What Is White Balance on a Video Camera?

White balance is a critical element in video production that affects the colors and overall tone of your videos. In simple terms, white balance is the process of adjusting your camera to ensure that the color white appears as pure white in your footage. It helps to eliminate any unwanted color casts from different lighting sources and ensures that your videos look natural and professional.

What is White Balance?

To understand what white balance is, we first need to understand color temperature. Color temperature refers to the warmth or coolness of light, measured in Kelvin (K). Lower values on the Kelvin scale are cooler (bluer) while higher values are warmer (yellower).

For instance, daylight has a color temperature of around 5500K, while indoor lighting tends to be much warmer, at around 3200K. If you shoot a video indoors under such lighting conditions without adjusting your camera’s white balance, it may result in a yellow or orange tint.

The purpose of white balance is to adjust your camera’s settings so that it can capture accurate colors by neutralizing any unwanted hues caused by different lighting sources.

How Does White Balance Work?

White balance can be set manually or automatically on most cameras. Auto white balance (AWB) adjusts itself based on the ambient light source detected by the camera’s sensor. It works well for most situations but may not be reliable when you have mixed lighting sources.

Manual white balance (MWB), on the other hand, requires you to set it yourself based on your understanding of the scene’s lighting conditions. You can do this by using a piece of card or paper that appears pure white under the same lighting conditions as your subject.

To set manual white balance:

1. Place a pure-white reference object in front of your subject. 2. Adjust your camera’s settings so that it focuses on this object.

3. Press the MWB button on your camera or navigate to the white balance settings in your menu. 4. Follow the instructions on your camera’s screen to set the white balance.

Why is White Balance Important?

White balance is essential for ensuring that your videos look natural and professional. It helps to avoid color casts that can make your footage appear unnatural or unappealing to viewers.

Using incorrect white balance can also lead to post-production headaches as it can be difficult to correct color issues in editing software. Therefore, it’s crucial to get the white balance right in-camera whenever possible.


In conclusion, white balance is a crucial element of video production that every filmmaker should understand and master. By adjusting your camera’s settings correctly, you can ensure that colors appear natural and accurate in your videos under different lighting conditions. Whether you’re shooting indoors or outdoors, knowing how to set the white balance on your camera will help you create professional-looking videos with ease.