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Michael Maier

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Michael Maier last won the day on June 19 2017

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About Michael Maier

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    Camera Operator
  1. How do you mean? What have made front boxes obsolete? I think they are still incredibly useful.
  2. I understand now why you need to open the iris to correctly expose the skin with the spot meter. Thanks for clarifying. So you prefer pointing the incident meter to the light instead of to the lens? I understand I will have to judge and nudge the exposure to match the mood I'm trying to achieve. I'm just trying to understand how to get my first base number and how to interpret it. Which now I have understood that the incident meter gives me 18% gray, which is always the normal exposure. So all skins should look correct under it. And if I want it to look darker or brighter to match a scene which shouldn't be normally exposed, I have to adjust and either overexpose a little or underexpose a little. I think this seems to be clear now. Although like I said, sometimes going by the incident meter reading, some skin complexions look darker than in real life even when other skin complexions, sometimes even in the same shot look like they normally do in real life. This I'm still trying to understand the reason for.
  3. Very interesting rule of thumb. If we were talking about a bare bulb practical, making it difficult to gel, would you see it worth going through the trouble of figuring the t-stop the bulb would read one stop over exposed from a foot way and starting from this t-stop as a reference to your key, just to be able to keep the rule of thumb in effect? Or in this case would you abandon the rule of thumb for this one shot?
  4. I guess this is the best part of digital's WYSIWYG. Looking at a calibrated monitor with a waveform a shot like the above is much easier to set up than in film where you can't see it and have to figure all the values.
  5. Thanks for the detailed reply. But if the skin is one stop more reflective, it means it reflects twice as much light as 18% gray. So shouldn't you close the lens one stop instead of opening it? It seems to me if skin reflects more light than mid gray it is already overexposed if you leave it at the same stop, let alone if you open the lens even more. Or what am I missing? It seems the spot meter has basically the same function as a waveform and if you have a waveform a spot meter is not needed. Or is there a need for one even if you have a waveform on set? And exposing by incident meter, meaning taking the direct T-stop reading and setting your lens to it, since it exposes to 18% gray, it will expose to the mid tones and will average the exposure. Since it sets your exposure in the middle it gets you a compromises between exposing for the shadows and exposing for the highlights. Did I understand correctly?
  6. Yes, I find it that sometimes you need to wiggle a bit to get the skin to look as you see it in real life. If I just take the straight t-stop reading from the incident meter, especially darker skin it sometimes looks darker than it looks in real life.
  7. Sorry for the confusion. I'm using an incident meter. I guess I confused the info with the spot meter or thought it applied to both. Thanks for clarifying guys. But what David said is exactly what prompted me to ask the question. David, when you said "ALL meter readings are just information that you factor in when placing your exposure, there are many situations where a face is brighter or darker than "normal" exposure." This is why I was thinking the reading the incident meter gives me won't be exactly my lens T-stop for my key. It seems I still have other things to factor in to decide on my t-stop for my key? Or do you mean the t-stop reading from the meter will always be the correct or optimal t-stop for my key, and only if I want the face to be darker or brighter to fit the mood I will have something else to factor in? So as long as I want a correctly exposed face the t-stop from the meter will always give me that? Maybe correctly exposed is not the right word. Maybe normally exposed is a better term. With a waveform if I'm setting a key light for a face and want the key side to be normally exposed, I will just get the key light to get me 65-70IRE and I'm done. Then based on the key and the contrast ratio I want I will set my fill etc. I will just eyeball my monitor till the contrast looks good and what I want and then I check the IRE and judge if it's enough contrast or too much difference. If I want the face to be darkly lit, like for a scene which is supposed to be at night inside a dimly lit bedroom, I will instead set the key to give me less than 70IRE for the key. Then proceed to set fill etc if needed based on the key light. With a meter it's easy enough to check contrast ratios. Actually easier than with the waveform in my opinion. My problem is how to arrive at the first reference point, the key. So if I'm understanding this right and the t-top from the incident meter is indeed my key light t-stop, does that mean whatever t-stop the meter gives me will also give me 70IRE in the waveform? Somehow it doesn't seem that would be the case. Because the waveform measures the actual face. The incident measures the light. So regardless if it's Caucasian skin or African American skin the incident meter will always give me the same reading. Which is what made me think the straight reading from the incident meter can't be my final reading and there is still something else I have to factor in.
  8. So you are basically saying the meter gives you your key t-stop? So if I set a key light up for an actor and the meter gives me T2.8 for that light, I can just set my lens to T2.8 and shoot ? Since a meter gives you 18% gray and I have always heard skin is around 1 stop above 18% gray, I didn't think the meter reading was a straight stop for the key.
  9. What I mean is, the reading you get in the meter is not really your T-stop right? It's just your starting point. So for example, if I'm shooting ISO 800 with a 180° shutter and my meter says T4. Putting my lens at T4 does not guarantee I have the right t-stop for the shot.
  10. I've been using the waveform in the viewfinder to set exposure. But I want to get to using a meter. I know many say they are not good for digital. But I still want to give it a go. I have heard the rule of thumb to put caucasian skin at 70 IRE, darker complexion at 60 IRE and African American skin at 50 IRE. But when it comes to an incident meter the reading is based on 18% gray, right? So that does not mean this is the correct reading for skin. So what is a good workflow for using the meter to set your key light etc? Thanks.
  11. The question is why should you? Not every story benefits from 3D. I would say most don't. 3D is more for a theme park ride, which is what Avatar basically was, a park ride with some story. I was kind of hoping the fad would soon past but as Avatar made a behemoth amount of money it seems the fad will stick around a bit longer as money is the thing most people respect the most, specially Hollywood. But knowing Hollywood they will shoot themselves in the foot by over flooding the market with 3D crap till the gimmick wears out and people see 3D or not films still need a good story and most stories do not need 3D or are made better by 3D. Then the fad will go away as it has many times before in the past. The flood is already in the horizon. The next 3-5 years every blockbuster, comic book movie and 3D animation will be in 3D. Was never a big fan of Cameron's and am even less now. But you gotta handle it to him. Took himself to break his own record because we just have too many morons ahead of business in Hollywood.
  12. The IR issue was not really corrected in the EX1R. It's supposedly better but definitely still there. I would still use a T1 filter to be on the safe side. The best would of course be an EX1R+Nanoflash, but if I had to choose between an EX1R and an EX1+Nanoflash I would go with an EX1+Nanoflash in a heartbeat! In the end of the day what counts is the image quality and the image quality is EXACTLY the same between the 2 cameras as is also the EX3. The small ergonomic differences between the EX1 and EX1R are minimal. The much better quality of the Nanoflash makes a much bigger difference. About the only thing I really miss in the EX1 is the new HDMI connector. All else is pretty superficial. Just my opinion.
  13. Well done James. The one I was talking about actually included a HDVF 20A viewfinder. All for $5,800. Anyways, something to keep in mind when getting a F900 is the lens. Lenses normally don't drop in price as much and you need a great HD lens to use with the F900, unless you just want to keep renting. When all is said and done, with body, lens and all needed accessories one will be at way more than just two EX3s for sure and probably higher than RED ONE territory. But it's just interesting to know you can get a F900 body and finder these days for much less than you can a new XDCAM shoulder body or even a EX3. For a camera whihc used to cost over a $100K not long ago this is sure a huge drop! As Dylan wisely said, "Times are changing fast".
  14. Talking about "stunning deals" for a F900, they have been selling for dirty cheap lately, specially compared to what they used to sell for not long ago. Right now there's one selling for the price of an EX1 on Ebay via "buy it now". Crazy times. I wonder if it's RED or if its the fact that an EX1 or EX3 gets you pretty much the same quality as a F900 or at least close enough. 4:2:0 1920x1080 vs 3:1:1 1440x1080. Anyways, no matter the reason their price has fallen incredibly fast.
  15. This reminds me of those "lamborghini" kitcars based on the horrible and unreliable pontiac fiero. Looks like something that it is entirely not. As Phil said, the betacam body is not of much use. It just makes the thing much bigger and makes you look like you may be shooting with a F900. He could have just as well put all the "improvements" in a metal box with a top handle and it would be just as useful and more compact. Better than a semi empty betacam body. Looks odd.
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