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#1 Dustan Lewis McBain

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 07:33 PM

I understand for the most part lighting is creative. However what i was wondering, and maybe this question is subjective. How often do you use the ratio system (key:fill) when lighting. When Im in a controlled situation I can play around with it, but when im using natural light sometimes its impossible. Often I'll set up my lighting for a 3:1, or anything else for that matter, and end up changing it for personal taste. Any opinions?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 09:14 PM

I understand for the most part lighting is creative. However what i was wondering, and maybe this question is subjective. How often do you use the ratio system (key:fill) when lighting. When Im in a controlled situation I can play around with it, but when im using natural light sometimes its impossible. Often I'll set up my lighting for a 3:1, or anything else for that matter, and end up changing it for personal taste. Any opinions?


I don't really calculate ratios and mostly fill by eye, but sometimes when you want to consistently light shadows to be a certain level just above black (like for a moonlight scene), you will meter them and decide how far under they should be relative to the key, let's say, 3-stops under.
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#3 Dustan Lewis McBain

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 10:57 PM

I don't really calculate ratios and mostly fill by eye, but sometimes when you want to consistently light shadows to be a certain level just above black (like for a moonlight scene), you will meter them and decide how far under they should be relative to the key, let's say, 3-stops under.


So maybe the best time to use the ratio system is when trying to keep the same look through different shots in the scene. Thanks!
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#4 John M

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 10:18 AM

I don't really calculate ratios and mostly fill by eye, but sometimes when you want to consistently light shadows to be a certain level just above black (like for a moonlight scene), you will meter them and decide how far under they should be relative to the key, let's say, 3-stops under.


Just so Im on the same page. Say you take your meter and measure 160 foot candles off the Key and get an F-Stop of 5.6, film or video. You then would adjust your fills via filters or distance to measure a level that would be somewhere around 20 foot candles or an F-2? I hope that makes sense.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 12:01 PM

Just so Im on the same page. Say you take your meter and measure 160 foot candles off the Key and get an F-Stop of 5.6, film or video. You then would adjust your fills via filters or distance to measure a level that would be somewhere around 20 foot candles or an F-2? I hope that makes sense.


Something like that, though I just work in stops. But I only do that when I'm really worried about matching shadow detail shot to shot and can't get away with doing it by eye. But the question was about RATIOS -- like "3:1", "4:1", etc. -- and I don't see the point in calculating that. When I meter that the shadows are 3.5-stops under key, I'm not going to try to figure out what the ratio is.
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 02:01 PM

I can't add much to this other than to say that whenever I've shot film I've always ended up feeling like I should have been more adventurous. With digital imagers, having the fill more than a couple of stops under, assuming you're exposing to hold highlights produced by the key, is dangerous. Being that cautious on film results in really gutless images that lack punch.

P
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#7 Dustan Lewis McBain

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 12:35 AM

I can't add much to this other than to say that whenever I've shot film I've always ended up feeling like I should have been more adventurous. With digital imagers, having the fill more than a couple of stops under, assuming you're exposing to hold highlights produced by the key, is dangerous. Being that cautious on film results in really gutless images that lack punch.

P

Phil, if I understand you correctly, film has more allowance for ratios than digital does? However i understand what you mean about being too nervous about being adventurous in film, because of not being able to confirm exactly what you want as soon as you can with digital. Although film is able to calibrate better highlights, it seems that film is still able to catch blacks and whites together better than digital can. Would you agree?
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 09:50 AM

Film is much more forgiving than digital, especially in highlights, but in reality across it's whole range. While this often means images appear flatter than you seem to recall shooting them, it allows you much more flexibility later on than digital systems. That being said, I hate calculating lighting ratios, and in the end, I just keep it simple with, I want darks -3 stops, or highlights at +2 or what have you.
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