Colour Temperature in Filmmaking

Footage feeling a little off-colour? Let Karl introduce you to the Kelvin scale.

In this filmmaking class, Karl explains colour temperature and shows you how to adjust your camera settings to achieve the right colour temperature in your videos.

Beginning by explaining colour temperature and the Kelvin scale on which it is measured, Karl illustrates the difference between cold (blue), neutral (white) and warm (orange) light.

He then shows you how to adjust the White (or Colour) Balance setting on your camera to suit (and, if necessary, neutralise) the colour temperature of the light on set.

In this class:

  • Colour temperature in filmmaking
  • The Kelvin scale of colour temperature
  • Cold, neutral and warm light
  • Adjusting White Balance or Colour Balance on your camera
  • Colour index of lighting

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Gary Stasiuk

    Question about filming with the intention of adding a LUT afterward. I love cinema and I pay a great deal of attention to the mood and feel of a film, specially in regards to the colour pallet they apply to a film. I’m curious what they are doing in terms of colour temperature adjustments at the time of filming and what might be the best approach to the type of capture.. are they using one of the LOG types, which wouldn’t be my first choice but may provide the most latitude for manipulation.. or shoot good contrast proper colour. I’m wondering if you have any information in approach for raw capture if your intention is to add a LUT which manipulates the colours a great deal.

  2. Hi Karl,
    I can see that filming at the right colour temperature is important but it’s very difficult if filming on the fly (I use the Sony A7siii and the GoPro 10 Black for vlogging). If I change the colour temperature in camera, how much better is it than leaving it to auto and then changing it in post?

    1. Hi Mark, auto white balance is OK for the many situations where you just need a neutral result but as demonstrated in this video it is where the auto goes ‘too far’ with the correction that it becomes a problem. You can change the colour balance in post to a degree but it is less destructive to set the colour balance you need in camera rather than try to correct in post although small changes in post are not a problem, it’s only when you have to make big shifts that it is more of an issue.

  3. Hi Karl,
    Many many thanks for this series.
    I really appreciate the clarity with
    which you explain how colour temp
    I wonder though how it is possible
    to know the colour temp of a certain
    light source. For example, how did
    you know the candles were 2000K?
    Are there any way to measure a light
    source in terms of Kelvin measurement?

    1. Hi, thank you. Most light sources have known colour temperatures that are listed in various tables or you could use a colour temperature meter but these are quite expensive and probably more than you need.

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