As I write this, we’re finishing up our 38-city KNOW education tour. At each stop, we run a little test.
One of us holds up a light meter and asks the audience, “Does anyone know what this is?”
Without fail, most of our attendees do know what the device is called – and a simple definition of what it does.
Then we follow up with a different set of questions…
“Does anyone know what a stop of light is?”
“Does anyone know how this can be used to tell deeper stories?”
“Has anyone actually used one of these things recently?”
Across the nation, the answer to these follow up questions is almost always the same.
Um… No… Well… Maybe… Uh…
Usually this gets a good laugh with the crowd, but we don’t hold the unfamiliarity with light meters against our attendees. After all, nearly all digital cameras have built in light meters that offer basic functions.
In addition, our DSLR cameras now give us a great idea of our picture live, so we can get a basic feel for the image. A live image and a built in light meter will help with the majority of work the average student will take on.
I’ll be honest, our team here discounted what light meters could add to story for a long time. A light meter is one of those things we are familiar with intellectually, but that most of us don’t really know how to use effectively.
We want to change that.
Since we’ve started embracing light meters (in the right situations), we’ve been blown away with what they allow us to accomplish.
So we were excited to team up with Sekonic to produce this 14-minute tutorial on the basics of a light meter and how we use it in the field. Check it out below.
What you’ll learn in the video tutorial above:
- The 4 aspects of shooting where a light meter will really shine.
- What a stop of light is – and what happens when we increase or decrease it.
- How Aperture, ISO, and Shutter Speed relate to stops of light (and each other).
- Specific examples (from the field) on why this matters.
- The benefits of isolating specific light sources (think interview ratios).
- Saving time by scouting potential location light quickly and correctly.
The stillmotion team has gone from ignoring light meters – to integrating them into several of our routine processes we do on a daily basis around the globe.
Light meters are not only alive…
They are an essential part of our team!
What about you?
Have you used light meters recently in any of your work?
How have you utilized one to add to the stories you tell?
Let us know in the comments below!