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Lighting people?


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#1 Mark Williams

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 06:35 AM

I have set my lights up and taken an incident reading of say f4.. Is the light hitting the ping pong ball being measured on the basis of hitting an 18% grey card OR is this just for the spot meter only? If the incident meter is based on an 18% grey card should I then set the aperture for f5.6 for white faces and f2.8 for black? Just as a rough guide ON facial variation or lighting conditions OR is this for spot meter use only.. I seem to be reading conflicting stuff.. Of course I may have misunderstood.. :)
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#2 Delorme Jean-Marie

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 08:23 AM

what you mesur with your incident meter is the amount of light that, whatever will come on it. if a window gives you a f4 it'll be a f4 for a white guy a black guy a chinese beauty or an angora cat.
an other thing is to choose the stop on your lens. how do you want your subject to be exposed (normaly, over or under) a shade part is usualy under, a hilighted part will be over.
now how your subject is going to absorb the light (dark subjects) or reflect the light (clear subjects) is another point.
you may want your key light not to be found in any part of the picture and it'll still be well exposed.

the grey a 18% is a reading of the light (with a spot meter) reflected by the skin of a caucasian guy in mid day in winter drinking a beer bla bla bla it's only a theorical reference and it help to calibrate the color corection
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#3 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 08:59 AM

With all due respect, I find it odd that a director of photography does not understand the principles of how an incident light meter works.
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#4 Mark Williams

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 09:11 AM

what you mesur with your incident meter is the amount of light that, whatever will come on it. if a window gives you a f4 it'll be a f4 for a white guy a black guy a chinese beauty or an angora cat.
an other thing is to choose the stop on your lens. how do you want your subject to be exposed (normaly, over or under) a shade part is usualy under, a hilighted part will be over.
now how your subject is going to absorb the light (dark subjects) or reflect the light (clear subjects) is another point.
you may want your key light not to be found in any part of the picture and it'll still be well exposed.

the grey a 18% is a reading of the light (with a spot meter) reflected by the skin of a caucasian guy in mid day in winter drinking a beer bla bla bla it's only a theorical reference and it help to calibrate the color corection


:)K jm

So if you had your key at f4 and you had someone with very dark skin.. What would you do?
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#5 Stephen Williams

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 10:09 AM

:)K jm

So if you had your key at f4 and you had someone with very dark skin.. What would you do?


Hi,

What else is in the frame?

If you film a grey scale you will get a range of shades. If you want the skin tone to register its correct tone then f4 will be fine. How do you want it to look?

Stephen
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#6 Delorme Jean-Marie

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 10:45 AM

lighting someone with a very dark skin isn't only a mater of exposure it works also with what's going to shine.
you want to go deeper than seeing your talent .
ex : what is the key in the dark scene of the godfather when brando goes in the light then seat back in the shadow. ask yourself if you always want your talent be exposed corectly?
just my pov.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 11:21 AM

A spot meter reads the amount of light reflecting off of a subject. It assumes that the subject is 18% gray, so if the subject isn't, you have to interpret how many stops over or under 18% gray the subject is. So if you meter a pale face, the reading would tell you how to expose the face to be 18% gray in brightness, so you may decide that the face is one stop brighter than 18% gray and open up a stop from what the meter told you.

An incident meter reads the amount of light falling on a subject, so the reflectivity of the subject is not an issue. So following the incident meter's reading, an 18% gray card would render gray, a pale face would look pale, a dark face would look dark.

So to sum it up, a spot meter is reading the brightness of the subject; and incident meter is reading the amount of light falling onto the subject (or meter actually.)
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#8 Mark Williams

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 11:52 AM

lighting someone with a very dark skin isn't only a mater of exposure it works also with what's going to shine.
you want to go deeper than seeing your talent .
ex : what is the key in the dark scene of the godfather when brando goes in the light then seat back in the shadow. ask yourself if you always want your talent be exposed corectly?
just my pov.


jm Yes OK Point taken its a judgement call based on experience.. Personally for someone with very dark skin I would take a spot reading using a grey card and expose at about half a stop less and light skin half a stop more.. and look carefully at the rushes.. My interest is in making people look the best I can.. Lighting for mood is more in relation the emotion or drama..
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#9 Mark Williams

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 12:06 PM

A spot meter reads the amount of light reflecting off of a subject. It assumes that the subject is 18% gray, so if the subject isn't, you have to interpret how many stops over or under 18% gray the subject is. So if you meter a pale face, the reading would tell you how to expose the face to be 18% gray in brightness, so you may decide that the face is one stop brighter than 18% gray and open up a stop from what the meter told you.

An incident meter reads the amount of light falling on a subject, so the reflectivity of the subject is not an issue. So following the incident meter's reading, an 18% gray card would render gray, a pale face would look pale, a dark face would look dark.

So to sum it up, a spot meter is reading the brightness of the subject; and incident meter is reading the amount of light falling onto the subject (or meter actually.)

Great description david! Thanks.. :)
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