Using a Light Level Meter to Create Shadows

A light level meter might not be essential to create films, however, using one will make your movie look much more professional. Light meters are capable of detecting the amount of light bouncing off a subject accurately. By measuring this light, you will be able to set your camera accordingly, which will increase the chances of capturing high quality and professional video.

A light meter makes it easy to be able to accurately measure this light. Although the most common use of a light meter will be to minimize shadows and create even lighting, you might actually want to create some shadows. Creating shadows with a light meter is fairly simple.

Step 1: Setting up the Light Meter

Before you can do anything else, you need to unpack the light meter and turn it on. It's also important to make sure that the light meter is set in the right mode for the conditions that you are recording in. This is normally accomplished by turning a dial on the meter. Whenever you film in different environments, you should adjust the mode to ensure the results are accurate.

If it's the first time that you're using the light meter, then you should read the instructions to find out how to use it.

Step 2: Measuring the Light Intensity

A good place to start is to measure the light intensity on the part of the picture that you want to create shadows with. To create shadows, you need to have a contrast between the brightness of different areas.

Step 3: Adding Extra Light

When you know where you want the shadows to be created and the current light conditions, you can then start either adding or removing light from the picture. You want to add lights so that they are at an angle to whatever it is you want to cast in shadow. This should be fairly easy in a studio, but if you are attempting to do this outdoors, then it will require much more powerful lights.

Step 4: Shadows Outdoors

Casting shadows outdoors is much more difficult because the sun will be brighter than almost all lights that you use indoors. In order to cast shadows, you will need a light which is capable of overpowering the sunlight and creating harsh shadows.

Step 5: Testing

Turn the lights on and see how everything looks. Start looking by eye to see if you can detect the shadows. Then, try filming a small segment of the scene to make sure that it looks okay once its recorded. With the scene recorded, play it back just to see whether or not the shadows look right.

Step 6: Measuring Light

Use your light meter again to measure the lights. Set it to average out the light intensities so that you can discover the ideal settings for your camera. Setting your video camera with these exposures and apertures will make it possible to record everything in high quality.

Creating shadows using a light meter is very easy, and with a bit of practice, it should become second nature.