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#1 Jase Ryan

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 07:13 AM

I have a few questions for metering. I hope this is the right forum page to use.

I recently bought a sekonic L-558 Cine light meter with the built in spot meter. It seems like a great meter, but would like some clarity on when to use the spot or incident meter.

I know that looking through the spot meter shows the amount of light reflecting back to me, and by holding the meter in the light shows the amount falling on the subject.

If I'm shooting a table top that has some glare, how should I meter that? The amount of light falling on the subject or the light reflecting back?

If it's the light reflecting back, I know it would underexpose the table, but if its the light falling on then it would leave it over exposed. In general, would you split the difference?

The second question I have is, when taking a reading of an exterior wide shot of a couple actors walking up a path or sidewalk, would I take the reading and set the stop at that knowing it's right for their skintone? Or would the background and world around be a little bright? Would you under or over expose by a stop in general?

And last question, when taking a reading of a cityscape at night, how do you know where to expose? How do you know when the blacks will stay black but all the lights will glow and look proper?

Any insight into this would be very helpful.

Thanks,

Jase
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#2 Tim Terner

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 07:38 AM

Basically there is no 'correct' exposure. You place the exposure where you want it to be. As for the the table top exposure, you can meter it where the light falls and then spot the glare to see whether the glare is too overexposed as to loose all detail (perhaps 4+ stops brighter).Then you can meter it the other way round and see if the table holds any of the shadow detail (perhaps 4+ stops darker). Anywhere within the 2 meter readings is where you could then expose for.
The exterior wide, would depend on where the key source of light is coming from in relation to the shot. If actors backlight on a sunny day perhaps 2 stops darker than the key (being the sun). Cityscape at night, perhaps spot an average bright point and overexposue this by 3 or 4 stops. If you have a DSLR a good way to understand readings more is to use your handheld meter and set the readings on the camera and see what you get. Anyway best of luck Jase and I'm sure someone will come in and offer better advise than this
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#3 Chris Gravat

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 06:41 PM

I would do as much reading about anzel adams' zone system as possible. It wasn't until I grasped this concept that I felt 100% confident about my exposures and contrast ratios. (Though Cr's are still my nemesis!)

The idea is basically meant for B&W photog., but still can be applied to color photog.

Anything you spot meter, the reading you get back will be the T stop to make that subject 18% grey. try placing a grey card in a lighting setup and take a spot reading of the card. Then in the same lighting take an incident reading, They will be very close, if not the same exposure. If you can find where you want your 18% grey (Zone 5) to be then you just place everything else in the zone that you want it to fall into.

This the very basics of the zone system, I highly suggest you read about it though.

- Chris Gravat
Boston, MA
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#4 Andrew Dutton

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 08:35 PM

Always point the incident dome to the lens for Incident light measurements. This will give you an 18% grey reading without a grey card. This type of measurement is very accurate. Remember to flag off the rear kicker with your hand, otherwise your film will be underexposed. When using a reflective spot meter, remember if you cant use an 18% grey card, use the meter to make several measurements from highlight to deep shadow, use the zone system to place your exposure in the middle of the zone, this will give you an even exposure. If you want to crush the blacks, stop down, if you want to open up the mids and highlights, open up some. When exposing film you have around 12 stops of lattitude, but always take into consideration your final output when exposing, meaning, you wont get 12 stops on a 2k transfer, so you will need to reduce your lighting ratio to match your transfer, meaning shoot a film test with the lab and get a best light 2k or 4k transfer to see what they see.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 10:13 PM

Always point the incident dome to the lens for Incident light measurements.


If you point towards the lens, you will get an averaging of key and fill, like in a side-lit shot. For example, let's say you side-light a person with no fill at all. If you point the dome towards the camera lens, the dome will be half-lit, so the reading will average the key with the shadow side.

I usually point the dome towards the source I want to measure, but either technique works if you know how to interpret the reading.
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