Tech Tip: Quad Zone Triggering
One of the key features of the PocketWizard Plus® III is “Quad-Zone Triggering.” This feature traces its roots back to the MultiMAX® where it has proven itself to be a game changer for many professional photographers. With the feature now found in the more affordable Plus III, more photographers have this capability within their reach. So what does it do?
Quad-Zone Triggering allows photographers to assign lights or cameras to one of four zones; A-B-C or D and then they can turn a zone on or off with the simple push of a button on the transmitting radio. This could be used to turn a single light on or off, or a group of lights on or off (you can have as many lights or cameras per zone as you want). It can also be used to turn a remote camera, or group of cameras, on or off. We’ll take a look at each scenario.
Building your Lighting
You’re in a studio situation taking portraits. You’re using five different lights; one is the key, one is a fill, two are for the background, and one is for highlights. You want to be able to see the impact of each light and make sure you have the proper power setting. Without Quad-Zone Triggering, this would be a very challenging task unless you had a group of assistants to turn the various lights on and off. With Quad-Zone Triggering you simply select the light you want to turn on/off from the transmitting radio and take a shot. Each light or group of lights (in this case the two background lights) is assigned a zone, either A-B-C or D. Turning on one zone at a time allows you to see just the light from that zone making it far easier to make adjustments.
Multiple Lighting Setup
You’re shooting a wedding reception and you want to offer a variety of images and a few different looks to the couple. Prior to the reception you’ve set-up several lights around the room with Plus III’s as the receiver and assigned a zone to each light and/or a zone to groups of lights. Using Quad-Zone Triggering, you can turn the light(s) from each zone on or off at-will right from your camera to change the lighting on the fly and create different images from the same scene.
You’re shooting a soccer game (football to our global friends) and you want to position a remote camera behind the goals. You set a remote camera up behind each goal with a Plus III as the receiver and then connect the radios to the camera with a remote-trigger cable. The receiving radios are set to A and B on the Plus III. When the action moves in front of one of the goals, just select the appropriate zone on the transmitting Plus III on the camera you’re holding and keep shooting. Now both cameras will be firing. You can also trigger your remote cameras with a handheld Plus III. This same concept can be applied to any sport.
Remote cameras can be used in many situations, including weddings. For example, you want to set-up a couple remote cameras around the ceremony to get additional angles. You can use as many cameras as you want so you could have one set to get close-ups of the couple using a zoom lens from the back of the room or the balcony, another camera with a wide angle lens up close to get another perspective and a third with a wide angle getting the whole room into view all in addition to the camera you’re holding. Set each remote camera to a different zone and fire as needed.
Quad-Zone Triggering is put to work in this video by wedding photographer Melody Hood. As Melody points out, this is a form of zone control although it is a little different than what our AC3 ZoneController allows you do to.
In the above video, our friend Melody Hood talks about the PocketWizard “zone controller” in describing the Plus III. PocketWizard actually makes the AC3 ZoneController for the ControlTL System, which might be confused for this, but we know what she means!
Quad-Zone Triggering is a great tool to allow you do get more done when you have limited assistance or second shooters and in today’s world that is something you can take to the bank.