ATMF Accessory Tape Measure - For Lightstand To Subject Verification
The name says it all, except that there is a Sharpie™ marker included if you want to make permanent notes on this flat and writable tape measure that also works with a pencil for temporary notes.
If you measure the light output at a given distance before your client is in front of you, then later when you are really shooting, it's easy to always get the exact right exposure without a lot of light-meter readings and extra flashes at your subject.
The ATMF is an AMERICAN MADE tape measure of a soft writable material so that you can make notes directly on it about the exact distance from the lightstand to the subject. You can write with pencil and erase it again or make permanent notations with the Sharpie™ that we provide for you. (Many people have had good success with mostly removing the notes from permanent markers with rubbing alcohol?)
The tape measure even has a built-in pencil sharpener on the corner.
Like many good ideas, the ATMF is a continuation of the ideas taught back in the old “film days” when you did not want to make a mistake with your exposure since you would not see the images till much later. It was simple to pre-measure a string that was the right length to always get the right f-stop. Many photographers used a string with a few knots tied in it to represent the different normal ways they would set up the light and remind them of the right exposure without any fussing around with light meter tests and adjustments.
Even in the days of monkey-see photography, many of us still want to be set up “right” the first time and not have to make a lot of adjustments in front of our clients. Measure the correct distance to the subject once and it will always be perfect with that power setting and that light modifier. Other power settings on the Pack step up or down by an f-stop so that’s easy to adapt on the fly.
Now, with this 16 foot tape measure, you can confirm your settings for your favorite light modifier and then make notes on the top and/or bottom of the ribbon to remind yourself later on location and you know it will be right.
So then, when you are live on location, have your subject hold the end of the tape measure and back up your lightstand extending the tape measure until you reach the note for the exposure you are looking for and it will again be perfect. They can just let go and it will automatically retract into the housing again.
Keeping that spring loaded action in mind, kids seem to love watching the tape ribbon retract back into the housing and that might make it easier to get them to “look towards the light”… Any tool that helps, preferably simple and not too expensive, is a good tool to have.