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Best way of exposing on digital cameras


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#1 Magnus Over-Rein

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 01:52 PM

Hi

I would like to have opinions on how to expose for digital cameras. Do you meter for the right exposure in camera or do you use the histogram and try to get as much detail as possible and adjust the exposure in post?
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#2 Travis Gray

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 01:59 PM

I tend to go with what looks good on the monitor (assuming it's appropriately set up to give an accurate preview) and then check the histogram to see if anything's clipping or all the way in the blacks... depending on what I'm doing. If I'm clipping a white cloud or something similar, I'll be ok with that, or if there are shadows I want to leave dark. But I may look at the image and think it's ok, but the highlights are a little below clipping, so I'll push it up a bit just to get a little more detail in there using the histogram.

And I try to use a separate light meter when possible too.
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#3 Magnus Over-Rein

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 05:45 PM

I tend to go with what looks good on the monitor (assuming it's appropriately set up to give an accurate preview) and then check the histogram to see if anything's clipping or all the way in the blacks... depending on what I'm doing. If I'm clipping a white cloud or something similar, I'll be ok with that, or if there are shadows I want to leave dark. But I may look at the image and think it's ok, but the highlights are a little below clipping, so I'll push it up a bit just to get a little more detail in there using the histogram.

And I try to use a separate light meter when possible too.


Thank you Travis! The light meter, will that be just for measuring lightcontrast, or would you in certain circumstances use it for setting exposure?
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#4 Mike Lary

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 11:37 PM

Hi

I would like to have opinions on how to expose for digital cameras. Do you meter for the right exposure in camera or do you use the histogram and try to get as much detail as possible and adjust the exposure in post?


It depends on the camera and whether you're shooting raw or to a codec. If you don't have time to do proper testing, measure with a light meter in the traditional way and check the histogram for clipping. Don't ever judge exposure by the image on the monitor. Ideally you'd do bracketed exposure tests in a variety of situations and run the footage through post to see where it breaks, how much detail you can pull out of the shadows, etc. Then you'll know what varying exposures in different lighting environments will give you and you can target exposure more precisely on set.
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#5 Justin Dombrowski

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 12:24 PM

There are DP's I work with (when shooting RAW) that tend to "overexpose." There isn't any clipping, however, they maintain as much detail in the histogram to increase the dynamic range. Then crush it in post.
Then there are DP's I work with that shoot everything they possibly can in camera, including there final looks, essentially leaving almost nothing left to do in post. I guess it all depends on how you work. I think the guys you stick to "in camera" have more confidence but at the same time, the guys who leave it up to post have more versatility when it comes to pleasing the client.

There are pros and cons to both methods, just find a method that suits your workflow.
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