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  1. #11

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    Not really. With a lot of practice and expereince it is easy to estimate the correct exposure using the Sunny 16 rule which will work in any type of lighting, not just sunlight and from that think in the EV scale. I taught it in my beginners photogrpahy classes making the student either leave the meters at home or the batteries out of the cameras if they had mechanical shutters. In a few weeks or trial and error almost all of them were good enough to nail down the narrow latitude of transparency film that I had then shoot for that segment of the course. On a bad day until not too many years ago I'd come within a quarter of a stop of my meters. I do agree, I think I'd backstop my eye with a meter reading just to satisfy the nonbelievers i case something went wrong.

  2. #12
    MDR
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    Don't forget Douglas Slocombe was born in 1913 and learned his craft in the pre lightmeter era furthermore most motion picture lightning even outside the studio is heavely controlled so basically once you know the power/brightness output of your lightning setup you know the aperture. It's also possible that the gaffer did the metering for Slocombe.

    Domink

  3. #13

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    Erwin Hillier was another DoP who eschewed the light meter on occasions. On a movie set which may be a mix of natural and artificial light and cast members walking in and out of each, a cinematographer needs instinct as well as calculation.

  4. #14
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    Frank Hurley, the famous Australian documentary cinematographer, was reputed to use his assistant as a light meter. By looking at his assistant's eyes and estimating the pupil diameter Frank would figure the ambient light level and set the lens aperture accordingly.
    Photography, the word itself, invented and defined by its author Sir John.F.W.Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London. Quote "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..". unquote.

  5. #15
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    Just as an anecdote - I was lucky enough to work for Englishman, Gil Taylor (DP on Dr. Stranglove and others), on a commercial in Australia. I was a gaffer/chief lighting technician. We shot the commercial during the course of a week inside a big semi-circular roofed harbour side shed used to build aircraft during the second world war. It had no internal supports and all lighting was a hung from trusses in the roof. There was no sun. We had dozens of 10k's (10,000 watt tungsten fresnel lamps) rigged in the roof and one on the floor for fill. They were not easily adjustable and Gill would look at the subject and suggest a stop (usually t 5.6 - 11 if memory serves) without the help of a meter. He would adjust the fill by having my team drag the floor 10k closer or further from the action - again by eye. The focus puller and I had meters, just in case. We used to double check his stop without his knowledge and he was always right. He was very old school and knew his stock (very unforgiving slow colour neg), lenses and light levels inside out. Obviously once lit, the set would not change dramatically in levels but from the outset he set all levels by eye (i.e the positioning and intensity of each lamp in the roof). For what it was worth the rushes (prints of the previous days shoot) were all perfection on a stick. Cheers, sam

  6. #16
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    Camera assistant and probably had one. They do A LOT of high wattage fill even in daylight for movies. Someone was watchin the ratios it might not have been the head camera guy, but some assistant was.

    The sun is your key, and professionals know how far a 5k or 10k fresnel needs to be from the subject for the desired effect.

    I photographed all weekend without one. (russian leica).

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maris View Post
    Frank Hurley, the famous Australian documentary cinematographer, was reputed to use his assistant as a light meter. By looking at his assistant's eyes and estimating the pupil diameter Frank would figure the ambient light level and set the lens aperture accordingly.
    Now THAT's impressive!

    I know nothing about motion picture lighting althogh I aways study patterns & ratios on closer shots to the point of being excessive.
    It amazes me how much power must be needed to get the depth of field they sometimes use.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by brucemuir View Post
    Now THAT's impressive!

    I know nothing about motion picture lighting althogh I aways study patterns & ratios on closer shots to the point of being excessive.
    It amazes me how much power must be needed to get the depth of field they sometimes use.
    Don't forget that unless they are shooting IMAX or 70mm stock, most likely their frame size is probably something like 18mm x 24mm - much better depth of field than even 35mm stills.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  9. #19
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    I can't find the pic of Frank Hurley astride the bowsprit of the Aurora on the Mawson Antarctic Expedition (it was published in the Sydney Morning Herald today) This will have to do--the question being how he might have handled a light meter as well as the camera in such acrobatic situations.

    BTW if you search for Frank Hurley Aurora in Google images you'll find several copies of him lowering his processed film over the rail of the ship and into the sea to wash it. I'm not sure what that would do to the emulsion.

    http://images.rgs.org/imageDetails.aspx?barcode=23764

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maris View Post
    Frank Hurley, the famous Australian documentary cinematographer, was reputed to use his assistant as a light meter. By looking at his assistant's eyes and estimating the pupil diameter Frank would figure the ambient light level and set the lens aperture accordingly.
    And he had to make sure his assistant never got drunk or high the night before ;-)

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