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-   -   Light Meter Required? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/photon-management/4668-light-meter-required.html)

katelins October 30th, 2002 07:49 AM

Light Meter Required?
How many of you use a light meter for your work and would you recommend an investment in one?

Andrew Petrie October 30th, 2002 10:29 AM

Good question
I've been meaning to bring up the lightmeter question as well.

Chris Hurd October 30th, 2002 10:35 AM

Not a definitive response, but this might help: check out an article on the Watchdog called "XL1 ASA Rating, Part One" -- go to http://www.dvinfo.net/xl1.htm > Articles Menu > Camera Head. About halfway down that page, they're talking about light meters and using them on a video shoot. Hope this helps,

John Locke October 30th, 2002 10:50 AM


When I first started in DV, I used to measure the light ratios of the scene (mainly a force of habit from my still photography days). The Minolta I own allows you to set the principle reading, then measure the range of stops from highlights to shadows on the set. After you've done this awhile, you can see immediately which shadows will go completely black and which highlights will be blown out.

But later on I just started using a monitor as much as possible. Much easier...and more accurate.

So, if you want, they're good for measuring ratios...but I can't imagine one being necessary to meter the actual camera itself.

katelins October 30th, 2002 05:54 PM

Thanks for the reminder Chris, I've been automatically going to these forums that I forget how much information there is on the rest of this site! Looks like I have my reading selected for the night, some good articles to check out...

John, thanks for the help - do you mean a production field monitor or the one on the camcorder itself or??

John Locke October 30th, 2002 06:15 PM


I have the XL-1, so I had to buy a separate monitor...from Varizoom.

Justin Chin November 28th, 2002 01:43 PM

katelins, here is a post a made a while back. I have a Sekonic L-608c light meter. I like it's versatility and I can use it for film and video.

Old Post:

I primarily use a light meter to light a set before picture is up. I've gotten quite used to zoning my lighting to accommodate video. There are really only 5 exposure zones for video so it's rather simple.

I have a twisted way of metering that I don't even bother relating to a gaffer or any DP that I work with. It's only suited for zoning with the mini35 in place, but works quite well for my taste.

I use both incident and spot metering. After you've done a hundred set ups you'll get to know where your light is doing for you. I take some pride in lighting without looking at a monitor. Especially when there isn't one set up yet. Plus, it's nice to know how it's going to look before you move a camera to another set up. You can tell the DP or AD how long it's going to take for the next shot and the shot after that.


Justin Chin November 28th, 2002 01:48 PM

I also should add that the reason I use a light meter is because I use a mini35 setup. It demands a lot of light, and my set ups can have up to 10 head at once. So pre managing the set ups is important. I meter on the set before any lights are up so I can check how much light I might need and then go from there. I also try not to rely on sunlight from windows and almost always recreate window light with artificial means.

Bryan Johannes Onel November 29th, 2002 09:51 AM

I just finished a shoot on wich i did the lighting. I bought a sekonic 608C about a week ago and i don't think ill be able to ever shoot again without one. If you know the ASA of your camera and also know the stop range you can match all the scenes togheter. If you do not use a light meter you could try to match it on a monitor but it could turn out to be not fully consistent, you could try to fix it in post but hey when you overexpose your highlights the detail in it is simply gone.

katelins November 30th, 2002 03:24 AM

Thanks for the replies! Searching around the 'net it appears the light meter question is divided between those who use monitors and those who use light meters when it comes to video. What do you think of the Sekonic L-358? It does not come with spot metering, that accessory comes as an added attachment. But for starting off would you recommend this meter? All in all getting a meter would be for me to learn more about lighting in general and I thought the $200 something the L-358 would cost is agreeable for such a purpose?

Jeff Donald November 30th, 2002 07:01 AM

I've owned an L-358 for over 20 years and it is a fine meter. It would not be my first choice for use with video, however. The low light performance leaves a little to be desired. It's low light performance is caused by the lack of any battery to power an amplifier. Amplifiers are used to boost the low performance of certain types of light cells.


Bryan Johannes Onel November 30th, 2002 10:03 AM

If you want a basic light meter look into the SpectraCine Professional IV-A Model 18002-A at http://spectracine.com/m18002a.htm

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