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Lighting with Candles - Film Speed B/W?

Manuel Goetz

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Hello all!


I'm about to shoot a small scene with my new K3 16mm and I intend to light it exclusively with candles. It's going to be shot with a pretty slow f4 Takumar 50mm macro lens - so I'll have a lot of candles. Depending on the actual situation (I haven't made any tests yet) I might also use a filling light, which would be tungsten (=the ceiling lamp in my room). The stock will be Orwo's N74, which has an ISO 400 for daylight and 250 for tungsten.


Now my question is - with candle light, on my light meter do I assume the speed to be 250 or 400 (or something in between)?







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The redder the light, the less sensitive the b&w emulsion is, and candlelight is redder than tungsten, so definitely use the 250 ASA rating. Limited to T/4, you may have to push-process the stock unless you add some lighting or have a lot of candles that the actors are close to. But then watch out for fire, be safe, have an extinguisher. Truth is that there are permit issues with candles in Los Angeles County, I've had some fire marshals be incredibly restrictive to the point where you couldn't shoot with candles because they had to be in glass containers, there were a limit on the number, etc.

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thanks guys, that helps a lot!


i like the idea of pushing the film, that might enable me to shoot without any additional light and just the candles. need to check though. maybe this gives me just the extra f stop i need.


is there anything that I need to take into account when measuring the light with the light meter (except for trying not to burn the thing) - or do I use it just like i would for any other setup?


luckily its not a professional production - so i only need to watch out to not burn down my miniature set...

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