Raw Myths. You Can’t Change The white Balance Of the Camera Or ISO in Post.

It’s amazing how often people will tell you how easy it is to change the white balance or adjust the ISO of raw footage in post. But can you, is it really true and is it somehow different to changing the ISO or white balance of Log footage?

Let’s start with ISO. If ISO is sensitivity, or the equivalent of sensitivity how on earth can you change the sensitivity of the camera once you get into post production. The answer is you can’t.

But then we have to consider how ISO works on an electronic camera. You can’t change the sensor in a video camera so in reality you can’t change how sensitive an electronic camera is (I’m ignoring cameras with dual ISO for a moment). All you can do is adjust the gain or amplification applied to the signal from the sensor.  You can add gain in post production too. So, when you adjust the exposure or using the ISO slider for your raw footage in post all you are doing is adjusting how much gain you are adding. But you can do the same with log or any other gamma. 

One thing that makes a difference with raw is that the gain is applied in such a way that what you see looks like an actual sensitivity change no matter what gamma  you are transforming the raw to. This makes it a little easier to make changes to the final brightness in a pleasing way. But you can do exactly the same thing with log footage.  Anything you do in post must be altering the recorded file, it can never actually change what you captured.

Changing the white balance in post: White Balance is no different to ISO, you can’t change in post what the camera captured. All you can do is modify it through the addition or subtraction of gain.

Think about it. A sensor must have a certain response to light and the colours it sees depending on the material it’s made from and the colour filters used. There has to be a natural fixed white balance or a colour temperature that it works best at.

The Silicon that video sensors are made from is almost always more sensitive at the red end of the spectrum than the blue end. So as a result almost all sensors tend to produce the best results with light that has a lot of blue (to make up for the lack of blue sensitivity) and not too much red. So most cameras naturally perform best with daylight and as a result most sensors are considered daylight balanced.

If a camera produces a great image under daylight how can you possibly get a great image under tungsten light without adjusting something? Somehow you need to adjust the gain of the red and blue channels.

Do it in camera and what you record is optimised for your choice of colour temperature at the time of shooting. But you can always undo or change this in post by subtracting or adding to whatever was added in the camera.

If the camera does not move away from its native response then if you want anything other than the native response you will have to do it in post and you will be recording at the cameras native white balance. If you want a different colour temp then you need to add or subtract gain to the R & B channels in post to alter it.

Either way what you record has a nominal white balance and anything you do in post is skewing what you have recorded using gain. There is no such thing as a camera with no native white balance, all cameras will favour one particular colour temperature. So even if a manufacturer claims that the white balance isn’t baked in what they mean is they don’t offer the ability to make any adjustments to the recorded signal. If you want the very best image quality, the best method is to adjust at the time of recording. So, as a result a lot of camera manufacturers will skew the gain of the red and blue channels of the sensor in the camera when shooting raw as this optimises what you are recording. You can then skew it again in post should you want a different balance. 

With either method if you want to change the white balance from what was captured you are altering the gain of the red and blue channels. Raw doesn’t magically not have a white balance, so shooting with the wrong white balance and correcting it in post is not something you want to do. Often you can’t correct badly balanced raw any better than you can correct  incorrectly balanced log.

How far you can adjust or correct raw depends on how it’s been compressed (or not), the bit depth, whether it’s log or linear and how noisy it is. Just like a log recording really, it all depends on the quality of the recording. 

The big benefit raw can have is that the amount of data that needs to be recorded is considerably reduced compared conventional component or RGB video recordings.  As a result it’s often possible to record using a greater bit depth or with much less compression. It is the greater bit depth or reduced compression that really makes a difference. 16 bit data can have up to 65,536 luma gradations, compare that to the 4096 of 12 bit or 1024 of 10 bit and you can see how a 16 bit recording can have so much more information than a 10 bit one. And that makes a difference. But 10 bit log v 10 bit raw, well it depends on the compression, but well compressed 10 bit log will likely outperform 10 bit raw as the all important colour processing will have been done in the camera at a much higher bit depth than 10 bit.

460x150_xdcam_150dpi Raw Myths. You Can't Change The white Balance Of the Camera Or ISO in Post.

30 thoughts on “Raw Myths. You Can’t Change The white Balance Of the Camera Or ISO in Post.”

  1. RAW format for stills then is different than RAW format for digital cinema…. you are able to manipulate the WB from tungsten to daylight in a RAW image when shooting stills no problem.

    1. Just like different film stocks, the cameras sensor will have just one sensitivity to light and that’s what is recorded or saved. As you say you can manipulate the data with a computer to alter the way the data looks, but it really isn’t different to modifying the data in a jpeg. Raw is a single set of data about the scene just as a jpeg is. The difference is the 8 bit data and high compression makes the jpeg look bad if you push it too far compared to the much less compressed, higher bit depth raw.

      1. Thank you Alister to take the time to explain us how raw perform vs log very informativ.

  2. Very interesting. This is something that has always plagued my brain. I am not so much caught up in say the ProRes Raw upgrades that are coming to a majority of smaller cinema and dslr style cameras, I have always been more interested in the 12-bit color space that comes with it. Although your last comment about 10-bit raw vs log confuses me. But alas, this was still very informative. Your knowledge is always super beneficial. Thanks!

    1. Colourspace and bit depth are two different things and independent of each other. A colourspace is just a description of a colour range and how the colours in that range are stored, organised or reproduced. The same colour space can exist at almost any reasonable bit depth, for example S-gamut is the same colour space whether the file is 8 bit or 16 bit. Increasing bit depth does not normally give you more range or a bigger colourspace. Increased bit depth gives you greater tonal resolution.

      One of the most critical processes in a bayer camera is the conversion of the brightness only bitmap (the so called “raw data”) into a full colour image. You have to take the brightness information captured for each filtered colour and apply a lot of complex mathematics including things such as edge detection, colour estimation to create a colour image. I think we all know that whenever you do any heavy duty image processing that oversampling or starting off with as much original information as possible will produce the best results. It’s long been known by camera manufacturers that if you want a really good image you need to do your image processing at a bit depth greater than the bit depth of the output. Most high end video cameras take the data from the sensor at a minimum of 12 bit, if not 14 or even 16 bit. Then the camera uses an image processor operating at a similar or even higher bit depth to create the colour image. What you must remember with raw is that what we record is not a traditional colour image, but a record of the intensity of the different colours in the scene. If that raw image is only 10 bit and perhaps contains some compression artefacts before it’s even been turned into a colour image this is not good. The 10 bit colour image from the camera will probably be of better quality because it was derived from a higher quality original source. This is why until recently all professional raw cameras had at the very least a 12 bit log output if not 16 bit. It has long been accepted that you need at least 12 bit raw data to match 10 bit component log and the 12 bit raw must be free of any significant compression artefacts.

      Now that raw video has become the latest must have camera function everyone and their dog is adding raw video to cameras. But because it is actually quite difficult to record good quality 12 bit log raw or 16 bit linear raw in a small enough file for low cost, compact and reliable media, they are adding much simpler and easier formats such as 10 bit log or 12 bit linear. Just so they can put a raw sticker on the box.

      Everyone knows that there is a big difference between an 8 bit codec and a 10 bit one. We also know that highly compressed codecs don’t normally look as good as more lightly compressed codecs. Well these things apply to raw too. I would liken 10 bit raw to an 8 bit conventional recording. It works, used carefully you can get a good final image, but it’s not something you want to push about a lot, it’s a compromise and it will never be the best. When we get to 12 bit log it’s comparable to a 10 bit conventional recording. It should work well, should withstand a moderate amount of pushing and pulling in post. But I think what everyone has in their minds when they are thinking raw is really 16 bit raw. There used to be a saying regarding raw – to determine how many “bits” you need, take the dynamic range you wish to capture then add 2 and that’s the number of “bits” you need. So for a 14 stop camera, you want 16 bit raw. But in the race to be able to say “I’ve got raw” we suddenly now have a raft of 10 bit and 12 bit highly compressed raw formats that often offer no real benefit over a good quality 10 bit component log recording.

  3. I think you are incorrect about WB. This may be the case with SONY RAW because they “cheat” and use post processed white balance as a method to keep the final file smaller. ie Not true RAW. Have a look at other RAW codecs and they don’t do white balance in camera – they just tell you what it was as shot. WB is not applied until JPEG stage. The sensor doesn’t physically adjust it’s colour sensitivity with WB, it’s a post processing function. And if you have uncompressed RAW off the sensor it’s no different to doing it in camera.
    What can happen is the metering of the camera can be upset by incorrect WB when shooting.

    1. With video cameras because they almost all provide a simultaneous ability to output a high quality image via SDI, HDMI or for internal conventional recording, to avoid excess noise in daylight and/or reduced dynamic range under tungsten lights the R and B gain is adjusted in camera to maintain constant high performance under a wide range of lighting conditions.

      There is a very big difference between the effect changing the gain of a cameras A to D converters and changing gain anywhere else has. For example changing gain prior to recording alters the dynamic range that can be captured. Changing the gain of the A to D’s changes both DR and noise performance in ways very different to any changes made once the pixel output has been digitised. If you want the best DR and least noise, under daylight you want to keep the blue gain low and not use more R gain than you absolutely need. Under Tungsten lighting you need to raise the blue gain but lower the red to avoid a reduction in DR in the red channel. If you want the best possible performance across a broad range of colour temperatures you need to do these adjustments as early in the camera chain as possible. Once you have recorded the sensor output you can’t then alter the DR, if your reds are clipped because you had too much red gain you can’t ever recover that.

      It is very common to adjust the A to D gain to maintain the best dynamic range and noise performance under different colour temperatures.

      But – importantly, however you do it once the signal has been recorded in a file that does not have unlimited range or unlimited resolution, you have a fixed, single white balance determined by however the camera was setup to respond to light. Whether that’s a stills camera or a video camera, what you record has to have been optimised for just one single white balance, exactly as it can also only ever be optimised for one sensitivity. So anything you do in post is simply a correction to what was recorded and is not the same thing as an in camera white balance adjustment (unless it is a very crude camera). This is absolutely no different to to making a colour correction to log. If you were to record using component or RGB with the same gamma, bit depth and compression ratio as raw you would be able to correct and grade it in exactly the same way as you can raw. Raw isn’t magic, it’s just efficient.

  4. Alister, I agree with several others that your info about white balance is incorrect. I’m sure there is an ideal white balance for a sensor that will produce the best results/ dynamic range, but trying to adjust white balance in any gamma encoded video in post is not the same thing as doing it with Raw material. With log footage if you only use gain to adjust white balance you will never get the shadows, mids and highlights all balanced. If you get the highlights balanced the mids will be off. If you get mids balanced shadows will be off., etc. I have done extensive tests with this using Sony cameras. You need to use several controls like lift, gamma, gain, or offset as well as more focused controls (such as log shadows and highlights in Resolve) to even get reasonable results. With Raw material, the temp and tint controls achieve perfect white balance in post throughout the entire tonal range – identical to white balancing in camera. Exposure can be mimicked pretty accurately on log footage with a single control (offset), but white balance can not. You can see this for yourself by shooting a test card.

    1. Gamma is reversible. It is simply a mathematical formula applied to the footage and as a result is totally reversible. Provided you know the formula, with the right tools you can easily mimic the way raw behaves in post. Take S-Log material into ACES and use the colour temp slider and you can push and pull the white balance in just the same way as raw because ACES knows the S-Log formula and takes the log back to linear. Most colour managed workflows will allow you to do this.

      And don’t forget – many raw formats also have gamma. 10 and 12 bit log raw have a log gamma curve applied. So to do any changes to this you must be able to apply a transform to it or you will have the same issues.

      It’s not that you can’t adjust log as well as raw, it’s simply that people either don’t know how to do it properly or are using the wrong tools.

      White balancing raw in post can never be the same as white balancing in camera as you don’t have access to the sensors A to D converters. This is easy to show. Shoot the same test chart under tungsten and daylight. White balance correctly for both in camera. Then do the same but shoot the Tungsten chart using a daylight balance and the daylight chart using tungsten. Then take this into post and correct back to the right colour temperature. Then observe the noise. The noise will be much greater in the blue channel of the tungsten lit chart. Then there is also the dynamic range issue. When you white balance in camera you are adjusting your gain prior to recording and this will give you the optimum DR. Shoot with the wrong in camera white balance and the DR is not optimised and nothing you do in post can ever change it.

  5. Great article.
    There is however a noticeable difference in WB adjustment for RAW and debayered video.
    In Assimilate I did a test with ProRes Raw. I shot 3 images with a Varicam LT, outputting 10-bit log RAW. One file is at a correct in-camera WB of 5140, the second at 15000, the third at 2000. So those two are way off.
    Yet it is fairly easy to get those two images to a very acceptable look with the WB and Tint sliders. Not everything matches up identically with those simple adjustments. But with more tweaking, I can get them to match.
    If I try those adjustments with the same shots converted to 10-bit log RGB it becomes very hard to get an acceptable result.
    So even at that lower bitrate the RAW gives more wiggle room than the debayered file.

    1. There is no reason why that should be. Whatever you shoot does not have “every” white balance, it can only have one white balance as you only record one set of data, so it all depends on how the sensor was set. The only reason for the difference will be down to workflow, not the material itself.

      1. with an Arriraw file the white balance process is done in post production, the white balance set in camera when shooting is just for monitoring purposes and to set a guide and a tone for the colorist, the raw file from arri has all the sensor information required to transform the image data to any white balance in the scale, the same goes for the ISO or gain, as this is a post process of the data you can change the exposure index in post no problem

        1. No camera shoots every white balance and every ISO all at the same time. The sensor has a native white balance and a native ISO, all you do in post is skew it to what you want by changing the post production gain of the R, G and B channels. A raw image is nothing more than an unprocessed bitmap and just like any bitmap the levels are baked in.

          1. Please note, Black Magic is very different from other cameras, increasing ISO does not affect high lights?.
            Which proves once again that there is only one ISO 800??.
            It is thanks to this that the change of ISO is possible in post production?

            ? the camera records only with native ISO 800, even if you shoot in 1600?, you can go back to 800 without problem?

            I guarantee you that exposure compensation on a Sony FX6 has nothing to do with changing ISO in post-production with a Black Magic.

            Attention, Black Magic est très différente des autres caméras, la montée en ISO n’affecte pas les haute lumières.
            Ce qui prouve encore une fois qu’il y a un seul iso 800.
            C’est grâce à cela que le changement de ISO est possible en post production

            la caméra enregistre uniquement avec l’ISO natif 800, même si vous filmer en 1600, vous pouvez revenir à 800 sans problème

            Je vous garantis qu’une compensation de l’exposition sur une Sony FX6 n’a rien à voir avec un changement ISO en post-production avec une Black Magic.

  6. I partly support what you say about the management of ISOs in post production, An 800 iso camera remains a 800? iso camera
    Changing ISO to production is just a digital adjustment.
    If inside your camera the iso change is digital adjustment, and on your computer the iso change is a digital adjustment, then it is the same to go from 800 to 1600 in your camera or in your computer votre ???

    The problem comes from the definition of the word ISO, there is the real ISO on which the camera is calibrated, and the false ISOs with a digital gain

    Do a very simple test, I did it with my Ursa G2, you set your camera to 800 ISO and you run the Rec. During the recording you go to 1600 iso then as 2000iso then to 3200 ISO?.

    Once you have imported the raw video into your editing software?
    With Black Magic raw you set your camera to 800, you can start playback?, as if by magic there is no more iso change, the video has no exposure change (these are false iso, digital gain )
    Moreover, the grain which is extremely visible at ISO 3200 will disappear as if by magic once you have set the black Magic raw to 800iso

    Regarding the color temperature?
    The principle of the Raw format is to record a color space so large that it exceeds the calibration of the camera in 5600 Kelvin?

    When you record your Cinema camera in raw, it is as if you record several video between 2500k and 10 000 K? (ursa g2), Even if your camera is calibrated in 5600 and you could not change this, the color space recorded is so huge (rec2020) that you have the possibility to modify the kelvin measurement in post-production?????

    No I don’t agree with what you say, not with everything

    Ulysses PAYA
    French Director, cinematographer???

    Je soutiens en partie ce que vous dites sur la gestion des ISO en post production, Une caméra 800 iso reste une caméra à 800? iso
    Le changement ISO en poste production n’est qu’un ajustement numérique.
    Si à l’intérieur de votre caméra le changement iso est en ajustement numérique, et que sur votre ordinateur le changement iso est un ajustement numérique, alors c’est la même chose choisie de passer de 800 à 1600 dans votre caméra ou dans votre ordinateur? ???

    Le problème vient de la définition du mot ISO, il y a l’ISO réel sur lequel est calibré la caméra, et les faux ISO avec un gain numérique

    Faites un test tout simple, je l’ai fait avec mon Ursa G2, vous réglez votre caméra en 800 ISO et vous lancez le Rec, Pendant l’enregistrement vous passez à 1600 iso puis comme 2000iso puis à 3200 ISO?.

    Une fois que vous avez importé la vidéo brute dans votre logiciel de montage?
    Avec Black Magic raw vous réglez votre caméra sur 800, vous pouvez lancer la lecture?, comme par magie il n’y a plus de changement iso?, la video na pas de changement d’exposition (ce sont des faux iso, gain numerique )
    D’ailleurs le grain extrêmement visible en 3200 ISO disparaîtra comme par magie une fois que vous avez réglé le black Magic raw sur 800iso

    Pour ce qui concerne la température de couleur?
    Le principe du format Raw et d’enregistrer un espace colorimétriques tellement important qu’il dépasse la calibration de la caméra en 5600 Kelvin?

    Quand vous enregistrez votre caméra Cinema en raw, C’est comme si vous enregistrez plusieur video entre 2500k et 10 000 K? (ursa g2), Même si votre caméra est calibré en 5600 et que vous pourrais pas changer cela, l’espace colorimétrie enregistré est tellement immense (rec2020) que vous avez la possibilité de modifier la mesure kelvin en post-production?????

    Non je ne suis pas d’accord avec ce que vous dites, pas avec tout

    Ulysse PAYA
    Realisateur, chef opérateur???

    1. Sorry but you are incorrect.

      Anything you do in post production involves changing the gain, whether that’s ISO or White balance and changing the gain changes the noise, it is NEVER lossless.

      To change the ISO in post, you must change the gain, it is not lossless and you can do it with any type of video format, it is not unique to raw in any way.

      To change the white balance in post you have to change the ratio of red/green/blue and this is done by changing the gain of the red, blue and green channels. This is not lossless. And you can do this with ANY video format it is not unique to raw.

      Colour gamut and white balance are two very different things A bigger gamut does not mean that you are able to change the white balance further in post production. Gamut is RANGE, white balance is GAIN. Yes – you can adjust WB in post production, but to do this you must add or subtract gain from the red and blue channels and this will change the noise in the footage.

      Silicon sensors are more sensitive to red than blue, so this means that they will work much better in daylight than under tungsten light, they are daylight balanced. You can correct this in camera by adjusting the gain of the analog to digital converters so that the sensor outputs an optimised signal, this is always the best way to set the white balance. Or you can do it in post by shifting the balance of the recorded signal to tungsten by adjusting the gain in post. But you can do this with ANY record format. It is also much less optimal as you will have more noise in the blue channel.
      And just as you can do this with raw, you can also do it with any other format and it is equally effective with Log recordings that have a Gamut just as large as raw (the sensor is always the limiting factor), there is not something extra or special about raw and how white balance works or how much it can be adjusted.

      1. I’m sorry, I have performed many private tests that show me that there is no difference except the difference in exposure influenced by the shutter speed and the aperture of the diaphragm??

        I gave you an example which proves it, if you film in 800 ISO then without cutting the recording you go to 1600 then as 2000 iso then to 3200?, In post-production you set your camera to 800 ISO, it doesn’t there is more ISO change, how do you explain that? A digital signal adjustment that compensates for every change?

        Impossible! the reality is that the black Magic URSA g2 just has a single ISO 800

        When you change the ISOs on the camera, they are not ISOs, it is digital signal processing which is identical to digital signal processing in the production workstation?

        So the main problem is that we call ISO digital gain compensation

        If we forget the word ISO:

        The change of the false digital gain is possible or shooting as in production station

        The only thing that really affects your exposure is the aperture of the diaphragm and the shutter speed, yes if you are in 1600 iso you have an additional signal compensation stop, which will cause you to lower your diaphragm your speed of 1 stop, the result is that you are underexposed by 1 stop, so yes the iso is not a real exposure parameter, but they influence the other settings of your camera?? ?

        Je suis désolé, j’ai réalisé de nombreux test privés qui me démontre qu’il n’y a aucune différence si ce n’est la différence d’exposition influencé par la vitesse d’obturation et l’ouverture du diaphragme

        Je vous ai donné un exemple qui le prouve, si vous filmer en 800 iso puis sans coupé l’enregistrement vous passez à 1600 puis as 2000 iso puis a 3200, En post-production vous régler votre caméra sur 800 ISO, il n’y a plus de changement ISO, comment expliquez-vous cela ? Un ajustement numérique du signal qui compense chaque changement ?

        Impossible! la réalité est que la black Magic URSA g2 a juste un seul ISO 800

        Quand vous changer les iso sur la caméra, ce n’est pas des iso, c’est un traitement numérique du signal qui est identique au traitement numérique du signal en poste production

        Donc Le principal problème est qu’on appelle ISO une compensation numérique du gain

        Si on oublie le mot ISO:

        Le changement du faux gain numérique est possible ou tournage comme en poste production

        La seule chose qui affecte réellement votre exposition c’est l’ouverture du diaphragme et la vitesse d’obturation, oui si vous êtes en 1600 iso vous avez un stop supplémentaire de compensation du signal, ce qui vous poussera à baisser votre diaphragme votre vitesse de 1 stop, le résultat est que vous êtes sous exposés de 1 stop, alors oui le iso n’est pas un paramètre d’exposition réelle, mais ils influencent les autres réglages de votre caméra

        1. I’m really not sure what you are trying to say, other than agreeing with the main article where I make it clear that you can’t change the ISO in post, only add or subtract gain.

          In the original article:
          “But then we have to consider how ISO works on an electronic camera. You can’t change the sensor in a video camera so in reality you can’t change how sensitive an electronic camera is (I’m ignoring cameras with dual ISO for a moment). All you can do is adjust the gain or amplification applied to the signal from the sensor.”

          BUT there is a very important difference between doing this in the camera and in post production. In the camera increasing the gain will often increase the analog gain before the sensor A to D converters, this is MUCH better than digital gain that occurs after the signal has been quantised. Increasing the gain at the sensor level reduces quantisation artefacts and has much less of an effect on the signal to noise ratio than changing the gain later on.

          When you change the gain in the camera you maximise the use of the recording codec. Raising the gain to fill the recording range means you will use 100% of the recording data.

          For example if you can only reach 50% of the maximum recording range due to under exposure, increasing the camera gain by 6dB will double the data that you record increasing the tonal resolution of the recordings.

          Engineers and camera developers have known this since the very first cameras were developed which is why variable gain is available in most cameras. Changing the gain in the camera is quite different to changing the gain in post production.

          Cameras like the FX6 and the FX9 do have different sensitivities, they are not just gain differences. The way the sensor operates actually changes and the cameras do actually have different sensitivity levels.

          1. I agree with everything you just wrote

            Camara Black Magic are different, changing ISO inside the camera does not provide any analog gain

            This is why we can change the “iso” in the production workstation, because it is not a native iso, it’s just an internal correction

            Before I worked with Sony cameras, when I switched to Ursa G2 I went crazy because of this ISO difference 🙂

            The sensitivity at Black Magic is very different from that of Sony?

          2. No, the sensitivity of BM and Sony when shooting raw is not different. When shooting raw with a Sony camera the gain is always fixed and cannot be changed.
            In the CineEI mode the Sony cameras apply a monitoring LUT and the brightness of the monitoring LUT is adjusted to provide the equivalent of an ISO change, but the recordings remain at the sensors fixed native ISO. I’ve written about this and how you use it many, many time before.

            The recent Sony’s do however have a big advantage in that the sensors do have 2 different sensitivities so you can choose between either the low sensitivity or high sensitivity with no difference in dynamic range and only the very smallest difference in noise, something the Blackmagic cameras with their fake raw can’t get close to.

            Blackmagic raw isn’t even raw. It’s already demosaiced in the camera. They have to do this to avoid the Red patent on internal raw recording.

          3. this is compressed raw, indeed some of the processing is done inside the camera, but a small part not all, yes they did that to avoid Red’s patent. It doesn’t mean you have inferior quality.

            As for the raw at Sony?? It exists externally only, except on the venice

            And no you are wrong, the black magic raw is different?

            When you log video with Sony the 18/100 gray should be placed at half of your video signal, 50%

            with black Magic when you shoot in log, your 18/100 gray is at 38.4% of the signal. you talk without knowing and it’s dangerous, giving you false information, and I’m sick of people getting stuck on the failures of the early Black Magic cameras. ???

            You seem to be talking about material you don’t know

            It’s a shame, since you wrote a lot of truth in your article, I am not a fan of Black Magic, but having worked at Sony and at Black Magic, I can tell you that it is different, and that you deceive??

          4. FACT: BRaw is demosaiced in camera. The very definition of raw is material that has NOT been demosaiced. BRaw is very different to every other type of raw where the demosaic is done in post production which then gives you maximum flexibility. BRaw is a clever codec and it offers good quality and flexibility, but it is not raw.

            Yes, I am well aware that Sony’s raw is recorded externally. Even the F65 and Venice use an external record, the AXS R7 is an external recorder. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t raw.

            NO you do not record middle grey at 50% when shooting with Sony raw or Log. It’s not me that doesn’t know what they are talking about. S-Log3 would be 41% and S-log2 would be 32%. And if you are shooting S-Log3 50% isn’t half of the video signal anyway. Why bother stating something that is completely incorrect and irrelevant to this discussion?

            Where have I given false information or deceived anyone? And very clearly I know one hell of a lot more about this stuff than you do.

            I don’t know which bit of Sony you worked for but it’s obviously nothing to do with their cameras that shoot log or raw as you very clearly proved that you have no idea how they work. I would suggest you spend some more time learning how cameras work. You will find it very helpful once you understand better.

            If you read my guide to CineEI for the FX6 or for the FS7 (the mode you use when shooting log or raw) you will see that the recording sensitivity does not change it is fixed, just like a BM camera shooting raw. They are not different.

            Have a good day, I won’t be responding to you any further, you are just wasting my time.

          5. The ISO rise of Black Magic cameras which have a single native ISO is very different, the highlights do not move, even if you shoot a blank page in direct sunlight and you increase ISO you do not have overexposure (if you have correctly set your camera with the native iso (800) ?? without overexposure)

  7. Hi, thanks for the interesting article, I’m looking to find out what would be the native white balance of a a6300, in the article you point that video cams tend to favour reds, would be the same for a photo cam such as the a6300 ?
    As I see you own one, do you have any knowledge about it or know where to find it?
    Can’t find anywhere info regarding native WB.

    1. Like most CMOS sensors the sensor will most likely be less sensitive to blue than red and this means the sensor will perform best under daylight. But you should always use the most appropriate in-camera white balance for the colour temp you are shooting under as the sensors gain will be adjusted to the optimum for that particular white balance.

      1. Thanks a lot for your reply.
        I asked because I’m currently researching to optimise the color palette in a consistent way that could be replicated across all Sony alpha models on RAW + Video.
        Regarding White Balance with compressed HEVC-S video specifically with the “creative styles” I found that to neutralise undesired color/contrast, very unrealistic skin tones etc, at any illuminant WB and any exposure, I level the WB to the blues in-camera to counterweight bad contrast/color for skin etc, then afterwards in post I correct with precision the blue WB and mix it masking the neutrals and splitting it in shadows/highlights, sort of a split tone but using light temperature casts. Resulting in lots of chromatic noise in the darks but at the same time, weirdly, increasing chromatic dynamic range in a very harmonic way.
        None of that is necessary for Cine-4, Slog, etc, as it seems to be somehow only affected with gamut/tone curves of profiles that crushes down mid-tones and shadows.
        Nevertheless the mixing of different WB seem to work with RAW too and at least “artificially” sort of harmonises a color palette rather unbalanced for my taste.


  8. Hello, Alister! This white balance information is really hard to accept. All tests I’ve seen with raw photos show the opposite. And there shouldn’t be any stark differences for video. Maybe you can do a test proving this? Or point me to where can I find evidence of this red-blue channel gain prior to RAW capture? Thanks for all the great content!

    1. Accept it because it should be obvious that a sensor can only capture a single white balance when you take a single image. How can you possibly capture every possible white balance all at once? There are colour filters in front of each pixel in the sensor and you can’t change these after the fact. You can’t change the R G B gain of the sensor after the fact. So the sensor will only ever capture a single set of R G and B levels and those levels will be dependant on the colour of the light falling on them at the time of capture. Sure, you can push and pull the levels in post or using a raw WB slider but this is not the same as having capture multiple white balances. Try a simple experiment – set the camera to a high white balance, say 6000K and capture a scene lit with tungsten light. Watch how the noise level in the blue channel increases when you try to change the WB back to tungsten in post. Why does the noise in the blue channel change – because you are adding blue gain in post to correct the incorrect captured WB. If the camera had truly captured every white balance then there would be no noise change as there would be no need to change the blue gain in post or via the raw WB slider. ISO is the same.

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