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Old June 21st, 2005, 02:00 PM   #1
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Light Meter Recommendation for XL1

I am using an XL1 , and plan to shoot with various lighting set ups. Can anyone recommend a light meter. I've been searching on B & H's web site but there are so many.

So if any one has any experience with a good one up to a 200 dollar price range, let me know. If not, a point in the right direction would help as well.

Any in the field experiences with them whether bad or good is also added info that I would love to hear.

It would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks alot,

Michael Hart
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Old June 21st, 2005, 03:13 PM   #2
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The digital Spectra is an industry standard; there are also the dual mode (spot and incident) Sekonics.

For what it's worth, I almost never meter for digital, unless I have to pre-light the set before the camera is set up. I go by the (properly calibrated) monitor and a waveform. That's a pretty standard way to go for most.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 03:31 PM   #3
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charles' expertise dwarfs mine, but i would just add one thing.
i think that meters have their place in video. not for setting exposure, but for getting stuff like facial ratios (key-fill ratio,) and subject to background ratio. keeping these ratios consistent within a scene, and understanding how to manipulate them for different settings (ie, day int vs night ext,) is an important part of figuring out how to light and shoot effectively.
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 04:46 AM   #4
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I've been pondering the 'light meter' question as well, but was thinking that although I don't need a meter to measure intensity, I feel like I should have one that measures color so I can ensure that any color corrections I do are relatively close when trying to sync multiple lights/sources, yes, no? If this is an accurate assumption, are their industry standard meters for color only?
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 10:34 AM   #5
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This is the one I usually use.
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 07:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
I've been pondering the 'light meter' question as well, but was thinking that although I don't need a meter to measure intensity, I feel like I should have one that measures color so I can ensure that any color corrections I do are relatively close when trying to sync multiple lights/sources, yes, no? If this is an accurate assumption, are their industry standard meters for color only?
Maybe something like a color chip chart would work better?
http://www.dsclabs.com/chromadumonde.htm
I've never used one, but here's how I would use it.
All the cameras shoot the chart (be sure to pay attention to whether the lights are turned on or not, and whether it's intended for color balance/temperature to be off).
Once you shot the chart, there's a few things you can match:

-Sharpness/resolution

-Colors- In your color correction program, you'd put up the charts on a vectorscope and match the points on the vectorscope. You can download some shots off camcorderinfo.com to see for yourself.
Use primary and secondary color correction to tweak the "corners" into the proper targets, and the edges so that they look straight.
You still won't get perfectly matched colors, but at least the cameras should be pretty matched.

The chip chart makes white, grey, and black balance very easy to check/confirm.

2- Curious: How would someone be able to use a light meter to improve color accuracy?
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Old June 23rd, 2005, 01:43 AM   #7
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If one is attempting to balance tungsten film lights with existing fluorescents or sodium vapor lights, for instance, reading the color temperature and then interpreting the results will determine what type and intensity of color correction gel is needed so that the two sources will photograph the same. One could do this by looking at the monitor and then holding up different pieces of gel by trial and error, but that may not always be possible. On a scout, a color temp meter helps you determine if any or all of the practical lighting can be used during a shoot or what it will take to balance it.

The meter measures the degrees Kelvin, which is the classic color temperature reading (3200K, 5600K etc) as well as the mired shift, which is the green-magenta axis. I have personally found that I can judge color temperature pretty well by eye, but the mired shift can be more elusive. It's worth noting that film is much more sensitive to this aspect of the spectrum than video, so a fluorescent that might require full magenta correction to photograph as tungsten on film would look way too magenta on video, for instance.
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Old June 23rd, 2005, 07:27 AM   #8
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Thanks for the reply Charles, I never though about those things.
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Old June 23rd, 2005, 09:20 AM   #9
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Thx Charles, I guess I better get good with my eyes because at $919 it's what I'm gonna be stuck with (for now anyway)!

Though if the product description is accurate, "The Minolta Color Meter IIIF is a top-of-the-line professional color compensation meter ", there might be others that are less expensive.

Indeed, the scenarios I'm most interested in being able to control are mostly when doing color corrections with gels, e.g. correcting 3200 lights to match daylight, or correcting incidentals that are close, say 5000 to bring them up the 5600, basically all of the scenarios where light intensities might be mixed and corrected, especially daylight and tungsten (without having to do test shots that then need to be dumped into a PC for color analysis as that's not practical or time efficient, though I suppose if I was recording to disk/laptop that could work, but a quick light that reads Kelvin will be able to tell me if my CTO/CTB needs to be 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, full, etc)


*After reading a few other threads elsewhere, it appears that the common approach when shooting video is to just gel up, white balance, and use your eyes/monitor.
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