Leader test and measurement instruments have long been synonymous with high-end television and feature film production, ensuring that maximum possible quality is maintained from the initial point of capture. Recording it right first time ensures that projects don’t incur the potentially heavy additional costs associated with retakes and technical fixes in postproduction. 

One of the most widely appreciated tools in the Leader portfolio is CINEZONE which allows lighting and exposure settings to be controlled accurately during preshot alignment and in the live shoot itself. Familiar to many camera crews, editors and colorists, CINEZONE offers real-time pixel accuracy across the entire image. It allows quick and easy confirmation of luminance levels without need for time consuming waveform representations. 

CINEZONE is based on a simple and easily learnt concept: Levels over a preset or user adjustable maximum are displayed in white, highlights in red, mid-grays in green, shadows in blue, and levels under the adjustable minimum in black. Figure 1 shows the CINEZONE color-coded rendering of a standard monitor image. 

Figure 1

The CINEZONE display helps to confirm that the camera is delivering what the director is actually seeing, or at least expects. With a little practice, potentially as brief as a single short practice shoot, it becomes far more informative in terms of signal levels than the traditional viewfinder or monitor video display. This enables production creatives to determine the overall luminance distribution in the picture quickly and accurately. It also makes it easy to spot overexposure, underexposure, and varying luminance levels in ostensibly dark areas. 

CINEZONE augments the full range of troubleshooting functionality found in Leader test instruments. A single waveform monitor or rasterizer can support an entire program-production team as well as their racks-room colleagues. 

A recent major refinement to CINEZONE is the addition of features to replicate the false color display tools that were previously only visible on ARRI, RED and SONY cameras. This allows levels to be checked by production staff without interfering with the camera setup and operation. Figure 2 shows the User A settings for ARRI cameras.

Figure 2
Figure 3

Camera operators and their colleagues using ARRI LogC4 also have the ability to adjust the exposure index. This can be set manually (Figure 3) or to automatic (Figure 4). In the latter setting, the device will automatically read the payload ID from the camera. A custom setting can also be selected, allowing an operator or supervisor to define specific transition levels between the available false colors.  

Figure 4

CINEZONE is able to match the ARRI Alexa 35 in-camera false color tool accurately. Leader’s implementation of the ARRI LogC4 curve provides the option to check exposure in exactly the way that the cinematographer knows it from the in camera display. That level of precision greatly eases communication on location when measuring the 17 stops of dynamic range available on the Alexa 35 camera.  

CINEZONE has long been an option for many Leader test instruments and comes as a standard feature on all Leader ZEN Series test equipment, including the latest generation WebRTC-controllable LV5600W waveform monitor and LV7600W rasterizer. 

Figure 5 – LV5350

One of the most popular Leader test instruments among studio and camera crews as well as digital imaging technicians and editors is the LV5350 (Figure 5), a mains or battery powered 3U high half-rack-width short-depth waveform monitor which includes both CINEZONE and its companion toolset: CINELITE. All features are accessible from the front control panel, augmented in the LV5350 by a 1920 x 1080 resolution 7 inch touchscreen TFT LCD monitor. Optional focus detection allows the instrument to sense edges across a very wide range of image contrast levels. Additional options include 4K/UHD support, 12G-SDI interfaces, SDI-embedded audio analysis, SDI signal generation, CIE chroma chart, HDR measurement, customized display layout, tally display, extended chroma vector display and closed caption display. 

New capabilities of Leader’s established ZEN Series introduced at the April 2024 NAB Show included SDR Full Range display of black error, CIE, gamut error, histogram, level error, audio/video timing offset, noise level, test signals, vector and waveform. CINEZONE and CINELITE on these models also fully support SDR Full Range. Another recent addition to the ZEN Series is bidirectional HDR/SDR conversion which allows HDR content to be viewed in SDR and vice versa. Reference 3D color lookup tables can be imported via plug-in USB memory for activity such as camera shading and HDR supervision. Timecode continuity monitoring is also enhanced and new audio-related features include an audio mapping capability which simplifies the task of checking the level of IP audio streams. Among further refinements are support for multilingual closed captions in the CC608, CC708 and OP47 categories plus NMOS-based seamless high-speed switching of synchronized SMPTE ST 2110-20 IP video signals. 

Multiscreen monitoring  

Practically all Leader test instruments can be switched to multiscreen mode, either as a standard feature or an easily accessible option. This allows a CINEZONE display to be viewed alongside user-selectable measurements of parameters such as waveform, vectorscope or source video images. An entire production team can view the video output from a Leader waveform monitor or rasterizer, giving the ability to check issues quickly. This facility becomes particularly valuable when transmitting live to air or recording performances that cannot easily be re-run. 

Learn more about Leader’s CINEZONE display for ARRI, RED and SONY Cameras below