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In the makeout seats with my light meter...


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#1 James Leonzio

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 12:26 AM

It was a rainy afternoon during the week and I had nothing to do. Big surprise for a new DP, right? so being the freak that I am, I sneaked my light meter into my local theater to see "Michael Clayton." Why, you ask? well, I'm not really sure, but I was hoping to learn something interesting. Maybe you guys can help me out.

So I'm sitting in the make out seats (not making out, just me and my light meter...yes, that's how bad things are right now) and when the coast was clear i whipped it out (no...the light meter. God you guys are sick). Risking getting accused of trying to make a pirate copy of the film by one of the three other people in the theater (an 80 year old couple and the usher), I continued with my dangerous mission.

I switched my 558-Cine to spot mode, and to FL mode, pointed it at various points on the screen and started taking mental notes of the readings. For the most part, I was getting E.u for the complete shadows (obviously not enough light to give a reading) and up to 1.0 FL for the brightest spots on the screen.

I guess I was trying to figure out what kind of contrast ratios we see in a typical final print on the big screen, but if my lowest readings were E.u, how would I figure this out? I know FL is for foot*lamberts. If I use 0 in place of E.u then the contrast ratio would be 1:0 which is basically infinity right?

anyone have any thoughts?

thanks
James
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 12:38 AM

That's correct, a 1:0 ratio is infinite. Because the shadows are below your threshold for measurement, they could, theoretically, be infinitely dark. That actually kind of cool sounding but not very useful.

To get a meaningful ratio the lower must be at least one. To figure that out you would have to punch enough light through the film to get a valid reading from the blacks and, with that same bulb, read the whites. Unfortunately, that would probably (guessing here) be too much light for the film and would melt it unless you had a fancy scientific meter with a much more sensitive sensor capable of reading lower levels of light (or is it greater levels of dark? :))

Edited by Chris Keth, 01 December 2007 - 12:41 AM.

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#3 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 04:09 PM

Funny, I usually just bring a girl. B)
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#4 Hal Smith

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 04:25 PM

Funny, I usually just bring a girl. B)

And then home to the Casting Couch?

PS: SMPTE white light (no film) intensity standard for cinema screens is 16 foot lamberts center, 12 foot lamberts edges.
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#5 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 07:21 PM

Works for me! :D
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#6 James Leonzio

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 12:02 AM

Funny, I usually just bring a girl. B)



Even funnier, I usually just bring your mom....hahahha. jk. a little NY humor for you.
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#7 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 03:47 AM

Even funnier, I usually just bring your mom....hahahha. jk. a little NY humor for you.

So the rumors are true, you can only get women in their 60s to date you, that explains why you brought the light meter, you probably want to make sure you don't get too good a look at your dates.........Just a little border humor. :rolleyes:
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#8 Bruce Greene

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 09:24 PM

It was a rainy afternoon during the week and I had nothing to do. Big surprise for a new DP, right? so being the freak that I am, I sneaked my light meter into my local theater to see "Michael Clayton." Why, you ask? well, I'm not really sure, but I was hoping to learn something interesting. Maybe you guys can help me out.

So I'm sitting in the make out seats (not making out, just me and my light meter...yes, that's how bad things are right now) and when the coast was clear i whipped it out (no...the light meter. God you guys are sick). Risking getting accused of trying to make a pirate copy of the film by one of the three other people in the theater (an 80 year old couple and the usher), I continued with my dangerous mission.

I switched my 558-Cine to spot mode, and to FL mode, pointed it at various points on the screen and started taking mental notes of the readings. For the most part, I was getting E.u for the complete shadows (obviously not enough light to give a reading) and up to 1.0 FL for the brightest spots on the screen.

I guess I was trying to figure out what kind of contrast ratios we see in a typical final print on the big screen, but if my lowest readings were E.u, how would I figure this out? I know FL is for foot*lamberts. If I use 0 in place of E.u then the contrast ratio would be 1:0 which is basically infinity right?

anyone have any thoughts?

thanks
James



James,

Keep in mind that the shutter on the projector may well influence your light meter reading, rendering it inaccurate, even for the highlights.

Just a thought...
-bruce
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#9 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 08:12 PM

... if my lowest readings were E.u, how would I figure this out?

E.U. just means the exposure is below what your meter can read, given your ASA setting. You need an exact measurement to figure this kind of thing out. With the Sekonics, you can trick them into giving you a reading in low light by setting your ISO2 button to a higher ASA, say like two stops faster than your ISO1. For example, if your ISO1 is set at 500 ASA, then set your ISO2 to 2000 ASA. Then take the reading that you get at 2000 ASA and mentally subtract two stops. This is now your reading for the shadows. Does that make sense?
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#10 James Leonzio

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 01:52 AM

E.U. just means the exposure is below what your meter can read, given your ASA setting. You need an exact measurement to figure this kind of thing out. With the Sekonics, you can trick them into giving you a reading in low light by setting your ISO2 button to a higher ASA, say like two stops faster than your ISO1. For example, if your ISO1 is set at 500 ASA, then set your ISO2 to 2000 ASA. Then take the reading that you get at 2000 ASA and mentally subtract two stops. This is now your reading for the shadows. Does that make sense?



Yea, I think I know what you're saying but if I have the meter in FL mode, this is an absolute reading, and shouldn't be affected by the ISO.

maybe a stupid question, but would getting closer to the screen help?
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#11 James Leonzio

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 01:58 AM

So the rumors are true, you can only get women in their 60s to date you, that explains why you brought the light meter, you probably want to make sure you don't get too good a look at your dates.........Just a little border humor. :rolleyes:



touche'...hey, I said things were bad, you don't have to rub it in. Besides, there's nothing wrong with an older woman now and then, ya know?
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#12 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 04:18 AM

Besides, there's nothing wrong with an older woman now and then, ya know?


I heard that!!! :D
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#13 John Sprung

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 01:53 PM

.... would getting closer to the screen help?

Getting closer would make the size of the spot you read smaller. If the screen is uniform, there'd be no difference.



-- J.S.
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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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Glidecam

Aerial Filmworks

Rig Wheels Passport

CineTape

Paralinx LLC

Technodolly

CineLab

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Tai Audio

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery

Opal

The Slider

rebotnix Technologies