Lighting Hell....

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by JDP, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. JDP

    JDP TPF Noob!

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    So I'm shooting photos for the local NPR affliate. Particularly a new pilot show they have called 'The Loop' that is more like an open forum with a general topic & audience participation.

    So, it's a regular 'forum', with people coming in to sit down and listen/respond to the host. It's recorded for the radio, then edited and played the next day.
    I'm using my 50mm f/1.8 to take the shots and it performs *ok* though I wonder if I should spring for the 1.4 version.

    Anyway, my problem is lighting. During a lot of the segments the lights are dimmed and the area is light up with 2 large cans with red gels on them. This, of course, really screws up my camera and I end up with an all red shot - unless I can manage to meter off of another light. So, that's problem A.

    Problem B is when the house lights *are* up, there are a lot of harsh shadows and exposure problems. I've both blown out highlights AND underexposed in a single shot. I can adjust it to where I end up just slightly blowing out parts, but my camera can't seem to meter properly something like, ohh, a black man in a white shirt/hat/pants with a spot on him and dimmed colored lights in the rear.

    So, odds are I'll have to 'live with it' but I was hoping maybe someone has done something out there.

    Also, do you think it would be worth it to get that extra little bit of aperature in going from 1.8 to 1.4? Otherwise, I think I'll invest in a wideangle prime instead.
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    That would allow you to increase shutter speed by about 1/3rd stop, or decrease ISO about 1/3rd stop. It wouldn't affect metering or lighting contrast, which seem to be your main problems.

    Try a custom white balance, or shoot raw, and adjust white balance in post processing. If there are several different colored light sources you can't balance them all in-camera. You could balance them separately in different raw conversions, and then do an exposure blend. Other than that you have to live with white balancing one colored light source, or the other.

    The contrast differences you describe are just beyond the abilities of photographic equipment. The solution is to adjust the lighting to suit you, which probably isn't an option.

    You might find that a hand held incident meter does a better job than your in-camera reflective meter in tricky lighting conditions. With an incident meter you could measure the amount of light falling on you subject, rather than the light reflecting off your subject. It won't matter what tone the subject's clothes are.
     
  3. Arch

    Arch Damn You! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    A good reason to start shooting RAW.

    As matt said the 1.4 wont make much difference.....

    I would try and find one of the lightest areas (but not directly into a light)... and meter off that.... if the shadows are very dark areas, its not worth trying to expose for both because you'll always get blocking in the darkest areas and blow the highlights.
     
  4. THORHAMMER

    THORHAMMER TPF Noob!

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    my buddy just shot something like this last week...

    for this you really need to make sure your shooting raw... trust me...
     
  5. JDP

    JDP TPF Noob!

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    bah, fine I'll give it a shot on raw, foregoing my "Screw RAW" stance and see what I can do with it next month. Exposure blend sounds good - I've been playing around with it a little bit, need to read up some more though as current results looks like crap. Thanks guys.
     

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