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#1 22west

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 11:13 PM

I'm shot some Kodak Vision2 200T a couple of months back - here's a sample shot.

Posted Image

The only lights in use here are a 1K about 6 feet to the subjects left with a full CTO gel and the 80W practical as shown.

The light meter was giving me a reflected reading of F16 on the subjects left cheek and this is what I set the camera at.

In your experience - does this reading sound correct?

The reason I am confused is because I am referencing a setup in Benjamin Bergery's "Reflections" where the scene is bathed in 10Ks and the light readings don't go any higher than F8 (chapter 13 - Tony Pierce Roberts "Two Days"). Note that their shot also used an ASA200 film.

I'm hope I'm not missing something simple here... :blink:
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#2 N DeWood

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 11:23 PM

hello,

Why did you take a reflected reading rather than an incident reading? Is that the only type of reading you took?

Also, did you take a candle reading, and then reference ASC manual for proper exposure before shooting?

I'm shot some Kodak Vision2 200T a couple of months back - here's a sample shot.

Posted Image

The only lights in use here are a 1K about 6 feet to the subjects left with a full CTO gel and the 80W practical as shown.

The light meter was giving me a reflected reading of F16 on the subjects left cheek and this is what I set the camera at.

In your experience - does this reading sound correct?

The reason I am confused is because I am referencing a setup in Benjamin Bergery's "Reflections" where the scene is bathed in 10Ks and the light readings don't go any higher than F8 (chapter 13 - Tony Pierce Roberts "Two Days"). Note that their shot also used an ASA200 film.

I'm hope I'm not missing something simple here... :blink:


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#3 Andrew Redd

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 12:44 AM

The scene is definitly underexposed unless that is the look you are going for which it very well might be. If you don't already have one, I would suggest using an incident meter for the next time you want to determine your f-stop. I rarely use the spot meter for determining where to set my lens. I tend to use the spot meter more for seeing the differences in my various light sources in helping me tweak my lighting set-ups to better support (or not support) my incident reading on my subject. This is how I was trained, it may or may not be the correct way to approach lighting a scene and shooting it at the correct f-stop, but it works for me. If all you have is a 1k to light your interior scene, you might want to try a faster stock, like Kodak Vision2 5218 500T. It's a great stock with minimal grain and it would give you a little more latitude to work with.

-Andrew Redd
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#4 22west

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 12:48 AM

hello,

Why did you take a reflected reading rather than an incident reading? Is that the only type of reading you took?

Also, did you take a candle reading, and then reference ASC manual for proper exposure before shooting?


I also took two incident readings - one with the opaque filter aimed at the light (f/16) and one with it aimed at the camera (f/13) - both with the meter held near the subjects face.

The olnly meter I have (a Sekonic L-218) doesn't read in fcs.

I can't find the tables in the ASC Manual but I checked the illumination table in the Kodak specs for this film and it tells me about 1600 fc are required to expose correctly at f/16. I don't think this 1K is putting out that much light is it?

If you think I am out in left field on all this let me know - as this is all very knew to me and i need to learn.

Thanks for the help.
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#5 Joe Farris

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 01:03 AM

I am assuming you are going for "proper exposure" and not an under exposed "look". If you were trying to expose the woman's face for correct exposure you can't simply take the reading the meter gives you and set your lens. A light meter is calibrated to expose for "middle gray". light colored skin tones usually fall a stop or so above middle gray. taking an incident reading at the subject with the meter facing the camera is the best way to determine your subjects exposure. If when you took this reading the meter reads f13 that would be the correct exposure for a gray card under that lighting condition. I would have opened up a half to a full stop for proper exposure. Making it somewhere around f8 or f8/f11 split.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 03:25 AM

Well, it looks like the 1K is too spotted in, and if you were reading the hottest spot and exposed for it, most of the frame would be too underexposed. Trouble when a light is spotted like that is the reading you get from it varies quite a bit just depending on how close the dome is to the center of the beam.

The question is why didn't you flood out & scrim & close-in the barndoors (to reduce spill once you flooded out) to shoot at a more reasonable f-stop like f/4, so that the table lamp would expose more brightly and look more realistic?

Even so, it does seem odd that you got an f/16 and the shot looks underexposed, so perhaps you set-up the meter incorrectly, or I guess the spotty light really fooled the meter.
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#7 22west

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 10:19 AM

The question is why didn't you flood out & scrim & close-in the barndoors (to reduce spill once you flooded out) to shoot at a more reasonable f-stop like f/4, so that the table lamp would expose more brightly and look more realistic?


This is the look I wanted but I didn't quite get there. Perhaps the light was spotted - I don't remember - I will try the setup again and flood out like you suggested - maybe shoot for the practical to be 2 1/2 stops above the face.

I had someone else take a reading with the meter too - just to double check the meter setup - but they got the same reading. Is it possible the meter is off? I don't think these things go that far out of adjustment - its a needle type - and I figure it either reads correctly or not at all. But it is an old one...
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#8 Phil Curry

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 12:44 PM

The results you obtained were consistant with your use of the meter. If you wanted her key side cheek to look line that you used the right meter and the right technique. The spot meter is a great tool, but you need to interpret the readings and adjust the stop accordingly. An incident meter is a guide to normal exposure and is not the best way to obtain a look that deviates from that. However you stopped to soon. You could have metered other areas of the scene to see how they would look, or you could have trusted your eye.
Foot candles have nothing to do with your situation unless you have a foot candle meter. Ignore that idea.
When you are trying to emulate a shot that was done with a 10k and you have a 1k consider that the 10k may have been much farther away, set to flood or spot, may have gone through difussion - possibly many layers and may have been dimmed or scrimed.
You are on the right track to learn. Light, shoot and study the results - repeat. Consider using a still camera to start, cheaper and quicker.
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#9 Clive Tobin

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 08:11 PM

I'm shot some Kodak Vision2 200T a couple of months back ...:


You didn't say what camera you are using. There is more than a 1 stop spread in light efficiency between different kinds.

For example, a Bolex Reflex with the variable shutter fully open has an exposure equivalent to 1/80 to 1/85 second at 24 FPS. A Bell & Howell 70-DR is more like 1/42 second at 24 FPS. If your camera has a variable shutter it could have been partly closed also upsetting the exposure. Cheers,
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#10 Greg Gross

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 10:31 PM

Hello 22 West,

Your user name sounds like the title of a film,"22 West". As soon as I saw it I started thinking
about writing a story with that title. It reminds me of a Michael Douglas film, you know like he
goes to "22 West" as a detective to interview the beautiful woman, whose husband recently has
become deceased. For practical purposes I'm assuming that you are shooting at 24fps and that
the shutter angle is probably 170 to 200 degrees. Your shutter speed would be approx. 1/50 sec..
I use a Spectra 4A and I'm assuming you have entered info. into your meter. You will base your
fstop on info. above. Now I am also assuming your meter is operating normally and has been cal-
ibrated less than 100 years ago. Incident light is the light that illuminates your subject. Reflected
light is the light reflected off of your subject. Both types of light are different and can produce diff-
erent values on your meter. So your mission if you wish to accept it Mr. Phelps,is to determine the
correct fstop for a proper exposure. To measure the light at your subject,place the meter at your
subject(you chose the lighted side of the face) with the meter(dome) facing the camera. You could
say that the dome is representing the face of your subject in minature. Now here is an important as-
pect,when at the subject the meter is reading the key light,fill light,back light,hair light,fire exit light,
directors's light. While I'm thinking about it,never...never...never let the director take a light reading.
So in otherwords under most circumstances the meter is reading,taking into consideration all of this
lighting. However there can be exceptions. So you should get an accurate fstop from your meter.
When film is exposed it takes on values of reflectance which are determined by the light intensity of
your subject. All of these reflectances from your subject will place themselves into a certain range on
your film. The face of your subject will fall into a certain reflectance range on your film. You want to
maintain this range from scene to scene,so that you have cosistant tonal range of your subject's face.
If you are going to have light changing in a scene you can have a stand-in run through the scene, so
that if you hold the meter at the face(pointed at the camera),this will help you to identify un-even light-
ing,hot areas. You then could determine how to balance the light. It doesn't sound to me like you have
changing light with the scene you are speaking of. It would also be possible to achieve an average ex-
posure value by using a spotmeter(CORRECTLY!!!!!). I believe you said f11 was determined by your
meter at 200 ASA. It should be accurate providing there are no extraneous problems. Normally out-
doors you probably would not have a wide range of light intensities but then again there are always ex-
ceptions. Your subject being back-lit or front-lit can present exposure problems per your desired look.
The background being lit VS dark can cause a problem. Now I'm really going to confuse you- if the light
at the subject is the same as the light at the camera, you can hold your meter at the camera and point
it at the subject. A very useful tidbit for obvious reasons. You do not have to take the meter to the sub-
ject. If the same light is falling on your skin that is falling on the subject's skin,you can measure your
own skin for a proper exposure. Now obviously we know there are some exceptions here but if you can-
not get the meter to the subject it may give you a workable exposure. If you are outside working with
sunshine and mixed shade(mixing both) and your subjects are in the shade,look at the meter reading
you are getting in the shade, open 1/2 to 1 stop. If you are working where you have haze you may need
to use a haze filter. Remember to use gray card if you are going to utilize meter to do reflected readings.
Hope this will be of help to you. If you get a chance try to view the film "Gia". There's a scene where Ang-
elina Jollie is on a bed with another woman(actress)and they are in shadows. The woman gets off the bed
and walks to an area of more intense light,she sits down on the floor with her hands on her knees,she's
leaning against the frame of a doorway and is pretty intensely lit. She is evenly lit with this light. Angelina
gets off the bed and on to the floor on her hands and knees. So we see her move on her hands and knees
from the shadows into increasingly more and more light until she reaches the girl intensely lit. Now remem-
ber at first as she moved from the shadows her face was only lit a little but then increased more and more
until she got to the girl in the intense light. Pay particular attention to the skin tones on Angelina's face, if
you are able to get the film and view it. This one scene opened my eyes to the art,craft of cinematography.

Greg Gross
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#11 Greg Gross

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 04:58 PM

I was going to mention last night that you have to learn to work fast. You simply cannot
haggle over one meter reading for half of your shooting time. You should be able to rec-
ognize your lighting set-up the next time you see it,thus you will know what f/t stop to
use. Now, do not forget your ASA! Suppose you are using the same light set-up but all of
your ASA 200 film got lost and your lightmeter was dropped and is broken. The only film
you have available is 500T,what f/t stop would you shoot at?

Greg Gross
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#12 22west

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 12:30 AM

I was going to mention last night that you have to learn to work fast. You simply cannot
haggle over one meter reading for half of your shooting time. You should be able to rec-
ognize your lighting set-up the next time you see it,thus you will know what f/t stop to
use. Now, do not forget your ASA! Suppose you are using the same light set-up but all of
your ASA 200 film got lost and your lightmeter was dropped and is broken. The only film
you have available is 500T,what f/t stop would you shoot at?

Greg Gross



Thanks very much to everybody for the much needed help - I need to absorb all this, read a little and then try again.

I will follow up later with further results.
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#13 Greg Gross

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 08:19 AM

Hello 22 West,

Study up on the latitude of film. Also if you go from f16 to f32 know how amount of light
is effected,thus from f32 to f16 how amount of light is effected. You should know how to
take a proper incident light reading and a proper reflected light reading. With the light set
up you were using, how far would you have to move the lights back,to have the light at
only 1/2 the intsensity? If all your 200 ASA got lost at the airport and you only had 500T
to work with, could you stop your lens up(higher number)? Could you decrease the inten-
sity of your lights? Could you use an ND filter? Just some things to think about,I don't know
what level you are at with photographic skills. I'm not trying to intimidate you, not trying to
be a smart ass. All of these things are basic photographic skills that you will appreciate if you
practice them. Could you scrim your lights appropriately? You'll find that when you start to sh-
oot you will become almost a constant problem solver. If a director wants a certain look,effect,
sure its real easy to say he's crazy but than again its something else to achieve what he wants.
Every cinematographer I personally know was a photographer first,some used 4X5,8X10 cam-
eras,some shot with 35mm and medium format cameras. Now I'm speaking of course about pe-
ople in my circles. I personally would wait until you are a little more experienced to use the spot-
meter. If I can be any help to you with your photography you may e-mail me,my e-mail address
is in my forum profile. I'd be more than pleased to help you with photographic principles,I like to
teach and I have High School interns come to my studio every year. I am striving also to become
a cinematographer and my aspirations lie within doing my own independent films. So I really have
to learn to produce,direct and act. Good luck with your studies,you know you really do ask sensible,
practical questions. Its perfectly ok to doubt yourself and you will get used to that feeling but as time
goes by you'll become proficient and professionally skilled. Don't forget the Kodak web site for study-
ing film as it is an excellent source. What would be the outcome of using a faster film VS a slower film?

Greg Gross
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#14 Hal Smith

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 09:54 AM

My two cents (sense) worth?

Learn how to DESIGN your lighting. It's not real hard to learn to read fixture specification sheets and learn how to setup lights so that you're in the ballpark to start with. I do a fair amount of theatrical lighting here in OKC and have had more than one still photographer at a photo call comment on how easy my lighting is to work with. I pay attention to key-fill-back light issues and use lighting to establish time, place, and emotion.

I do use a lot of intensity and saturated color in my lighting which can drive digital still and video cameras nuts (including one photographer's very expensive Nikon) - digitals don't seem to have enough latitude to handle dramatic lighting. Film cameras don't seem mind it in the least, film has enough latitude to start with and the timing that occurs in the printmaking process seems to handle high color saturation without too many problems (I am not a paid shill for John Pytlak...on the other hand - John - if you're lurking - you owe me).

Edmond, OK
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#15 Greg Gross

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 04:38 PM

Hal,

Have you seen anybody try to use "creative' white balance technique with the theatrical
lighting?

Greg Gross
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#16 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 07:48 AM

I jus want to mention that it would be worth checking your meter as well.

It's not every 100 years it should be checked.

Every 2 years is more recommended. And since it's a needle one, it is for sure giving wrong values before it just stops working.
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#17 Greg Gross

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 09:50 AM

Laurent A.,

You never told us you were on"Highlander" ! My hats off to you!
I just looked at your filmology. May I ask you a question? I'm
studying Truffaut now, reading two books about his filmmaking?
Can you tell me if Fanny Ardant the actress, is she still living,still
acting?

Greg Gross
Student Cinematographer
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#18 rickeisenstein

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 02:43 AM

Sometimes using more than one light can give you the desired result that you want, without still being too much light. My advice would be to either tele-cine at a different exposure, or re-shoot.
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#19 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 03:25 AM

You never told us you were on"Highlander" ! My hats off to you!


Not worth it... It only was the TV series shot in Paris... :mellow:

And, yes Fanny Ardant is still living ! Make a google search as to see what she's been doing recently...
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#20 Sean McHenry

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Posted 10 February 2006 - 12:03 AM

Hello everyone. From an old Broadcast Engineering and 35mm still photo shooter perspective from years back, wouldn't a good spot meter actually be the best way to go? The reason I ask is the following reasoning: If you read the cheek of the subject, realizing it's looking to set you to 18% grey (and you adjust accordingly), and knowing the potential latitude of the film, you can then shoot the least significant detail areas in your shadowed regions and determine if your contrast range is too narrow or wide to film well. Furthermore, I have always worked under the guidance that the people are almost always the most important thing in the shot. I would always light faces first for the look you are after, then worry about bringing up or down the rest of the scene to match the usable contrast range.

Still, I finally, after 20+ years as a Broadcast Engineer, have started writing, producing, directing and editing my own simple shorts. Nothing earth shattering but they have been a great deal of fun so far. I have never had, or been responsible for this much control of a single project and it has been great, and terrible.

I just bought an old Canon 814 Auto Zoom and am soon to start practicing with it. I did run a roll of Tri-X through it and it seems the metering, or my technique, has underexposed it quite a bit. I'll find the cause in the next roll or two.

Thanks for the great discussion. I plan to keep following it.

And I just noticed this. It looks in the stills as if the light on the subject is actually only hitting on the bottom part of the light beam. The "circle" of light is centered higher up on the wall, or so it looks. I would have to assume this was intentional and doesn't actually affect the exposure of the subject unless- if you took a light reading of the scene, and the majority of the light was hitting the wall further up than the subject is sitting, your cumulative light would read higher than a spot meter on her cheek would. I think that's right. If that was the intentional effect, a spot meter should give you a more accurate reading of the actual subject.

Sean McHenry

Edited by Sean McHenry, 10 February 2006 - 12:09 AM.

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