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What is Daylight Balancing?

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 11/17/2009

Learn about daylight balanced film stock and how to use it.

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    Film Light Tips

    When it comes to actual motion film you will find that things tend to be much more focused to the purpose of the film. The place and time that you film at will affect your choice in what type of film stock you are going to choose. If you are going out to film in the middle of a well lit day you will likely choose a film stock that is made directly for your situation. This is what daylight balanced film stock is.

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    Daylight Balanced Film Stock

    Film stock are balanced for specific types of color temperatures. Daylight balanced film stock is is balance for the color temperature of 5500 degrees K. The daylight balanced film stock is set to pick up well on several types of light that make up the over all contrast of what we refer to as "daylight." This includes a collage of direct light and that light that reflects off the sky, which is somewhat cooler. The idea here is to catch the entire spectrum of light temperature that composes the average of daylight, which can range from under 2000 degrees K to well over 10,000 K. This will mean, however, that the best images for the daylight balanced film stock will be in the direct middle with a slight leaning toward the hotter temperature.

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    Using Daylight Balancing

    Daylight balanced film stock is supposed to be used in daylight. If you are going to be shooting in darker light situations, night, or in doors you may want to choose another film stock. Often times tungsten light will be used to counter this with the daylight balanced film stock in conjunction with a filter. Choose your film stock according to the needs that you have.

    Film stock is very expensive so you want to be able to get the right balancing to support and ensure the images you want. Though daylight balanced film stock will be less sensitive to exposure than other types of film stock you should still try to not load your camera in direct sunlight and if you are filming on an older device, such as a Bolex, you may want to seal it up with gaffers tape so that you will not get any film damage.