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Shooting 16mm without a Light Meter


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#1 Jon Carter

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 10:43 AM

I am shooting a film on 16mm Tri-X Reversal (b&W) using a Bolex H16 Reflex Camera. I do not own a light meter, but I have a Canon AT-1 35mm SLR. Is there a way I can use this as a meter? I was told that it's possible, but I am confused as to how to set the shutter speed on the Canon AT-1. There are 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, etc. Any help is appreciated!
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#2 Will Montgomery

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 02:19 PM

Do you have an iPhone?

This app will get you really close. It has a cine mode.
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#3 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 09:04 PM

I was told that it's possible, but I am confused as to how to set the shutter speed on the Canon AT-1. There are 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, etc.

depending on the frame rate and the shutter angle of your camera, you can figure the effective shutter speed. In most cases it will be around 1/50th of a second. So a general approach would be to meter a grey card that is receiving the subject light with the SLR set for 1/60th.

An AT-1 is an older camera, so you may have to adjust your readings based on a test roll to see if the meter on the SLR has drifted over the last (20?) years.
?
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#4 Paul Korver

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 11:25 PM

Hi Jon,
Don't mess with Tri-X. It the reversal film with the least latitude having only about 1.5 stops and you really want to nail the exposure for it to look it's best. My personal preference is to overexpose it a 1/2 stop. Completely different than wide latitude Negative stocks which an experienced DP could probably just estimate the exposure and get close enough.

-Paul
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#5 Will Montgomery

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 12:10 AM

If you really want to shoot B&W, Kodak Double-X is a great stock. Nice and grainy but it's negative so you have more latitude. It's less money than color negative if that makes a difference.
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#6 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 12:45 AM

I am shooting a film on 16mm Tri-X Reversal (b&W) using a Bolex H16 Reflex Camera. I do not own a light meter, but I have a Canon AT-1 35mm SLR. Is there a way I can use this as a meter? I was told that it's possible, but I am confused as to how to set the shutter speed on the Canon AT-1. There are 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, etc. Any help is appreciated!


Most reflex H16s have a shutter angle of 133 degrees, giving an exposure time of 1/65 sec at 24 frames per second. (The early ones without a variable shutter were 144 degrees, giving 1/60 sec.)

But the beam splitter prism between the lens and the gate on reflex Bolexes diverts a quarter of the light to the viewfinder, so you need to adjust your exposure slightly for that. One option is to use an 'adapted' exposure time of 1/80 sec instead of the actual 1/65, but given that your SLR only has a 1/60 sec setting, the easiest thing to do is set it to 1/60 with the ASA on 200 (for Tri-X) and just open up the lens on the Bolex a third of a stop more than your reading (to approximate 1/80). That's your 'proper' exposure.

You can open the lens another third or half stop on top of that, if you follow Paul's advice to overexpose.
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