Incident vs. reflective: Cinematographer Mark Vargo explains the difference between light meters, and when to use each (VIDEO)


posted Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 2:41 PM EST

Mark Vargo is a successful feature film cinematographer with more than 30 years of Hollywood experience under his belt, and he's now set his sights on sharing some of his knowledge with the rest of us. Vargo, who has worked on films such as Poseidon, The Patriot, The Green Mile and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, has started a new series of educational videos, with his first entry focusing on how to properly use light meters.

While the video is pretty clearly aimed more at cinematographers than photographers, many of the lessons it includes are equally applicable. Vargo lays out the functional differences between incident and reflective light meters, and explains the situations where one functions significantly better than the other. While an incident light meter may serve you best when shooting a portrait under bright lights -- and that it may meter more accurately for very light or very dark subjects -- Vargo advises that reflective light meters are extremely useful for overcast days and distant subjects.

This is the first of Vargo's instructional videos, but hopefully we'll see him continue down this route, and keep using his years of experience to create interesting and informative lessons such as this one.


[via Reddit]