As we’ve discussed in the previous posts, every camera will have a different dynamic range. Dynamic range, like everything related to exposure is measured in stops: 1 stop more means twice the amount of exposure, 1 stop less is half of it.
And it’s not only camera’s that have a given dynamic range. Displays, projectors or scanners have them, too. Knowing about that is important if you want to get the most out of your films. But knowing the limits of your camera is the most important of all. It is your primary tool and you must now it intimately: you have to know how it reproduces colours, skin tones, highlights, shadows, how it reacts to under- and overexposure. Part of that is testing your camera’s latitude.
You need to find out how many stops your camera can reproduce so that you’d know when a scene that you’re shooting is ‘safe’ (i.e. you do not have worry about clipping) and when is it so high-contrast that you will need to be very careful about how you expose your footage.