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Lighting Meter for Digital


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#1 Richard Lipman

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 06:59 PM

Hello,

Anyone have any siggestions for easy to use lighting meters for digital film for use with Sony EX3 or Panasonic 300/301?

Thanks.

Richard

www.fourimagae.com
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#2 David Williams

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 07:58 PM

An EX3 is a light meter. It carefully measures photons, and then displays an appropriate luminance value on the viewfinder and/or on a connect monitor for each pixel.

Seriously, the camera gives you all the information you need. Unless you have to pre-light a scene or check locations without a camera, you will have no use for a light meter. The EX3 has a spot meter and histogram available, two zebras, and the LCD has plenty of resolution even without a production monitor.

Also, with so many gamma setting, curves, gain, etc, unless you plan to plot every single one of the thousands of combinations, it's far easier and quicker to just point the camera at the scene.

The EX is 400ASA in progressive, and 800ASA in interlaced, with 10-12 stops depending on gamma settings.
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#3 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 05:46 AM

If your DP has to do lighting plots, set up studio scenes and he cannot be there, just shoot on a gray card and press auto iris to get an f-stop, then rate it.
Measure the reflected light from the card with a spotmeter or reflex meter, this will give you the ''iso'' for this measure.
Then use this ISO to set-up your lighting plots.
Otherwise, Mr David Williams is right, just use the on camera meter. Especially for landscapes.

I am not using the cameras meter though, I am just using the zebra settings or a waveform to have a continuity between my scenes. E.g: 67% on actors face.
Dim
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#4 Richard Lipman

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 05:12 PM

If your DP has to do lighting plots, set up studio scenes and he cannot be there, just shoot on a gray card and press auto iris to get an f-stop, then rate it.
Measure the reflected light from the card with a spotmeter or reflex meter, this will give you the ''iso'' for this measure.
Then use this ISO to set-up your lighting plots.
Otherwise, Mr David Williams is right, just use the on camera meter. Especially for landscapes.

I am not using the cameras meter though, I am just using the zebra settings or a waveform to have a continuity between my scenes. E.g: 67% on actors face.
Dim


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#5 Richard Lipman

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 05:18 PM

Thank you very much Mr Williams and Mr Koukas . Hence in conclusion a lighting metre is not needed.

BTW - although slightly unrelated....

- In your opinion what camera can you suggest in terms of best clear , sharp image for HD broadcast acquisition (Discovery, BBC) - panasonic 301, RED Scarlett or sony ex3. I assume the EX3 records 422?

- Could you recommend a DOP and Soundperson for a docu film i am doing in London - pay is about $80 a day for about 25 days. Small crew only - 4-5.


Thank you.

Richard

www.fourimagae.com

Edited by Richard Lipman, 12 July 2009 - 05:18 PM.

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#6 Ale Reynoso

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 09:20 PM

"just shoot on a gray card and press auto iris to get an f-stop, then rate it."

Hello:
It would be more apropiate to read 45 IRE in the spotmeter of the camera to rate it. Sometimes this is not what you´re getting when you hit "auto".
Then you could you use your light meter to check out ratios and available light without waiting for the camera to be set up...

"I assume the EX3 records 422?"
The XDCAM HD (1440x1080) and XDCAM EX (1920x1080) are 4:2:0 in therms of color sampling.

Good luck wiht your docu!!!
Best regards
Alejandro
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#7 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 03:19 PM

"just shoot on a gray card and press auto iris to get an f-stop, then rate it."

Hello:
It would be more apropiate to read 45 IRE in the spotmeter of the camera to rate it. Sometimes this is not what you´re getting when you hit "auto".
Then you could you use your light meter to check out ratios and available light without waiting for the camera to be set up...


Most of the times if you have an even lit gray card and a full frame of it, auto iris will not give you a measurment that is not more than 1/3 of an f/ stop up-down. 1/3 is a big difference if you are stating this, but it's very rare to get this false reading...
:)
And yes, I am not talking for a gray card that has been exposed to sunlight for three years...
Dim
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#8 Ale Reynoso

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 12:29 AM

[Most of the times if you have an even lit gray card and a full frame of it, auto iris will not give you a measurment that is not more than 1/3 of an f/ stop up-down. 1/3 is a big difference if you are stating this, but it's very rare to get this false reading...
:)
And yes, I am not talking for a gray card that has been exposed to sunlight for three years...
Dim


I´m sorry. I didn´t understand that. What you are saying is that "auto" could give you and error of +-1/3 of a stop from 45 IRE?
If yes, so I´m saying the same. There are some variables to get an 18% gray card in 45 IRE (i.e. AE shift, manual override...). And differente brands of cameras and different setups may give you a different level for the 18% gray with "auto" (of course slightly different. you will not miss for a whole stop for shure). There are even discussion about different lighmeters and still cameras reading the gray card different (about the standard of them being 12,5 or 14% of reflection...search the web).
So what I´m saying is just to cut variables. Just use the in camera spotmeter with the gray card and rate it when you have 45 IRE from the card. Or use a WFM if the camera doesn´t have a built in spotmeter.
I you use a cine gamma perhaps you set your gray a little lower to rate the camera (to be checked out when grading). Of course "auto" will give a baseline, but why not to be accurate...
...OK, in the end you will expend your time in the "video village" checking out the picture on a big monitor and WFM/VS or relying in your zebras to keep faces well exposed and avoiding clipped images...

Best regards from Buenos Aires
Alejandro
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#9 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 10:04 AM

[Most of the times if you have an even lit gray card and a full frame of it, auto iris will not give you a measurment that is not more than 1/3 of an f/ stop up-down. 1/3 is a big difference if you are stating this, but it's very rare to get this false reading...
:)
And yes, I am not talking for a gray card that has been exposed to sunlight for three years...
Dim


I´m sorry. I didn´t understand that. What you are saying is that "auto" could give you and error of +-1/3 of a stop from 45 IRE?
If yes, so I´m saying the same. There are some variables to get an 18% gray card in 45 IRE (i.e. AE shift, manual override...). And differente brands of cameras and different setups may give you a different level for the 18% gray with "auto" (of course slightly different. you will not miss for a whole stop for shure). There are even discussion about different lighmeters and still cameras reading the gray card different (about the standard of them being 12,5 or 14% of reflection...search the web).
So what I´m saying is just to cut variables. Just use the in camera spotmeter with the gray card and rate it when you have 45 IRE from the card. Or use a WFM if the camera doesn´t have a built in spotmeter.
I you use a cine gamma perhaps you set your gray a little lower to rate the camera (to be checked out when grading). Of course "auto" will give a baseline, but why not to be accurate...
...OK, in the end you will expend your time in the "video village" checking out the picture on a big monitor and WFM/VS or relying in your zebras to keep faces well exposed and avoiding clipped images...

Best regards from Buenos Aires
Alejandro


Sorry for my bad English Alejandro, yes we are saying the same...
There are many more factors that can affect the measurment, but it's just an advice for a quick setup. Even if I manage to have a wrong rating let's say 1/3 of an f/stop down this will make me rate a camera that is 800 ISO to 700 or something?
I believe that I can make my shoot even with this.?
Sorry for not beeing so accurate.
Dim
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#10 Ale Reynoso

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 01:08 PM

I believe that I can make my shoot even with this.
Sorry for not beeing so accurate.
Dim


Hey Dimitrios!!
Don´t take me wrong. I didn´t want to be sarcastic, ironic, or anything. Perhaps you have way more experience than me and I din´t mean to "teach you" or anything!!!
Just giving a help and keeping in mind some other aspects of the rating. That´s all.

And I always keep in mind something I learned some time ago, not just regarding cinematography, but every other aspect of life:
There is not a "right way". Just different, personal ways and some more aproppiate than another for a given matter. A even if there is a "broadly established right way", your way could be better. Just try...

I´m sorry!
All the best from Buenos Aires...and my english isn´t that good!!!!!!!!
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