White Balancing with Tungsten to get Daylight-cn it b dun?


New member
Hi there,
I'm to be working on a last minute experimental shoot, with access to 3 red heads. The director wants daylight color temp, for which I know we would require 1/2 or 1/4 CTBs to be put onto the reds. At the moment we don't know if we can get the gels, and my director posed me the question 'can we just white balance to make it look cold and daylight'. My initial answer was no, but then I got curious to find out if that is possible. White balancing to Tungsten lights to achieve a daylight color temp. Don't think that's possible, considering white balancing is just telling the camera to read certain colors as white..but thought I'd pose the question anyway.
Would be great to hear any opinions!!


New member
I assume you're shooting video otherwise you wouldn't be asking the way you are. You can sort of make it happen. The only way I can think of is to have either a CTO gel or something similarly orange that you can put over the lens or focus the lens on while under tungsten lights. When you white balance the red heads should go slightly blue. Then in post you'll probably need to augment it with more color correction. If there are any lights in use that you want to be white instead of blue you will need to put CTO over those to balance them back to white as the camera sees it.
I had a shoot where one scene was shot in studio and we only had tungsten units. I gelled the lights I wanted to be white with CTO and balanced to those and then brought the blue up even more in post.

Best of luck.
White balancing and matching color temps are separate issues. The reason you put Full CTB gel on a 3200K tungsten lamp is to make the color temp match any 5500K daylight in the room. If there was no daylight to match to, you could just light for 3200K afterall.

You're trying to make all the light sources in the scene the same color temp so that THEN they can be corrected together, as an overall image, whether in-camera with a filter or with white balancing.

But if you don't match the colors of the light sources first, then color-correcting will just shift everything in one direction or the other, but the differences will still exist (i.e. a 3200K lamp will look more orange than a 5500K lamp, or conversely, 5500K daylight will look bluer than a 3200K lamp.)


If you're going for the cold blue look. You will need a tungsten balance in the camera but daylight sources. Because the camera is leaning toward the orange part of the spectrum it sees the daylight sources as bluer than white. You could also use blue filters on the camera or lights, but that reduces your exposure dramatically. Your best bet is to match all of your sources in front of the camera first and then play with colors in camera or in post. That way it will always be clean.