metering for theater lighting : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Does anyone have experience metering for a stage play where various colored house lights are in use? Is it possible to take a photograph under these conditions and come out with a good negative of the true colors of the set and costumes? Thanks, David

-- david clark (, November 05, 2001


Use a tungsten balanced film: Ektachrome 320T is my standard for photographing stage productions (Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Dance Coalition) various touring concert performances). It is a little grainy but the color is accurate and it pushes well. Unfortunately it only comes in 35mm (maybe medium format but I've never seen it.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, November 05, 2001.


It is possible to get good results but you are at the mercy of the lighting designer. I'm not sure what you mean by 'true colors.' I've been happy with my results but wouldn't try to shoot a clothing catalogue under such conditions. I generally take a spot meter reading from the face of the performer and open up 1.5 stops. I normally find 800 speed film to be about right with fast lenses.

Since you asked in this forum, I'm curious if you are planning on doing this with large format gear. I think it would be very difficult to photograph moving people in such low light and changing lighting conditions with a LF camera.

Mark Meyer

-- Mark Meyer (, November 05, 2001.

Fuji NPL works well uder these conditions. It handles the long exposure with minimal reciprocity failure, deals well with the odd light sources due to it's tungsten balance and extra emulsion layer, and can be color balanced in the printing stage as required.

-- David Rose (, November 05, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ