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Zone System in cinematography


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#1 william koon

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 12:32 AM

Please explain what is 'zone system in cinematography'? Thanks
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 12:54 AM

It's a very watered-down version of the Zone System in still photography.

See:
http://en.wikipedia....iki/Zone_system
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#3 Jimmy Browning

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 01:15 AM

Please explain what is 'zone system in cinematography'? Thanks


The Zone System in cinematography is roughly the same as it is in still photography, with some obvious adjustments. It was created by Ansel Adams and one of his collegues as a method for previsualizing the different tonalities that would end up in the final print of the photo. It involves methods for exposure as well as development techniques.

The development techniques had large format sheet film in mind, where you could individually adjust the development time for individual shots. That's obviously not as simple an option with roll film, and of course with motion picture film. So for cinematography, the Zone System has more application in expsoure.

I'm personally a huge fan of it. It's what taught me about exposure, lattitude, and paying attention to detail. I use the principles I learned from it to this day. In the end, it's really just a tool to help you more easily grasp the concepts of exposure and how to control it. Along with a good knowledge of lighting, it's a huge help.

If you want to learn more about it, I'd recommend reading "The Negative" by Ansel Adams, where he fully explains it.

Jimmy Browning
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#4 Nick Mulder

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 03:12 AM

was thinking with the arrival of my new spot meter i could hack myself a kind of Zone system in 16mm...

Shooting static shots - at least shots with steady contrast ratios - with a 400' mag Bolex > at the end of each shot/scene open the door and make a registration punch hole in the stock (the 400' mag has a light trap of its own) - when loading my devleping tank (did I mention it involves home-developing and B&W film ? :lol: ) I can select the bits of film I want from my meticulous hole-puching and note taking of metering and wotnot and then develop with the ability to push/pull and otherwise affect gamma/range etc ...
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#5 Hal Smith

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 08:26 AM

At one point in his life my dad was a professional photographer and owned a photo store . He was well versed in the Zone System. He used it to not only judge the contrast range when shooting photos, but also when working in the darkroom, to inform himself how much to "dodge" various areas of a given print. He could take a negative that was a bit plain looking and produce a breath-taking print from it.
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Glidecam

Aerial Filmworks

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FJS International, LLC