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Lighting by eye


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#1 Kyle Reid

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 12:01 AM

How many of you light mainly by eye if not totally by eye? Is this a thing of the past? How many of you live or die by your meter? I want to rely less on my meter so that I can just be totally involved in how the light looks to me and not taking myself out of that process by forming a habit of constantly going to my meter and second guessing myself. Any tips on putting down the meter, and learning how to becoming more accurate in lighting by eye? As a student I've worked with ASC cinematographer Rexford Metz, and I was always amazing and intrigued at how close he would get without ever picking up the meter. I want to get to the place some day too.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 08:31 AM

Practice practice practice... or use video ;)

I used to live and die by the meter, then somehow I was able to "guess" the exposure for film stocks (try it out then double check!). Then slowly I set up my key, took a reading, -- ok we're at a 4-- then added and subtracted light by eye. If anything was worrying me in frame, spot check it, let's roll.
It's not an overnight kinda thing, but just comes from doing over and over again, the same thing-- lighting. Eventually you get an idea how much you can get away with and how things will work on the neg. It just takes time and practice. In the end, though, whether or not you light by eye, or by divining rods, or by looking at the scene through a translucent noodle, it doesn't matter so long as your images come out looking appropriate for the film.
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#3 Ken Keeler

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 10:15 AM

This is a very interesting topic! I think about this all the time. about a year ago all my jobs delt with shooting film an I was pretty reliant on my meter I felt like I would meter everything just to make sure. And in the end it would come out great. But recently maybe for the past 9 to 10 months ive have been shooting all digital mainly on the RED. I have noticed that I pretty much only use my meter during the location scout or on set to double check a highlight or a window of something of that sort by quickly spot metering. Other then that I have strictly been lighting by eye. When it crosses my mind on set I feel bad haha like I'm doing something wrong but once again the footage looks great and honestly I have shot some of my best stuff lighting this way.

So long story short Im in the same boat as Adrian it takes time and when it happens you dont even notice that you are doing it, it all sorta just feels right. Now im not saying dont use your meter because it is a very important tool but it has its time and place. I think its all preference and or technique there is no one way to light or do anything in the film industry. Whatever feels comfortable for you thats the way you light. and that will change as you grow and your skills get better.
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#4 Ken Keeler

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 10:16 AM

This is a very interesting topic! I think about this all the time. about a year ago all my jobs delt with shooting film an I was pretty reliant on my meter I felt like I would meter everything just to make sure. And in the end it would come out great. But recently maybe for the past 9 to 10 months ive have been shooting all digital mainly on the RED. I have noticed that I pretty much only use my meter during the location scout or on set to double check a highlight or a window of something of that sort by quickly spot metering. Other then that I have strictly been lighting by eye. When it crosses my mind on set I feel bad haha like I'm doing something wrong but once again the footage looks great and honestly I have shot some of my best stuff lighting this way.

So long story short Im in the same boat as Adrian it takes time and when it happens you dont even notice that you are doing it, it all sorta just feels right. Now im not saying dont use your meter because it is a very important tool but it has its time and place. I think its all preference and or technique there is no one way to light or do anything in the film industry. Whatever feels comfortable for you thats the way you light. and that will change as you grow and your skills get better.
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The Slider

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

Opal

Broadcast Solutions Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery

Glidecam

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Metropolis Post

CineTape

FJS International, LLC

Tai Audio

Technodolly

Paralinx LLC