I understand that it is a newbie question and if googled there are tons of articles regarding this, yet I am a bit confused with the answers given.

So, in every video post production there is almost always some color correction. In this case, why is white balance correction necessary? Especially if a color card is used and the colors of the video are adjusted to the card, why "bother" with the white balance?

Yet, I have seen videos concerning video editing and I noticed that both white balance and color correction appear, with WB preceding.

Finally, is there a standard procedure regarding the work flow of the color adjustment?

Thank you in advance.

  • White balance is usually a first step to color correction. White balancing a shot in postproduction means adjusting the footage’s numeric reference point for neutral light until it matches neutral light falling in the scene. (If you lit the scene with a blue DJ effect light, you wouldn’t balance to that). Color correction compensates for the differences between cameras; either between individual cameras and each other, when “shot matching” or between a camera’s neutral state and the desired final look of the footage. Dec 14, 2020 at 20:36

2 Answers 2


Regarding the standard procedure, the short version is:

  • get the colour looking correct but neutral, which is when you do corrections for white balance and exposure problems. The footage will look "natural" at this point.
  • match the colour between shots (this is really part of step 1).
  • apply a creative colour grade, to achieve the look that you want. You can do this on a scene by scene basis, rather than shot-by-shot.

Usually getting the colour looking natural is the best place to start when applying a "look". It's very hard to get a consistent look between shots that are not corrected to match each other.

  • This is a good summarization of the process, but I’d add that in practice, the process is complicated and subjective enough that there is no standard approach, hence the need for colorists. Dec 14, 2020 at 20:45

You can only correct your color this much. Depending on the codec and container you are recording in, you will encounter problems with compression along the way. If you set the white balance drastically wrong and try to pull it back with lumetri, the colors will start to break apart unless you were recording in a lossless or near-lossless codec (such as ProresRaw or BlackMagicRaw). It's always advisable to set your white-balance in camera, although you can save it in post, since some codecs and filetypes may lead to issues regarding bit-depth and color-subsampling along the way. If you know what you're doing and are recording in RAW for example, you may disregard white-balance. I would not recommend it though.

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