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  1. #1
    Lionel1972's Avatar
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    Douglas Slocombe: a DP who never used a lightmeter

    While watching this interview of Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford done after the 30th anniversary screening of "Raiders of the lost Ark", I got very surprised to hear them talk about how Douglas Slocombe, Director of Photography on the movie, never used any lightmeter but just "guessed" the right exposure. Fascinating and awe inspiring!

    http://herocomplex.latimes.com/2011/...ders-lost-ark/

  2. #2
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    No guessing required, the sun is a constant source and if he knows his materials the only thing that can change is what is between the sun and the subject.
    Lots of photographers use the sunny 16 rule, or open shade rule

    Quote Originally Posted by Lionel1972 View Post
    While watching this interview of Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford done after the 30th anniversary screening of "Raiders of the lost Ark", I got very surprised to hear them talk about how Douglas Slocombe, Director of Photography on the movie, never used any lightmeter but just "guessed" the right exposure. Fascinating and awe inspiring!

    http://herocomplex.latimes.com/2011/...ders-lost-ark/

  3. #3

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    Guessing exposure is easy, but if I worked on a multi million dollar production, I'd use a meter for safety. I guess most of my exposures too and I'm rarely wrong as long as I'm outside in natural light. Sunny 16 (or more like Sunny 13 around here) is your friend. With inside situations and artifical light (which is often used for filming) on the other hand, I'm off by a stop or two from time to time - enough to ruin slide film anyway.
    This guy has my respect for having the confidence of doing it this way and getting it right every time.

  4. #4

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    That is amazing!

    Jeff

  5. #5

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    It is amazing what can be done without a meter, but based on experience and judgement.

    Mike Johnston had a nice article about exposing without a meter. I'll try to find and link to it.
    Last edited by Mark Crabtree; 10-31-2011 at 02:07 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6
    Ross Chambers's Avatar
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    Extraordinarily courageous almost to the point of foolhardiness I would think. Perhaps he had a super able lab contact grading his rushes, or maybe his camera operator snuck a quick look at HIS meter. The usual DOP /Lab setup is to establish parameters via tests before shooting, so that rushes are single light graded to achieve quick turnaround (that's why they're 'rushes' in English language vernacular).

    The financial costs of a single day's shooting usually far exceed the DOP's fee.

    If the "sunny 16" rule had anything to do with it those rather large lighting setups usually found on motion picture sets, even on perfectly lit (for stills) days would be unnecessary.

    Films need investors, not gamblers.

  7. #7
    Ross Chambers's Avatar
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    Top of this page, Douglas Slocombe with device strongly resembling a light meter (BTW is Harrison Ford an expert in cinematography?)

    http://filmcastentertainment.blogspo...otcandles.html

  8. #8
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    I bet that someone else on set had a meter and checked his settings (even if he didn't know about it).


    Steve.

  9. #9

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    That was done strictly for the benefit of both Spielberg and Ford, the daily cost in a set can be upwards of a million dollars. Right after Douglas said "f5.6", his assistant would be right behind him checking to make sure. If you were Douglas wouldn't you love Spielberg and Ford telling fantastic stories about you. Not to mention the moment a producer would get a whiff of a DP doing something like this(and believe me, they will be told) would inmediately make it to the set and quietly pull him aside.

  10. #10
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    If the cost on set can be upwards of a million dollars a day, It's awe inspiring that someone could be so arrogant and stupid not to use a light meter.
    Last edited by benjiboy; 11-01-2011 at 09:39 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Ben

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