I’m up way too early on a Saturday morning, and I haven’t had coffee yet. Still…
Frame speed: For theatrical releases, film runs at 24 frames per second (fps). Video in the U.S. is 30 fps, and in Europe it’s 25 fps. European films shot on film for release on video are shot at 25 fps to match the video frame speed. 35 and 16mm film run at the industry standard. Super-8 runs at 18 or 24 fps. Regular 8mm ran at 16 or 18 fps.
Film speed: When shooting 16mm, I normally use colour Fuji 125 tungsten balanced film or Kodak Tri-X or Plus-X at asa 160/200 and 40/50, respectively. The speeds are the same as for still stock.
Exposure: The aperture is controlled in the same way as with a still camera. Zoom lenses use T-stops instead of f-stops to take the extra optics into account. Many cameras have fixed shutters of a given angle, while others have variable shutters. Light can be controlled by opening or closing the shutter. This can also make for some interesting effects. For example, in Three Kings they used a rather narrow shutter angle to give some of the shots a strobe-like quality.
As has been mentioned, lighting is more controlled on a film set than in many still studios. Or perhaps I should say that it’s controlled differently to create a different effect. In addition to adding or subtracting lights and reflectors, filters can also be used. Sometimes they have to be used. For example, if I want to use tungsten-balanced film outside, I need to use a #85 orange filter. This reduces the amount of light reaching the film by 2/3 stop. On an especially bright day/set, you can use neutral density filters to reduce the light hitting the film.
Unlike a still camera, a movie camera’s shutter speed is fixed (except for special circumstances). While still photographers are used to setting the aperture for depth of field and adjusting the shutter speed for exposure, or setting the shutter speed for, say, a fast-moving subject and adjusting the aperture for light, a cinematographer has to use the aperture only and control light external to the camera. That is, he can open or close the aperture, add or subtract light, add or remove a filter, and that’s about it. Changing the frame speed changes the speed of the action – which you may or may not want to do.
Meters: I use a Minolta Auto IV that displays the F-/T-stop directly. Very handy little gadget, and much easier to use than my old Sekonic.