The well-known cinematographer, Ryan E. Walter, shared his opinions for Color Meter in the Indie Cinema Academy Channel.

He thinks Color Meter can help people analyze and correct the film and television lighting, but the old Color meter is not suitable for the current new light sources. People should upgrade or choose a more suitable Color Meter for their jobs.


Are you using a color meter to check the color spectrum of your light?
Are you using it on your LEDs?

If so, your color meter is most likely giving you a bad information. In this video, I’m going to show you your color meter probably needs an upgrade.

If you’re not familiar with color meters, they are handy tools to make you not only match the color temperature of different light sources, but they help you shape the mood and look at your project through subtle changes of color. Unfortunately most color meters can’t be trusted with today’s LED technology. The root of the problems is that some of the assumptions many color meters make when sampling light.

Originally, color meters were made using three sensors, each responding to different wavelengths of light–Red, Green, and Blue. When digital cameras hit the markets, a fourth sensor was added, an additional Red sensor that sees the worlds more like the digital cameras do.

When these older color meters take a reading, the meters sample a specific Red, Blue, and Green wavelengths. It does some math, then figures out the color temperatures, or CCT of a light: how blue or orange it is.

Full spectrum
The fundamental flaw in this older meters is it they assume your light source is a full spectrum light. A full spectrum light or broad spectrum light is one that fills and completes visible spectrum of wavelengths, from Violet at about 380 nm to Red at about 780 nm.

but led
But LEDs and Fluorescent lights are not full spectrum.
And as we play it out with our LED tests, they are also all over the map when it comes to color temperature.

LEDs and Fluorescent lights actually have gaps and spikes meaning they are either lack or have too much of a certain wavelength of light.

poor color
This obviously affects how these light sources render color.

If a color meter doesn’t take into accounts these gaps and spikes, it can’t tell you how to properly correct for it.
Fortunately, you’re not stucked. There’s a solution.

the ideal solution
The ideal solution is to know how your cameras respond to every type of light. But if you’re like me, you don’t have time to test every camera with every LED out there.

So, a practical way to solve this is to upgrade your meter to something that reads the entire spectrum and doesn’t make the assumptions that meters of old make. Right now, there’re at least three great color meters and spectrometers that can do this.

The first is a Lighting Passport.

What’s great about this small device is it can quickly and easily attach to your smart phones, either an iOS or Android. It takes highly accurate color readings that are instantly shareable to anyone else, even if you don’t have a Lighting Passport meter of your own.

Another great feature of this meter is since the data is APP-based, developers are continuously adding to the readings this meter can give. It’s the only meter that I know of right now that can give me the CRI, extended CRI, TLCI, and CQS readings, as well as a myriad of other readings. Complete video content

Biography of Cinematographer Ryan E. Walters:

Born in 1980 in Seattle, Washington, Ryan has had a love and passion for the visual arts since a young child when his grandmother, an avid photographer, took him along on photo expeditions. As he grew up, his parents furthered that passion by enrolling him in various art programs and lessons. While he enjoyed painting and drawing, something was always missing – the ability to capture motion. Once introduced to the art of cinematography in high school he never looked back.

Since that time, Ryan has developed this passion and turned it into his career. As an award-winning cinematographer his work has allowed him the opportunity to travel worldwide in the pursuit of telling stories that are visually compelling. Ryan’s distinct experience includes feature films, documentaries, commercials, and shooting for Comcast, TLC, Oxygen, and the Discovery Channel.

Not only does Ryan seek to deliver cinematic images for his clients, but his commitment, organization, and professionalism means he constantly goes the extra mile to ensure that the results he delivers exceed his clients

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Indie Cinema Academy: Can You Trust Your Color Meter?
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