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Using a light meter


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#1 Todd Darling

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Posted 29 August 2006 - 08:10 PM

Anyone use light meters with your super 8's? And if so do what kind of light meter do you use and do you use a grey card?

Thanks for any info

Todd
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#2 Andrew Means

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 11:01 AM

I'm curious about this as well. I'm going to be shooting in Japan with a pretty guerrilla setup, and I'm trying to decide how precise I should be with my apeture- if I should just stick with the internal light meter on my R10, or if a spot meter might be good for lighting people inside or in weirdly lit places. Although I guess the majority of my filming inside is probably going to be wide open anyway...
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#3 Todd Darling

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 11:32 AM

My Light meter don't work. I did search the site and found a couple of past threads about it. Looks like i'm going to be buying a light meter soon.

Todd
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#4 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 12:38 PM

Anyone use light meters with your super 8's? And if so do what kind of light meter do you use and do you use a grey card?

Thanks for any info

Todd


I never use the on board light meters, controlling one's exposure is too important to leave to a 25 year old photo cell in a consumer grade peice of equipment. Its also just plain fun!

I have a Seconic 508 that I bought when they first came out. I like the meter despite more "purists" DPs mocking it for being a "toy". They used to say that because its both a spot and an incident meter. Anyway, If I am lighting in a controlled environment I will some times spot a grey card. When shooting outdoors or in uncontrolled environments I do incident readings of the shadows, mid tones and highlights, look at the spread and then think about what dominates the frame, how dense I want my shadows to be and where grain is likely to show up. Exposure is a very personal thing, everyone needs to develop a system that works for them, how they think, and their aesthetic goals. experiment, experiment, experiment.
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#5 Todd Darling

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 09:20 PM

Thanks for the reply!! I read 2 sites that claim it's not a good idea to use a light meter. (didn't make much sense to me) I got an Sekonic l-188 from my still camera days. I wanted to get a feel for what kind people are using. I've got my eye on a Sekonic Studio Deluxe l-398. (it costs more then my camera did but hey)

I come from the world of post production and I'm use to using Video Cameras for most of what I've shot. Video is just a little easier to figure exposures. I'm hoping to get into film some more just have a few questions.

Thanks again for the reply!!

Todd
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#6 Rhonda L. McReynolds

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 05:06 PM

[quote name='copperfilms' date='Aug 30 2006, 07:20 PM' post='124340']
Thanks for the reply!! I read 2 sites that claim it's not a good idea to use a light meter. (didn't make much sense to me) I got an Sekonic l-188 from my still camera days. I wanted to get a feel for what kind people are using. I've got my eye on a Sekonic Studio Deluxe l-398. (it costs more then my camera did but hey)

I have instructors who recommend the Sekonic L398A (update of 398). It's supposed to be the "#2 pencil of light meters."
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#7 Todd Darling

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 05:14 PM

Thanks. It seems like a good unit. (and it's kinda affordable)

Again thanks to all that replied

Todd

Now off to get my light meter!!!!!
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#8 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 05:38 PM

Also don't think that you are going to buy one light meter and that will be it. The unit you are looking at is good because its a solid simple unit and the price is low, but there are others that you might like a lot better and for reasons that suprise you. For example, I have dyslexia, I remember the first time I ever looked at a Sekonic L398A, what I mess, couldn't make heads or tails of it. That's one of the reasons I use an electronic meter, a large easy to read display. So, over time you can look forward to refining your methodology and gathering a good collection of meters.
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#9 Peter Tripodi

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 12:17 AM

I've been using a L-398 for my S8 & 16mm stuff. Works well and is very consistent when I put it up against other meters. I'm saving up for a spot meter though. I think it's time. Better tools and all.
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#10 David W Scott

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 10:03 AM

If you are going to use the meter in your camera, then use a grey card with it.

First determine if the internal meter is accurate (one test roll will tell you that.)

The internal meter is handy -- you have a spotmeter built right into your camera. Don't leave the auto-exposure floating -- simply take your reading off the grey card, then lock the exposure. Now you can reframe and hold a steady, correct exposure. Hunt-and-seek exposure and spontaneous overcorrections are the fastest way to ruin reversal stock.

Some things to watch for: you may get significantly different exposures depending on whether the zoom is set wide or telephoto. Using a grey card, watch the auto exposure setting at short, medium and long focal lengths. If the exposure changes much, you will have to account for that when you use manual exposure with your camera. If you meter using your camera at one focal length, lock the exposure (manual), and then change the focal length, your exposure will be off.

When using a handheld meter, you will also have to account for focal lengths. Check against the internal meter to see how much compensation you should make when zoomed in.

Other things to watch with an external meter

-- many Super 8 cameras have non-standard shutter angles. (Especially XL i.e. "low light" models). Check the shutter speed of your camera against what the meter uses in cine-mode.

-- Super 8 cameras usually use a prism for reflex viewing. These can steal up to 1/3 of the light from the film. You will need to check against the internal meter, and/or shoot a test to determine if you need to compensate on your meter readings.

As for what meter I use: Sekonic Digi-Lite F (L-328). Cheap, accurate, light weight, sturdy. Can be switched between incident and spot (if you need). Smart battery gauge design. Uses standard AA battery.

I wouldn't go back to an analog meter. The digital is so fast and accurate, mostly because I don't have to interpret the meter! :rolleyes:
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rebotnix Technologies

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

FJS International, LLC

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

CineTape

Opal

CineLab

Visual Products

The Slider

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Aerial Filmworks