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Nizo PRO light meter

Mario Zorzi

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Hello! here I am again

Me and my friend Giacomo shot a short animated movie in super 8 (https://vimeo.com/347293219). As you can see it is overexposed even if we measured the exposure using a gray card and relying on the internal light meter.
So from what we see we think the Nizo light meter is not reliable.
I was thinking about buying an external light meter to use in cases like these (in studio) 

Based on my budget I've found these models out:

Sekonic Flashmate L-308B 
Sekonic Twinmate L-208
Minolta Spotmeter M Spot Light Meter

do you have any opinions? suggestions?

I think that the minolta could be the right choice, because it works like the Nizo internal light meter, but I'd like to know from you, your thoughts.

It would be a bonus the possibility to use the light meter for the normal film photography too.

hope that what I've written makes sense 🙂

thank you 

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Hi, all light meters are based on the 18% gray card standard. So really any working hand held light meter will do.  You just have to know its parameters.  Using an 18% gray card and metering from it will place the exposure density of the card in the correct range.  Then you just need to factor in any exposure change +/- needed to compensate for camera lens/prism light loss (usually 1/4 to 1/2 Stop average for large lens cameras, going all the way up to as much as 1/Stop on some....refer to the owner's manual for using manual exposure for any compensation advice).   Also, then factor in any exposure adjustment you wish to make for your subject material, to make it darker or lighter (if using any black construction type paper and wanting to make sure it appears dark enough relative to other elements in the animation).

   The easiest way to avoid lots of frustration is shoot a film test, using the hand held light meter, and slate each shot with a card/paper stating what the exposure setting is, and shoot a series of frames....no need to actually animate, but do shoot in Single Frame mode as if you were.  Just 10 frames after each 'slate information' shot is enough.  You only need to shoot a few feet for all the tests you'll need and this can be done quite quickly. Then use up the rest of the roll having fun filming family or something else you like.  Once the film is processed, you can examine the image density of the tests, and referring to your 'slate info' prior to each short test, you will know which one works best for you. This will avoid wasting tons of time actually animating something, as well as wasting an entire roll and processing for a full roll test, and still yield you some good film of family and/or friends, so it's not wasted at all.

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Martin! thank you very much for your help!

So basically there is no difference in using (what I call) a normal light meter versus a spot light meter? Should I measure the reflected light or the incident light on the gray card? 

I attached the set up we used while filming. The red square marks the place where we placed the gray card. So what we did was to frame the entire gray card in order to cover the frame and take the exposure using the Nizo. We took a note of that reading, set the exposure manually and started to shoot the frames.

As you can see from the picture the video is highly overexposed.

So with my (normal) handheld light meter should I put it under the light, over the gray card,  pointing upward and take a read. Then compensate for the camera light loss and set the exposure manually or point the light meter facing the gray card for the reflected light? Does this create problems with the shadow I could project over the card?

I know I have some problem in understanding this phase as well as in explaining my problem so forgive me please :) and thank you for the help!!!

I fell into this "hole" and I want to understand how to manage this part of the workflow and buy the right light meter.



Foto 27-02-19, 10 16 15.jpg

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Hi. You will want to darken the exposure (under-expose) the film a little to get into the density range you desire.  Since you used the NIZO built in light meter, all you have to do is note the exposure/aperture setting in the viewfinder, switch the camera to Manual Exposure mode and adjust the aperture to what you feel you need to get it correct. For example, if the exposure needle is at F/5.6 on Auto, you just need to set it to between F/5.6 & F/8 to darken it by 1/2 Stop exposure.  Due to varying degrees of density in your subject material, you would want to shoot this in Manual Exposure mode so that the scene density doesn't fluctuate among your various animated material.  So, you really don't need to use a separate light meter.

However, if you do wish to use a separate light meter, you could also use a 35mm SLR film camera or even a DSLR and set the camera to the film speed you are using, and the shutter speed to that equivalent to the NIZO in Single Frame mode, thus 1/43rd per second average. You'd have to select the closest shutter speed, 1/40th if available, or vary the ISO/ASA speed to compensate that slight variation.  NIZO states in their instruction manual that using an external hand held meter will not read the image the same way as the built in meter.  You can still use an external meter, meter the light reflected from an 18% gray card at the position of the subject (your animated material), AND then COMPARE this reading to what the camera is giving you.  IF the camera's light meter states F/5.6 and the hand held light meter (having first put in your film ISO speed and shutter speed equivalent etc) and the NIZO's light meter is reading the same, then they match. IF not and for example you are getting F/4, then you will know, that F/4 (or any F-Stop setting you obtain from the hand held meter, in this example only) will yield the same image density as the NIZO will provide.  Knowing this, and also knowing that the NIZO meter gave you image density that was too light (over exposed), you can adjust your exposure setting on the light meter by changing the ISO/ASA setting until the hand held meter or DSLR or 35mm SLR gives you the exposure that will provide you with the correct density.  You won't know the exact correct density without shooting a test film first, and slating (filming a piece of paper with the F-Stop setting used) for each variation of exposure. Again as I stated earlier, don't bother animating anything since this is only an exposure test, shoot your image, slating it, then make another slate for the next exposure change, for example if it was F/4, then F/4 - F/5.6, then F/5.6, etc.  You only need to film a few seconds of each to then later determine which is best for your work. 

Since the NIZO built in light meter actually works, you can just use that, as light meters are really only reference points.  In Automatic exposure mode, we depend on them to give us an acceptable exposure when we film most anything.  However, in an exacting type of work such as the animation you are filming, you need this to be correct and what is correct, is whatever you feel is correct for your material.  No need to go out and buy a light meter when the camera light meter does work and you can use that as a reference, and then just set it to Manual Exposure and adjust it to darken the image.  WHY the built in light meter is off, is another question. That could be due to the film type you're using if the meter cartridge notch isn't being read by the camera, or a variation in the meter due to age (since you're using the NIZO Pro, it uses the main battery supply for meter power, unlike the non-pro models which require separate light meter button batteries.  I hope I've been able to explain myself here clearly enough.  My intention truly is never to confuse anyone, which would defeat the purpose of trying to help.  I hope you can sort this out on your end.

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