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How to meter a subject?

incident light meter

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#1 Alejandro Gonzalez

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 10:22 PM

When using an incident light meter to meter an actor or actress, which do I meter - the key light or fill? And why do I see sometimes the DP covering the meter with his hand while metering an actor?

 

What if Im not metering a specific actor but the whole shot in general?


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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 10:37 PM

You can meter both, this would give you your lighting ratios (2:1, 4:1 ect). They are cupping the meter, normally, to shield it from other sources-- e.g. shielding away the fill to meter the key, or vice versa, normally to get the contrast ratio they'd like.


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#3 Alejandro Gonzalez

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 10:26 AM

Suppose I was lighting Joseph here, theres only one light source it seems. I guess I would meter for the mid tones somewhere between the key light and shadow, while shielding my meter from the key light entering through the window. How do you think wally metered here?


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#4 Alejandro Gonzalez

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 10:29 AM

joseph-gordon-levitt-as-john-blake-in-th


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#5 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 07:51 PM

If you incident metered this shot with the spherical diffuser towards the lens, your meter would give you an average of all the light values falling on Joseph's face. This would mean that the light side was slightly over exposed, the dark side was underexposed, and the mid tones were about right. In other words it would appear pretty much as it does in your picture (although I think Wally Pfister probably underexposed a little from what his meter read in this instance). This is by far the easiest way to take a reading.


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#6 Alejandro Gonzalez

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 10:43 PM

is there any videos on metering scenes and actors? how far away from the actor do you meter? do you meter his whole face as a whole? kinda like evaluative metering?


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#7 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 12:07 AM

Read Adrian and Stuart. To meter the actual T stop with an incident meter, get close to the actor or the significant thing in the frame, pointing the hemisphere straight to the lens. Avoid blocking any light to the sphere. A nice way to get a feeling for the relative values in the image you are taking is to use a spot meter. Stand at the camera. A small piece of 18% grey card is useful, but you need to put it where the incident meter would go, pointed to the lens. It should give you about the same value as the incident meter.

The photo above I can't see well. It's been turned into pixels about 1cm squared. If the fill is just reflected from the walls it's still a source per se and will be included in your incident reading

These are just basic ideas to get going with.
Cheers.
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#8 Chris Millar

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 01:26 AM

How far away from the actor do you meter? do you meter his whole face as a whole?

Mental experiment>> put yourself in the position of an actor you've lit - look around and see with your own eyes what light is falling on you - and not just from sources but the total integration of reflections of the whole scene. Now place yourself X distance from this point towards the camera, look around again - is the light the same, or is it perhaps attenuated by the lamp fixtures or set, etc...

 

Off the top of my head only the sun as a source or for small X can lead to a equivalent lighting (or scenes equating to the same) - this is of course within the constraints of an range/error that you decide, and I guess your question could be interpreted as asking 'what is a good range/error'... Well, thats up to whoever you ask (!) - simple solution as has been suggested, use a spot meter (and try not to think to hard about the angle you hold the card :rolleyes: )  

 

...or just place the incident meter right in your talents face. Tape it on  :lol:


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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 03:06 AM

There are different styles of metering, you just have to do it and view the results to see if your technique gives you the results you want consistently. I point the meter at the subject towards the source and then decide how to expose the subject creatively, should it feel a little down, a little hot, etc.

Generally you don't need to shield the incident dome from the fill because the exposure on the lit side is the key + fill anyway but if you want to meter just the fill, you'd shade the dome with your hand from the key. You may also need to shade the dome from a strong kicker or backlight if you feel it is giving you a false reading about the key side.
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#10 Darren Weckerle

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 03:39 AM

When using an incident light meter to meter an actor or actress, which do I meter - the key light or fill? And why do I see sometimes the DP covering the meter with his hand while metering an actor?

 

What if Im not metering a specific actor but the whole shot in general?

 

You may find this to be helpful, I did: http://evanerichards.com/2013/2891


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#11 Alejandro Gonzalez

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 11:02 PM

Thanks alot guys


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