Jump to content


Photo

Shooting sans light meter tomorrow morning


  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 Stephen Alexander Griebel

Stephen Alexander Griebel
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 35 posts
  • Director

Posted 19 June 2006 - 07:31 PM

So it's my first real day of shooting 35mm tomorrow and for reasons I don't want to rehash, am without a light meter. It's on a beach in North Carolina in the early morning so it won't be too bright and there won't be many people getting in the way.

I'm shooting on 5222 (250 ASA) at 24fps (at a fixed 1/48) and the camera is pointed downward at the rolling tide. If it were a bit later, I could use the Sunny 16 rule, I know, but what about a few hours earlier? Any advice on cloudy/clear skies? It doesn't need to be perfect, but I don't want to jeopardize it either. It's a scene that I (the director) can shoot alone, and one of a few that I'm trying to get out of the way without using a crew.

Thanks
  • 0

#2 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 19 June 2006 - 07:43 PM

Perhaps you can use a still camera as a light meter, at least to get a ballpark reading, or if it's a digital still camera, to get a preview.

The light changes too rapidly at sunrise, and is too dependent on the weather, for me to even take a guess as to the probable level. But you will probably need some ND or heavy colored filter once the sun rises because it will soon get too bright for 200-250 ASA stock. In direct sun on a clear day, it's something like an F/16 at 50 ASA (24 fps) and your stock is two stops faster than that.

Considering the expense of shooting in 35mm, I'd try and find a light meter soon.
  • 0

#3 Stephen Alexander Griebel

Stephen Alexander Griebel
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 35 posts
  • Director

Posted 19 June 2006 - 08:23 PM

I was going to use either a red or 6x as well (both of which are 3 stops). I forgot to mention that I will be pushing 2 stops, so considering that, I might just wait and shoot it sometime later.
For my first short, using miniDV, I had to shoot the sunrise 3 days in a row and remember how fast the exposure changed during that 30 minutes. If I were to use go by digital, wouldn't I need to subtract a stop or two (I thought digital cameras were better in low-light than film)?
  • 0

#4 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 19 June 2006 - 08:44 PM

Ideally you'd need to test, but I've found that if I match the ASA and shutter speed in my digital still camera to what my film camera is doing, it's not far off.

However, with a red filter and pushing Double-X two-stops (that's like 800 to 1000 ASA -- why do you need such a high ASA rating, are you trying to get a lot of grain?) I think you really need to get an accurate meter reading -- guessing the exposure is just going to be too difficult.
  • 0

#5 Dan Goulder

Dan Goulder
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1259 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 19 June 2006 - 09:02 PM

So it's my first real day of shooting 35mm tomorrow and for reasons I don't want to rehash, am without a light meter. It's on a beach in North Carolina in the early morning so it won't be too bright and there won't be many people getting in the way.

If you can afford to shoot 35mm, you can afford to buy a light meter, or at least borrow or rent one. You don't need to rehash your reasons for not having one...just get one. There are already enough difficulties in doing a decent film shoot. Why create additional unnecessary hassles?
  • 0

#6 Stephen Alexander Griebel

Stephen Alexander Griebel
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 35 posts
  • Director

Posted 19 June 2006 - 09:06 PM

I'm bringing the filters just in case I can find a desolate area of beach to shoot. If I could do that, then I could use the Sunny 16 rule, and I'd need to use the filters to stop down more (since I'm pushing 2 stops, I'd need those filters). The high ASA rating is more a bi-product of compensating for the push process than anything.

As far as shooting in the morning, hopefully I won't need to use the filters. It is a dream sequence in a film about a chess player, thus the black and white/high contrast (5222/pushing/red filter for quasi-infrared effect).

But, like I said, I don't wanna jeopardize it, I'll be able to get to the beach another time... still, I'd like to get as much shot on my own (CUs of hand-doubles, etc) before I get to the point where I need to feed actors and crew. If you haven't guessed yet, this is a pretty low/no budget flick.
  • 0

#7 Stephen Alexander Griebel

Stephen Alexander Griebel
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 35 posts
  • Director

Posted 19 June 2006 - 09:18 PM

If you can afford to shoot 35mm, you can afford to buy a light meter, or at least borrow or rent one. You don't need to rehash your reasons for not having one...just get one. There are already enough difficulties in doing a decent film shoot. Why create additional unnecessary hassles?

I live in VA and there aren't any photo places that carry/rent lights or meters for that matter in this area or Richmond, the most active film city in the state. I was going to get my friend's meter, but he dipped out of town without telling me, and he knew that I was shooting too.
I'll start looking up some shops in NC- they're a ton more into film from what I've noticed.
  • 0

#8 Adam Frisch FSF

Adam Frisch FSF
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2009 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, USA

Posted 20 June 2006 - 04:46 AM

The "sunny 16 rule" works pretty fine, actually. Sunny day = f16 at 25fps and 180 degree shutter. Overcast bright day is more like f4-5,6, and you can kinda wing it from there. But sunrises adds some trickiness, obviously.
  • 0

#9 Dan Salzmann

Dan Salzmann
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1143 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Paris, France

Posted 20 June 2006 - 06:45 AM

If there are no shops to rent you a meter maybe you can contact a local photographer and they can sort you out. With more and more photographers going digital there are more and more light meters sitting in drawers.
I second the advice of the other posters on this: With all that you have to think about during the shoot get a light meter!
  • 0

#10 Richard R. Robbins

Richard R. Robbins
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 25 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Omaha, Ne. USA

Posted 20 June 2006 - 07:24 AM

Might be too late...but the rule I learned in film school goes like this,
On a bright, cloudless sunny day in the northern hemisphere, if your film speed (ASA) equals your shutter speed, then your lens setting will be f16 and an RCH.


for instance...
ASA = 50
shutter speed = 48 (24 f.p.s.)
set the lens at f16 + 1/3

or...
ASA = 16 (remember ECO?)
shutter speed = 48 (24 f.p.s.)
set the lens at f11 & open up just a bit

or
ASA = 250
shutter speed = 48 (24 f.p.s.)
set the lens at f32 & 1/2...better get some ND

This of course assumes teh 180 degree shutter

you get the idea,
Rich
  • 0

#11 John Pytlak RIP

John Pytlak RIP

    (deceased)

  • Sustaining Members
  • 3499 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Rochester, NY 14650-1922

Posted 20 June 2006 - 08:35 AM

Here is an exposure table from the Kodak website:

http://www.kodak.com...t/h2/ilit.shtml

Here are websites that offer systems of estimating light levels for various conditions:

http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm

http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/sunny.html

http://johnlind.trip...ceexposure.html

But I agree that an accurate exposure meter is a "tool of the trade" that every cinematographer should own.
  • 0

#12 Matt Pacini

Matt Pacini
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1246 posts

Posted 20 June 2006 - 06:08 PM

Sound to me like you're trying as hard as you can to be either fired from this job (as soon as they get dailies back) or to not be recommended for work in the future.
Sorry to sound harsh, but 35mm is damn expensive, and you're risking costing someone a lot of money. Are you too embarassed to tell them you don't have a lightmeter or something?

MP
  • 0

#13 Chris Keth

Chris Keth
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4427 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles

Posted 20 June 2006 - 10:05 PM

I live in VA and there aren't any photo places that carry/rent lights or meters for that matter in this area or Richmond, the most active film city in the state. I was going to get my friend's meter, but he dipped out of town without telling me, and he knew that I was shooting too.
I'll start looking up some shops in NC- they're a ton more into film from what I've noticed.



Seriously <_< , call your gaffer, key grip, your assistants. They probably all own light meters.

You shooting 35 (probably) on someone else's dollar without a meter is just stupid and disrespectful, not to mention asking to be fired.

Edited by Christopher D. Keth, 20 June 2006 - 10:06 PM.

  • 0

#14 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 20 June 2006 - 10:50 PM

Seriously <_< , call your gaffer, key grip, your assistants. They probably all own light meters.

You shooting 35 (probably) on someone else's dollar without a meter is just stupid and disrespectful, not to mention asking to be fired.


I think he said it was for his own project as a director, although I'm not sure why he's going out with the camera package without his DP, and if he's is own DP, why he doesn't have a light meter.
  • 0

#15 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 21 June 2006 - 03:18 PM

But, like I said, I don't wanna jeopardize it, I'll be able to get to the beach another time... still, I'd like to get as much shot on my own (CUs of hand-doubles, etc) before I get to the point where I need to feed actors and crew. If you haven't guessed yet, this is a pretty low/no budget flick.


I'm a little shocked, even I have a light meter! It's not a good one at all but it works, maybe a little out.

Maybe you could get a light meter off e-bay. I think mine was less than £10. I'm sure for a bit more you could get a good one. Of course then you may find you have nothing to check it against. :(

A better idea might be to find an online camera store. You could find a second hand meter that way or even et a new one from B&H or something. Then you would know that the meter works.

love

Freya
  • 0

#16 Mark Dunn

Mark Dunn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2422 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 21 June 2006 - 03:35 PM

Hope it worked out today. But really, a DP without a meter is like a writer without a pencil. You can't function.
  • 0

#17 Chris Keth

Chris Keth
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4427 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles

Posted 22 June 2006 - 09:43 PM

I think he said it was for his own project as a director, although I'm not sure why he's going out with the camera package without his DP, and if he's is own DP, why he doesn't have a light meter.


Perhaps. Either way seems extremely irresponsible, whether it's with his money or someone else's. <_<
  • 0


Metropolis Post

Technodolly

Ritter Battery

CineLab

Glidecam

Visual Products

Opal

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Wooden Camera

Abel Cine

Willys Widgets

Tai Audio

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

The Slider

Paralinx LLC

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

FJS International, LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Glidecam

Ritter Battery

Abel Cine

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

CineTape

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

The Slider

Aerial Filmworks

Visual Products

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

Technodolly

Tai Audio

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

Paralinx LLC

Opal

Gamma Ray Digital Inc