Where to point the light meter?
Posted 07 March 2006 - 02:56 AM
Posted 07 March 2006 - 03:15 AM
Just got a quick question about where to point the light meter. Last semester my Cinematography professor taught us to point the meter at the camera position, and I've DP'ed several projects doing so and the exposure looked just fine to me. This semester however both my new Cine professor and my Lighting professor say point the meter at the key light. This obviously will read a lot more light and affect my image drastically. So, getting to the point, which method do you guys use and why would my teachers not agree on this?
In one case, you are letting the meter do some averaging between key and fill, whereas the other you are reading the key only and having to interpret the reading more.
Personally, I point the dome towards the light I want to read -- I don't want to get some averaging because I may end up overexposing my key. I'd rather read the key alone and then decide for myself how "hot" to expose it. For a half-lit face, you may want the key to be a half-stop overexposed, which is what may happen if you point the meter at the camera so that it is half-lit, but I'd rather know what the key is more precisely and decide for myself.
An incident meter is reading the light falling onto the sphere, so if you want to meter the key light falling onto the subject, you should point the dome towards the key light and flag off with your hand any stray backlight or something.
However, everyone has their own idiosyncracies when metering and whatever works consistently for them is fine.
Posted 07 March 2006 - 06:21 AM
Posted 07 March 2006 - 06:35 AM
Posted 07 March 2006 - 03:38 PM
But, with cinema, imagine a shot that moves (tracking shot) or goes around a subject (and even can be at counterlight at one point). What will be the "toward the camera" position ?
I guess that as a first step the "toward camera" method has to be given to students (has opposite to the reflective light meter, that you point toward the subject). But when you go further on studying light and exposure for movies, you come to the path Mr Mullen, Mr Frisch, Mr Worth or any DoP takes...
The idea is then to set up your lights according to the carachteristics of the stock you use, the aesthetics you want for your image, then determine your exposure and set how the different objects in your image will look like (according to the stock's specifications and aesthetics you want to give..).
It actually is more like setting lights than metering...
Posted 08 March 2006 - 11:47 PM