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Solving Mercury Vapor Lighting Problems

There are times when you may find yourself having to shoot video under mercury vapor light. As most of you know, shooting under mercury vapor lights can play havoc with your camcorder’s color balance and you end up with your video having an ugly, off red tint. Your camcorders CCD chips are very sensitive to UV light, which is a non-visible high energy source.

So how do you solve this problem?

First, you are going to need a UV filter for your camcorder lens. Check the specification section of your camcorders owners manual for the proper filter size for your camcorder lens. UV filters are available at most photo or video stores. Using the UV filter will eliminate 70 to 80% of your problem. The filter doesn’t solve the whole problem, because the lighting gain wavelength profile has changed. The picture looks better, but it’s still not correct.

Second, you are going to need a proc amp or video processor to correct the remaining color imbalance. (Note: Most non-linear editing systems have built-in proc amp controls) By adjusting the Hue (Chroma phase) control you can make the additional correction that’s needed to get the picture to look natural. This same correction technique can also be used in factory and industrial environments, at sporting events, etc., where mercury vapor lighting is used.

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