Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Dougherty View Post
I think the confusion lies in the definition of "blocking". Highlights which do not fit onto the paper in a straight print are not blocked. Most modern films can handle a long scale scene quite well (a much longer scale than paper), they simply need burning in at the printing stage, as Thomas writes. Highlights become blocked when the exposure and development is so extreme that the highlight areas begin to loose contrast / separation / detail in the negative itself.
Exactly.

Compensation though purposefully compresses the highlights (in essence partially blocking them up by forcing the film to shoulder early). Compensation is used as a compromise so that burning can be avoided.

Both methods are workable but better contrast in the highlights is generally available with burning because there is better separation of tones on the negative.