How to Correct White Balance in iMovie

Of all the standard photo and video adjustments, white balancing is usually the first step taken by editors to get the image right. White balancing can be done on a camcorder, though this is rarely as reliable and refined as something an editor can do in post. Whether you’re taking stills or full-motion video, it’s important to take the type of lighting into account and adjust your image accordingly. For example, a sunlit room at high noon will be lit with very different tones than a room filled with soft white light at night. This will create a more true-to-life representation of what was captured and make advanced color correction much easier.

You can identify a poorly balanced image by an obvious tint over the entire picture. For example, your subject may appear to be washed in yellow, blue, or even green. This is corrected through white balancing and refined later through advanced color correction techniques.

White balancing is just one step in a process of adjusting an image to make it look the way you want it to look. In professional environments, cameramen often carry white cards with them to hold up next to their subjects during the first few frames of video. This allows them to perfect white balancing in post. In the absence of this process, you can either try to find something that is white (or as close to it as possible) in your image or attempt to make the correction manually.

iMovie is not a professional-grade video editing program by any stretch of the imagination. It is, however, one of the most frequently used programs by vloggers and other YouTube video makers. It is also currently the primary video editing program used by the LockerGnome channel for its simplicity and low cost. An equivalent program on the Windows platform would be Windows Movie Maker at the basic level and a program like Sony Vegas moving up to more advanced options.

In iMovie, white balancing can be done very easily. Here’s how it’s done:

  • Click the cogwheel that appears over the clip in your timeline as you move your mouse over it.
  • Select Video Adjustments.
  • Move your mouse over the preview image of your video and click on a white object in the frame.

That’s it; your image should adjust and white balance using the object you selected as its white reference. Once this is done, you’re ready to move on to advanced color correction, if necessary.

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