Telstra’s live chat support, and add in an extra data pack. $15 for an extra gig, or $30 for 3 GB. You’re fine as long as you do it before the end of your billing cycle.

What I think had happened: I had turned on mobile data usage for iTunes Match. I’d set a whole heap of music to download, and it hadn’t finished before leaving the house. Naturally, on the brand-new 4G network, it downloading everything in record time. Lesson learned!

Back on Tumblr

Hmmm, I thought it was time to get a Tumblr site set up for random longer posts that don’t really belong on Facebook or Twitter… and it turns out I had one from 2010 … that’s a generation ago. That pretty much only auto-fed from my business blog anyway, boring. Anyway… let’s see if I can use it more this time.

Lightroom video slideshows and frame rates

Slideshows are really quick and easy in Lightroom once you have a preset or two configured. And they’re easy to export to video too.

However, an issue that might bite you if you want to put them on a DVD or incorporate it into another video project is that the exports are at a 30 fps frame rate.

You’ll need 25 fps for a PAL DVD or 24 to integrate with that cinematic video you’ve been shooting on your 5D2/3. :)

So based on this post from Lightroom News which dealt with exporting video from time-lapse photography, I was able to put together a few presets that let you export video in 720p at 24 or 25 fps.

Download the presets here:

Continue reading Lightroom video slideshows and frame rates