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Old October 13th, 2006, 11:10 AM   #1
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Light Meters

Just wondering do people use light meters when shooting drama with the HD110?

If yes what light meters do people suggest / use?

If not what are people doing to achieve acceptable exposure?

IE: Are you using field monitors to confirm that exposure is correct along with focusing?

Any thoughts are most welcome.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 11:47 AM   #2
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i use a light meter when lighting doesn't matter the camera ..
i use minolta IV , Pentax digital spot , and Minolta III color temp meter ..
also have a gossen luna pro for back up ...

usually light the set using METERS ...
later will double check waveform ... final call for F stop is based on waveform NOT monitor ..
for camera's with 1394 been using DV Rack ... for run n gun use zebra's ...
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Old October 13th, 2006, 12:25 PM   #3
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A light meter is always useful for lighting a scene to make sure you don't have any dead spots, but for setting exposure, not so much. Film has the lattitude to manage much more approximate exposure settings than video. With video even a quarter of a stop can be the difference between perfect exposure and starting to blow out highlights, so that really has to be done by eyeball or preferably with the assistance of a waveform monitor.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 12:28 PM   #4
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Thanks Don,

Could you explain abit more your process of using the light meter and DV Rack when out on a shoot?

For example what the steps you do before filming a particular scene / event?

IE:
1) Light it.
2) Check the light reading via the Light Meter to find Fstop and ASA?
3) Then finally check using DV Rack?

Thanks
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Old October 13th, 2006, 01:23 PM   #5
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In my case, I find the light meter most useful --not to find an exposure-- but rather to find the exposure range of the the scene -- to find out how many stops different the lightest areas and the darkest areas are... thus making it possible to adjust lights, reflectors, etc. to keep the scene within about a 5-stop range (or whatever you are working with).

The light meter is also useful to be sure similar objects, like two faces, are lit similarly, so one doesn't look brighter than the other. In a close up with dramatic lighting you might use the meter to check the f-stop range between the light side and the dark side of the face.

DVRACK and the waveform monitor then gives the IRE range of the scene. A caucasion face would be in about the 60-65 range and the highlights and shadows can be as you want, within the 0 to 100 range. The DVRACK website has an introductory video that covers this a bit.

The in-camera zebras can also be used as a check... and if using DVRACK and comparing the waveform to the zebra display and the zebra setting, you will get a good idea of what the zebras should do when you don't have the advantage of a waveform monitor.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 02:15 PM   #6
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Jack,

How does this set-up with the DV Rack play on in the field? Meaning what if your doing steadycam work and have various moving tracking shots?
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Old October 13th, 2006, 02:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Duncan
Jack,

How does this set-up with the DV Rack play on in the field? Meaning what if your doing steadycam work and have various moving tracking shots?
Here's the DVRACK webpage, and there is a description of each feature by clicking the links:
http://www.seriousmagic.com/products/dvrack/

Since DVRACK runs on a laptop and connects via firewire, actually shooting the steadicam, running around and being connected to the laptop may be a problem. However, you can connect to DVrack (or any waveform monitor) and check all the angles of your shot to see if all is lit right and what the exposure should be, or if the exposure will need to be changed during the shot. Then disconnect from DVrack and do the shot, using the info you got when you were connected to DVrack.

If the lighting is changing or otherwise is not controllable, the solution to proper exposure is use of the in camera Zebras.

However, if you are on a steadicam rig and using a separate monitor, then I believe you have to settle the exposure before making the shot. Are you using a radio contolled focus puller and f-stop controller setup? or are you otherwise able to manipulate the camera during the shot?

Since you can use a fairly long firewire cable (at least 16 feet) you can have somebody hold the laptop and watch the waveform as you operate the steadicam rig -- you can either do this while setting up the shot... or in some cases may be actually able to do it during the shot.

However, if you are doning run-and-gun, oneshot documentary type shooting, the zebras may be the best answer. If you are doing run-and-gun at an event that is in a stable location (lighting wise), prior to the event you can go around the room/space with DVrack (or a regular waveform monitor) connected and get exposure guidlines you can use later during the actual shoot.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 02:40 PM   #8
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Actually I am just in the process of doing a major upgrade to my equipment. I am coming from a Canon XL1 world and am looking at the JVC HD110 with a Marshall monitor and a Glidecam Smooth shooter setup along with a few other accesories.

I am interested in the DV Rack work flow as an additional check for when in the field. I will be mainly shooting short drama's so things like focus, exposure etc are really important. One of the things that appeals to me about the DV Rack is the ability to immediately check my footage in the field to save on reshoots.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 03:02 PM   #9
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DVRACK has a lot of positive aspects that a lot of people like.

Since you can record directly to the hard disk, you can use tape as a backup and/or vice versa.

DVrack is good for shooting long times, beyond what you can do on the hour tape.

One thing to check is to be sure your laptop meets the requirments for DVrack. It requires a certain amount of unshared video memory and certain level video card, in addition to the cpu requirement. DVrack records through the laptop to an external firewire or USB drive with no problem.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 03:06 PM   #10
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So it a good alternative to a FireStorm setup possbily?
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Old October 13th, 2006, 03:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Duncan
So it a good alternative to a FireStorm setup possbily?
Yes, it records on a hard disk. The firestore disk is much more convenient as it is on the camera. However, in controlled situations where you can run a cable from your camera, DVrack gives you the disk recording as well as all the other features as shown in the video on the website. It's about half the price of a Firestore drive and in the right situations is the right choice. (Of course you have the expense of the laptop, but most people need these anyway.)
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