The next time you're caught without a light meter, use this trick that pro DPs use.
There are two things that indie filmmakers don't have much off: money and time. This great trick from Sareesh Sudhakaran of wolfcrow addresses a little bit of both. If you're unable to afford a light meter or just don't have time to line up a grey chart, your hands make a fantastic replacement. Check out the video below to learn three different ways you can use your mitts to measure exposure, as well as get better readings of skin tones.
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuJtzA4OUR0
Okay no, your hands don't have a magical ability to measure light, of which somehow you were completely unaware. You will have to utilize a couple of other tools to get this trick to work properly, including a waveform monitor and a grey chart. For example, if you want to achieve an accurate exposure using your palm as a light meter, you'll need to calibrate it with a grey chart before you do.
Ideally you'd always have a light meter with you to expose your shot, but if you're stuck without one or can't afford one, this is a really handy trick. (I literally wrote that without being aware of the pun, so it stays.)
To learn more about the process, head on over to Sudhakaran's blog post.