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Old December 15th, 2008, 06:43 PM   #1
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Light Meter For Video YES or NO?

I shoot video for our church to put onto the web with a pmw-ex1. A person I work with who downloads the video and prepairs it for web brodcast told me he thinks that we need a light meter to tell us how to set some of the Pre Sets on the cammera to get a better picture. I know that meters are commonly used for getting propper exposure figures for film. I for one am not buying off on the idea but thought I would Inquire annyway. What do You think?
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Old December 15th, 2008, 07:06 PM   #2
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I use a light meter for all my critical work. A waveform monitor would be very useful also, but for set up shots, I'm just fine with the light meter, the histogram in the camera, and my eyes.
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Old December 15th, 2008, 11:48 PM   #3
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Hi Thomas....

EX1? Web? Light meter?

Which of those don't you expect to see in the same sentence?

As far as I am aware, Sony had the forsight to actually include a light meter in the workings of the camera (no doubt chargeing a suitably high premium for the privelage), tho' as every other semi pro camera seems to have been equally blessed, I can't see it gave them much of a marketing advantage.

The fact that without it wouldn't take very good video may have something to do with it, but I digress.

Better video on the Web?

Of a Church service?

Did this fount of knowledge happen to impart just what, exactly, an external light meter would bring to the party that the internal camera meter could/ would not?

Or why, exactly, it would be required in order to fiddle with pre - sets?

I think you are exceedingly clever not to be buying into it, this sounds about as much use as an ashtray on a motorcycle.

An EX1 for the web, whatever next, Ferraris for shopping trolleys?

My, the things you read..............


CS
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Old December 15th, 2008, 11:56 PM   #4
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LOL!!!

Yea, somehow I glossed over that "for the web" part. I generally break out the light meter when I am going to shoot interviews and I am interesting in lighting ratios. But if I was just going to the web, and not finishing to BluRay or DVD, then I wouldn't sweat it too much. Just watch the histograms and make sure you don't blow anything out.

It might not be a bad idea to check the lighting once with a light meter to see how much contrast there really is in a scene. When I shoot live events indoors, I usually do this. Walk along the stage and check the lighting at the podium, the front of the stage, and at the back where waiting participants usually sit. It gives me some idea of how much contrast there is and whether I am going to be in trouble.

In the case of a church choir, there is likely going to be some significant differences between the soloist's lighting, and that back row, unless they've spent real money on lighting. But a quick walk through ought to help. I guess I still like my meter from my old days as a still photographer. Gives me warm fuzzys knowing exactly how much light I actually have.

Horses for courses I guess.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 12:40 AM   #5
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Chris:
First of all I am an amatuer in this feild and have a lot to learn not only about the craft but also about the cammera. But I will say that I know much more than I did back in June when we first pulled it out of the box. Mostly from trial and error. I know that the pmw-ex1 is overfkill for what we do now but I personally would like to make a short film with it or some annimation. Since I dont personally own the equipment, and dont have the bank to purchas said equipment, I am limmited to its use. My reson for joining this forum is to ask questions and learn from those who have blazed the trail before me. thanks for your input.

Perrone:
I am going to have to reserch a little more closely to the use of the histogram built into the cammera. I have a pretty good preset built for use under Par lights with tungsten bulbs and it dosnt look too bad. But Just this last sunday the 14th I did run into a situation where the person who was preaching decided to work the floor insted of staying on stage where the lighting is. NOT GOOD! We just dont have the buget right now for more lights but are well awaire that we need them. I told the person who dose the edditing and web work that he was going to have to bump it up on the edditing side. Speaking of lighting.
What is your opinion of using soft lights to light the floor area in front of the stage from about 16 feet above, or should we stick with Par's?

Thomas
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Old December 16th, 2008, 12:53 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Thomas William Alexander View Post
Speaking of lighting.
What is your opinion of using soft lights to light the floor area in front of the stage from about 16 feet above, or should we stick with Par's?

Thomas
Soft lights are no longer soft at 16ft. They become dim ambient lights. If you truly want useful soft light from 16ft away, be prepared to spend some SERIOUS money on blanket lights or HMIs with diffusion. I wouldn't even attempt it. Stick with the pars.

You might consider putting a layer of diffusion below the pars to get more even lighting. Not sure what your setup looks like. This is often done in movies. Basically a "false ceiling is made of diffusion fabric, and powerful lights are hung above it and blasted through. This gives a wonderful even and soft lighting. The only problem is that the diffusion REALLY cuts down hte effectiveness of the light, so you tend to use a higher number of more powerful lights. Again, more money.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 01:02 AM   #7
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Perrone:
Thanks for the advice about the lights. I am glad I asked. If you would like to take a peek at this last sundays or yesterdays service and the problenm I ran into go to.....

Untitled Document

The opening is kind of corney though.

Thomas
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Old December 16th, 2008, 01:09 AM   #8
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Hi again..

You wouldn't like to narrow down the area of concern with that video would you, partial as I am to Church services (ahem...).


CS
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Old December 16th, 2008, 01:16 AM   #9
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LOL! Chris you KILL me! Wouldn't matter if he narrowed it down in this case, there is no time index on the video! At least not in my browser. In for a penny, in for a pound!

I will say that it's very refreshing to see ample lighting on someone for a change! In fact, it's a little hot on his forehead. He might want to tone done that iris 1/3 stop or so.

Off to get some "churchin'!

-P

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Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
You wouldn't like to narrow down the area of concern with that video would you, partial as I am to Church services (ahem...).


CS
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Old December 16th, 2008, 07:43 AM   #10
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While it does sound like the web guy is making suggestions out of his posterior (regarding light meters and presets), his concern does has validity in the speaker is about a stop over-exposed. There is plenty of clipping in that shot; forehead, hands and edge of podium. While the rest of the scene will darken down with proper exposure, I think you will find the improvements in skin tone quite pleasing. I would also tighten that shot if possible and reduce the headroom considerably--if the camera placement is such that you are already at full telephoto, I would just tilt down.

Looking later in the video, I see the gent roaming around on the floor. He's not dark per se but indeed the background is quite hot in comparison. Perhaps the light on the podium can be dimmed down a little? If so this will solve the problem above and help balance things a little with the people on the floor. The problem here does seem to be more one of contrast than of exposure.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 10:56 AM   #11
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One thing I noticed doing video at our church - if we raise the house lights, it spills more onto the stage and helps with the contrast issues. We always have trouble if they are running a dark house because the light on stage is so uneven.

May not help in your case depending on how separated your congregation is from the stage area and how the lights are set up.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 11:44 AM   #12
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First: about the over exposure at the podium shot. I agree that there are some problems with forhead over expose and the podium edge rerflecting a lot of light. the podium I can fix with some sort of non reflective fabric like felt or something. The pastor refuses to use makup so that is out of the question. And I have tried to use filtering gells in front of the lights to soften, and that worked fine for video but not enouph light for the human eye. Besides the other person I spoke of likes it bright and has openly crtisized me for bringing down the apurature to ballance things under our curent lighting conditions. He Wants me To step up my knowlege of the potography end of things so we can take it to the next level watever that is. Heck, we havent mastered the basicks of the first level yet.

Second: About dimming the stage lights to ballance out the speeker on the floor. That is a good Idea.Wish we would have had that worked out before hand but I was to busey keeping the cammera on the guy and on the apurature so I could crank it up.

Third: Our house lights Stink. Too dim. I will suggest That we put in Brighter ones over that area at least for now untill we can buget in some more pars.

Thanks for your input. I am learning a lot.

Thomas

P.S. Perrone: What is this time index you speak of ?

Last edited by Thomas William Alexander; December 16th, 2008 at 04:15 PM.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 12:01 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Thomas William Alexander View Post

P.S. Perrone: What is this time index you speak of ?
Thomas, you know how on most internet videos, there is a little bar at the bottom that counts out how far along you are in the video in minutes and seconds? Yours doesn't have that. So it's impossible to tell someone how far to skip along if you wanted to point them at something specific.

As an aside, I watched nearly the whole thing, and was quite entertained!
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Old December 16th, 2008, 01:00 PM   #14
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EX1 Overkill for the web? I don't agree.

I'm a "learning" amateur like Thomas when it comes to operating a camera. But as someone who's been involved in streaming enterprise and corporate video for close to 10 years, I've hired video crews that shoot DVcam, Beta and now HD. And regardless of compression, the hire the resolution and quality of the original media, the better the quality of the posted media on the web. !@$@% in, !@$@% out as they say. I bought an EX3 and will predominantly be shooting for the web. So Thomas, rest assured that you don't have too much camera for what you're doing. You have a camera that will deliver a superior product online as well as off.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 04:05 PM   #15
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Perrone:
I am glad that you were entertained by the video shot on sunday. On that site the message will chang weekly. Sometimes the sermmons dont go so well with other guest speekers. But our pastor, seen at the beggining of the last video is pretty good.

http://www.cwczillah.org

Back to the subject of light meeters. Is there one made that can bee used under multible light conditiions or are they all made spacificaly for spacific typs of light?

And thanks Michail for your positive input.

Thomas
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