There's a great article in UK-based Black and White Photography, Christmas edition, pp54-55 by Mike Johnston about an older still procedure refered to as the ring-around. Might be worth checking out.
"Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti
Sorta, kinda, maybe.
Originally Posted by LoveMinusZero
Many testing methods lean toward "exposing for the shadows" to determine a personalized EI (adjusted ISO, recognizing that this is really a misuse of the term), with the associated concept of "developing for the highlights" - i.e. adjusting development to control the contrast range in the negative ("normal" contrast scenes get "normal" development, etc.). The problem, of course, is how one defines "shadow" - absent some predetermined control point - and what is "normal". Some sensitometry-based methods, for example, look for a certain increase in negative density above film base + fog (the density of the non-image areas of the developed film). Other methods take different approaches to accomplish similar goals.
My suggestion to beginners (particularly those who don't have a densitometer) is to pick a method that seems to make intuitive sense to them as an individual, and then work with it for a while. Over time, and with some experience under one's belt, other methods may become more attractive. That depends on how "scientific" one wants to be about the whole thing. Consistency in method, whatever it might be, is probably more important in the long run, however.
The other factor that plays into this is the dynamic range the particular type of film is capable of capturing, and what effect that has on how one approaches determining exposure (meter type and method). Slide films, for example, are more limited than negative films, and color varies from B&W. My suggestion is to pick whatever film type you work with most, and gain experience in using it.
[COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]
Rio Rancho, NM