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Light meter or no light meter, that is the question?

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Olivier Prudhomme
Light meter or no light meter, that is the question?
on May 24, 2019 at 1:34:11 pm

It seems light meters allow for super precise light control.
Do you guys use them for video work?
I am not talking Hollywood movies but dsl shoots.
Until now I relied on false colors and lots of setting tweaking to get what I hope to be good without ever being 100% sure the shot would look right.
Any recommendations on which to get ?
Thx

Los Angeles - TV Promo Editor - Ppro - AVID


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john sharaf
Re: Light meter or no light meter, that is the question?
on May 24, 2019 at 1:51:06 pm

Basically you'd use your light-meter for lighting; setting the key, fill and ratios
You don't really need it for setting exposure

JS



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Todd Terry
Re: Light meter or no light meter, that is the question?
on May 24, 2019 at 2:37:04 pm

John does more precise and much much higher-end work than I do, so it sounds like he uses a light meter some... which is understandable.

If I wanted to use one of my meters, the first job would be to go look for them (I think I know where they are, but can't assuredly say that I do). I probably haven't used a light meter since the last time I shot film... so that's been at least a few years now.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Light meter or no light meter, that is the question?
on May 24, 2019 at 4:55:04 pm

Alright, I like the answer.
My question wasn't well put. I meant using a meter to shape light, hence you have proper exposure.
Because unless you have a few decades of experience, I don't see how you can shape light with precise rations 2:1, 8:1 etc.

Any recommendations on a meter? For indie filmmaking, so very budget concerned :-)

Los Angeles - TV Promo Editor - Ppro - AVID


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Rick Wise
Re: Light meter or no light meter, that is the question?
on May 24, 2019 at 6:06:22 pm

The meter I suggested costs $219. check eBay for used ones for even less. Also at times B&H and Adorama will have a used one.

As for lighting ratios, I've never paid any attention to that, but if you're just beginning, maybe worth measuring to help train your eye. I suggest you light so the "ratio" looks good. Then take some measurements if you're curious. Use the flat disc included with the meter for this purpose.

If you're lighting a large scene, you will save tons of time with a meter because you can dial in the light intensity quickly on each unit. If the key in position A is f/2.8, then in general you will want the keys in all the other positions to also be at f/2.8. Etc.

Yes, Todd, we still shoot film in classes on campus. Not those online. Actually I have agitated to going 100% digital, but the fact we continue to shoot film seems to attract students. Hardly any other schools do these days. And I suspect not one graduate will ever shoot a foot of film out in the wide world of "filmmaking." One advantage of shooting film as a student: it helps promote discipline. The stuff costs so much that one quickly learns to shoot carefully. Digital tends to invite rolling the camera forever. Students have no idea what that does to the editor.....

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
MFA/BFA Lighting and Camera Instructor Academy of Art University
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Light meter or no light meter, that is the question?
on May 24, 2019 at 6:37:42 pm

[Rick Wise] "The meter I suggested costs $219. check eBay for used ones for even less. Also at times B&H and Adorama will have a used one.
awesome

if you're just beginning, maybe worth measuring to help train your eye. I suggest you light so the "ratio" looks good.
actually not beginning but wanting to have more control to really shape lighting to achieve very specific goals

If you're lighting a large scene, you will save tons of time with a meter because you can dial in the light intensity quickly on each unit. If the key in position A is f/2.8, then in general you will want the keys in all the other positions to also be at f/2.8. Etc. "

great info. Thx!

Los Angeles - TV Promo Editor - Ppro - AVID


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Light meter or no light meter, that is the question?
on May 24, 2019 at 4:57:54 pm

[john sharaf] "You don't really need it for setting exposure"

Alright, I like the answer.
My question wasn't well put. I meant using a meter to shape light, hence you have proper exposure.
Because unless you have a few decades of experience, I don't see how you can shape light with precise rations 2:1, 8:1 etc.

Any recommendations on a meter? For indie filmmaking, so very budget concerned :-)

Los Angeles - TV Promo Editor - Ppro - AVID


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Rick Wise
Re: Light meter or no light meter, that is the question?
on May 24, 2019 at 3:47:31 pm

You asked which light meter? I suggest the Sekonic L-308DC, which today is branded, L-308X-U. It's rugged and holds its setting well. After a gazillion years with my much more expensive Spectra, I've switched over completely to this small Sekonic that fits easily in a shirt pocket. A couple of caveats: the instructions are lousy and for accurate work you need to set it up correctly; the lumidisc globe is tiny and hard to place accurately; in reflective mode it sprays over 30 degrees and you can't aim it correctly.

Todd and most shooters today hardly ever use a meter. As Mark said, you don't need it for exposure any more. But if you are lighting a set it's very helpful. And, if you are lucky enough to shoot film as we still do at the Academy of Art University, you must have one for lighting control and also for exposure.

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
MFA/BFA Lighting and Camera Instructor Academy of Art University
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Light meter or no light meter, that is the question?
on May 24, 2019 at 3:56:44 pm

[Rick Wise] "...if you are lucky enough to shoot film as we still do at the Academy of Art University..."

You do, Rick? I'm impressed by that.

I haven't shot film in a very long time... but I do consider it invaluable that I know how to, and could if I wanted. Although I don't miss cursing in the darkroom while blindly trying to find the scissors. "I know I put them right there!"

I do miss the smell, though.

I've mentioned this before, but I do have a bunch of cans of 35mm in the fridge here, if anyone wants it....



It's way out of date, obviously, but I've shot with film that was as much as 10 years old before with no ill effects. These are mostly shortends and recans, although there's what looks to be a factory-fresh roll of 5279 in there. If anyone wants it all, it's yours for the shipping cost.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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