Why Do You Need a Light Meter For Video?
I have written few articles on the use of a Light Meter for photographers. And I have explained them the importance of using a handheld Light Meter when taking quality photos (even though the modern DSLR cameras have in-built light meters.) So, how about the videographers? Do they need one? If you are a videographer, then read this article and make the decision.
No matter whether you are a videographer or a photographer, they all do similar things. Same as in photography, a handheld Light Meter helps a videographer for understanding the exposure level of the scene. So, no more guessings. Well, I am not saying that you should always agree with the Light Meter. Anyway, you can get a starting point with it. Nothing can beat the creativity of the human brain. While the Light Meter gives you accurate readings, that doesn’t mean that you have to follow it religiously.
You might already know about the two types of Light Meters. The incident meter measures the light (directly from the source) going through the sensor. The inbuilt meter in modern DSLR cameras is a reflective meter. These meters measure the light bouncing off the object/place/pretty girl. Do you really want to measure the light the source is giving? Well, some photographers and video want to know everything about the light (quantity, quality, and the number.) But some don’t really care. If you are in the first category, buying an Incident Light Meter would satisfy your cravings. If you only worry about the light bouncing off the object, buy a reflective Light Meter.
Well, the advantage of using handheld incident meters is that they measure whatever light falls on the object (maybe not from one source.) Reflective meters, on the other hand, always need a reflective surface, and it has a downside. Imagine you are videotaping a pretty girl holding a mirror. The intensity of the light reflecting off the mirror is higher, so the meter would get confused and gives you crazy readings. If you follow the meter and change the camera settings according to it, you will miss the moon while counting the stars (you would miss the pretty girl in the video.)
On the other hand, Incident (only) Light Meters also have downsides because they measure only the incident light. Which means to measure the light at a point, you have to be there. Can you hover around the pretty girl, holding the Light Meter and take the readings? Anyway, thanks to the modern technology; new meter can measure both the readings.
Light Meter for video?: While the amateurs say “no, I don’t,” the experts say, “yes, definitely.” If someone thinks that he/she can record quality videos with their DSLR camera without any other supports, they don’t really know what is quality videos. Well, the experts don’t become slaves to Light Meters. They see light like true masters. They use it only as a starting point, but it’s must though. OK, the inbuilt meter in modern DSLR cameras is a great, but not quite good enough to get it 100% right. A final message to all the amateurs and newbies (videographers,) “Invest some money in a Light Meter. It’s never going to be a waste. It will train you to see the light like a master”