I decided to put together this article after my visit to a couple different shootings, on the first one, the camera crew was using a RED camera set-up and on the second shoot by a different crew, were using a D5/D7 set-up. In both places, I found out to my astonishment, that one of the missing tools of the shooting process was the light meter. After my inquiry about it, I was told - "we are not using it due to convenience, it is faster, our Marshall monitors will do" and on the other shoot I was told bluntly by the young D.P, "I have never used one", something that I concluded understanding as self proclaimed technology and just plain ignorance from the DP's and producers. So, lets shed some light into this misconception and I surely will use a light meter for my lighting diagram here. Thank you, Karl Freund!
The Spectra® Professional® IV-A is an advanced digital
At ASA 100 and 1/15 second:
f4 = 10 footcandles
f5.6 = 20footcandles
f8 = 40 footcandles
f11 = 80 footcandles
f16 = 160 footcandles
f19 (between f16 and f22) = 240 footcandles
METER READING AREA
Virtually all in-camera meters are the reflected type--they measure the average brightness of the light within the lens' field of view. As you look through the lens of a 35 mm SLR or DSRL camera you can see what the meter sees. Change the lens and you change the area being metered in some instances. Most handheld meters are also reflected-light meters. Many photographers prefer reflected hand held light meters because they can use them to take light readings from the camera position. To take a light reading with a handheld reflected-light exposure meter, you usually stand at the camera position and aim the meter at your subject. To use an incident hand held light meter, on the other hand, you usually position the meter as near the subject as possible, in the same light that is illuminating the subject, and aim the meter back at the camera.
The first reason to use a hand held light meter by a cinematographer or still photographer is proper exposure of a scene. A easy way to obtain this proper exposure into with a new DSRL or digital cinematography camera is to do a camera sensor calibration (find ISO/shutter speed/Fstop) and match it to the metered reading of a cine capable hand held light meter(ISO/shutter/Fstop) onto a 18% gray scale chart/target (some stand for 12%ANSI values) and on a multi-camera situations use a gray/pattern color target such as a DSC Labs AmbiCombi or similar. (Then, set your picture styles and color settings on the DSRL's menu window)
Shoot the gray card under even lighting at the metered value, and at third-stop increments (use only spot or center weighted metering, and make sure the card is angled slightly towards the light). Look at the histograms for each exposure (on the camera, not in Photoshop, which uses a different method of generating histograms). If you're using a 18% gray card, pick the exposure setting that generates a centered value and set that in your exposure compensation control.
The second reason is consistency of the above mentioned proper exposure, it which is easily achieved on still photography, but a bit more complex to maintain during motion photography for obvious reasons. Commercial and advertising still photography requires a high degree of exactitude on proper exposures of every plate or frame given not only to aesthetic reasons but also due to the four and two color off-set printing process. (Macbeth calibration).
reading on the set of Inception
with slide-rule back to determine
exposure settings for 100 ASA