See three views of Ed Lachman, ASC above.
See Ed in Rec.709. Go Ed, go.
See Ed in Panasonic VariCam V-Log. 18% gray card, 18%.
See Ed’s EL Zone map the scene’s exposure. 15 Stops in 15 colors. Bravo, Ed. Bravo.
EL Zone is as fun and easy to use as your first reading book with Dick and Jane, and of course Spot. Run, Spot, run.
Ed Lachman, ASC has come up with an incredibly intuitive, innovative and essential exposure tool. It’s called EL Zone System, or just EL Zone.
Think of it as a spotmeter in your viewfinder or monitor. Toggle it on or off. Each stop of exposure is represented by a color. White shows areas of the scene that are over-exposed by 6 or more stops. 18% gray is normal-neutral. Black is under-exposed by 6 or more stops. You can correlate the rest of the stops and their corresponding colors by remembering the acronym in a rainbow: ROY G BIV. (Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet). Or, print out the strip above and tape it to your monitor or EVF.
EL Zone is now available on Panasonic VariCam LT and 35 via firmware updates. On the VariCam LT above, User Button 1 was assigned to toggle between clean view and EL Zone overlay. You can assign EL Zone to the EVF and a monitor via the camera’s SDI-2 output (VF-SDI). EL Zone is supported in V-LOG, V-709, V-Look1 and V-Look2.
Ed explains, “I found false color and waveform monitors much too general. They are based on IRE values, which track percentages in voltage, aren’t consistent with Stop Values on lenses or light meters, and are not the same from one manufacturer to another.
“So, I devised a system based on 18% gray, a universal standard for photography. Your camera can be your lightmeter. Or use an external lightmeter. They will be consistent with each other. You can also use an EL Zone framegrab of a scene to precisely match exposure and lighting at a later date for pickup shots or dreaded reshoots.”
For example, let’s say you come back 2 months later because the director wants an additional wide shot. The medium shot here was lit by Tinx Chan with a single-source open-face 2K through an 8×8 unbleached muslin. With EL Zone, when you return, you can be sure to match Ed’s monitor to be +3 stops over; Ed’s face to be +1 and +1/2 stop over toward the light and -2 on the shadow side.
Barry Russo worked with Ed to bring EL Zone to Panasonic VariCam cameras. Additional team members who made this possible include Takahiro Mitsui in Panasonic Planning and Ryohei Yamato in Panasonic Engineering.
Ed continued, “I would like the thank Imago and its technical committee for their support and encouragement that all manufacturers embrace this technology to become a standard in the industry.”
This ingenious in-camera spotmeter exposure system is a welcome and valuable innovation for cinematographers and photographers everywhere.
A Room with a View and EL Zone.
Testing EL Zone at FDTimes.