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Spot Metering and Descriptions


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#1 Barry Cheong

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 09:34 PM

I was wondering how you would describe your exposure relations when using a spot meter?

For instance I shot a film with a character in a white void. It was shot in studio against a white cyc. I lit and exposed the main subject at T 2.8 and I was spot metering the white cyc at T 16. If I were to describe this to someone would I say that the cyc was 5 stops over or would I have to take into account that the cyc was white, so maybe closer to 3 stops since the spot meter is averaging for 18% grey?
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 11:38 PM

You just say it in a way that avoids as much confusion as possible. So you could say "it spot meters at t-16." Usually when you say something is overexposed by a certain amount, it means relative to a "normal" incident exposure.
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#3 Mark T. Karinja

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 11:48 PM

I was wondering how you would describe your exposure relations when using a spot meter?

For instance I shot a film with a character in a white void. It was shot in studio against a white cyc. I lit and exposed the main subject at T 2.8 and I was spot metering the white cyc at T 16. If I were to describe this to someone would I say that the cyc was 5 stops over or would I have to take into account that the cyc was white, so maybe closer to 3 stops since the spot meter is averaging for 18% grey?


Caucasian skin tone is one stop above middle gray (18%). Therefore, if you read your subject (assumingly a Caucasian subject) with a spot meter at 2.8, 18% gray is 2.0. T. 16 would then be 6 stops hotter then middle gray (18%). When explaining spot meter exposures, your reading is based only on reflectiveness (meaning that the cyc being white as well as any other colors in your scene are already accounted for and their reflective abilities) and may be most easily understood in terms of middle gray (stops under or over 18%).
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