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African American Skintones


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#1 Jerry Doran

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 10:54 AM

I will be working on a shoot with an all African-American cast and I have a question. The traditional wisdom is to place caucasian highlights around 70% when using zebras in the viewfinder, but what about african american skin?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 11:03 AM

There is even more variation in luminence with black skin tones than many caucasian skin tones (and even many of those are not 70 IRE.) You just have to decide how much under 70 IRE you want to place a skintone to look correct yet give you a good range for post color-correction. There is no right answer. You may decide that no matter how dark someone's skintone is, you don't want them to be below 45 IRE just because it starts to limit you in color-correction later.

If you don't want to work with grey cards, you could just set the iris for a caucasian person in front of the camera, and then when the dark-skinned person sits in front of the camera, just open up the iris a little to get a little more exposure on tape. There are light grey cards that are near 70 IRE in value if you want to work that way.

Or just work with a well set-up monitor to judge.
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