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The Sekonic C800 is a feature rich, full spectrum colour and illuminance meter. Its purpose is really to help you better understand the spectral characteristics of different light sources. You can use this information to adjust light sources to avoid unwanted colour casts and improve the overall colour rendering of a scene.
Light sources from different manufacturers (and even from the same manufacturer, and the same product family) have varied spectrum profiles. What this means is that our eyes and cameras often see the differences in these lights. These differences appear as colour casts. Sometimes this is desirable for creative effects, but it's often unwanted - particularly when trying to light a scene as neutrally as possible.
A familiar example is attempting to light a scene in a way that matches the artificial ambient light in a building. Fluorescent or commercial LED lighting varies greatly from building to building. These light sources can often appear obviously green when mixed with lighting designed for photography.
Through its various functions, the Sekonic C800 can analyse these artificial sources and tell you how to set your lighting and camera to match the ambient source(s). This can eliminate the pain in post production of attempting to remove the localised colour casts and helps you achieve more natural skin tones and realistic colour.
The Sekonic C800 can rate light sources according to the latest and most widely recognised industry standards: CRI, TLCI, TLMF, and TM-30-15 - but you don't need to understand all of these to use the meter. A quick reading is often all you need to understand the performance of a light.
There are many uses for the Sekonic C800, but some highlights for the world of still and motion photography are the features that let you quickly gel or adjust light sources so that they match a desired colour temperature. For instance, if you are working to a target of 5600K, you can test each light fixture to see how closely it meets that target.
The C800 will tell you what corrections needs to be made to bring that light fixture up to spec. Traditionally this might mean applying gel filters to the light, but increasingly these days it means dialling in a +/- green adjustment or selecting an adjustment from a digital gel library (in the case of Arri SkyPanel lights, for instance).
Speaking of the Arri SkyPanels, the C800 is a great complement to them as these light fixtures allow you to specify an exact chromaticity coordinate in a CIE colour space. This is incredibly useful for the previously mentioned scenario of matching the colour of light sources you have no control over (natural light, artificial ambient lights, etc). The Sekonic C800 will measure the chromaticity coordinate for a light source and you can then just dial it in on the SkyPanels to make them match.
The videos below cover many of the features of the Sekonic C800 and there is also more information about the previously mentioned industry standards like CRI, TLCI, TLMF and TM-30-15.
An overview of the Sekonic C800 colour meter.
Learn more about the different measurement standards.
Getting started with the Sekonic C800.
Cinema5D review and overview of the Sekonic C800
Another practical example of matching lights with the C800.
The following items are included when you hire the Sekonic C-800 Spectromaster: