SmallHD's El Zone System: How it works and how to take advantage of the tool

Posted by Matt Wafer on 5th Sep 2023

SmallHD's El Zone System: How it works and how to take advantage of the tool

The SmallHD EL Zone System is an exposure tool that is available on monitors, which are running the latest PageOS 5 operating system. The tool uses a false-colour overlay to represent steps above and below 18% grey in stops rather than *IRE percentages.

* IRE stands for Institute of Radio Engineers, and it is a unit of measurement for video signals. It is a percentage of the maximum signal level, with 0 IRE being black and 100 IRE being white

The EL Zone System is similar to other false-colour exposure tools, but it offers several advantages. First, it uses stops, which are a more precise unit of measurement than IRE percentages. Second, it is calibrated to the specific camera that is being used, so the readings are more accurate. Third, it can be used with both log and linear signals, which makes it more versatile.

To use the EL Zone System, simply select it from the Exposure Assist menu on your SmallHD monitor. The screen will then be overlaid with a false-colour map, with each stop represented by a different colour. The 18% grey point is represented by gray, and the darkest and lightest areas of the image are represented by black -6 stops (under exposed) and white +6 stops (over exposed).

The EL Zone System can be used to quickly and accurately assess the exposure of your image. By looking at the false-colour map, you can see how many stops above or below 18% grey each area of the image is. This information can be used to make adjustments to your exposure settings until you achieve the desired look.

The EL Zone System is a valuable tool for cinematographers who want to achieve precise exposure in their images. It is easy to use and provides accurate readings, making it a valuable addition to any filmmaker's toolkit.

Some benefits of using the EL Zone System include:

  • It can help you to avoid clipping, which is when the highlights or shadows of an image are overexposed and lose detail.
  • It can help you to create a more consistent look across your shots.
  • It can help you to communicate your exposure intentions to other members of the crew.

If you are looking for a precise and versatile exposure tool whilst using SmallHD monitors the EL Zone System is a great option to consider.