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Old August 2nd, 2004, 08:37 PM   #1
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should I buy a matte box?

Before I ask my question, I'd like to say that I'm really excited I found this place, and hope to meet some friendly & helpful people. My name is Jody, and I've become bitten by the Mini-DV bug! My wife & I bought a Canon XL1S last summer, with the primary use being to film deer hunts. With that said, I'm curious if a matte box would help with my overall quality in lighting? If I buy a Chroziel for it, will a portion of the box be visible in the recorded product?? (I don't want that to happen)

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give!!
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 08:43 PM   #2
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Welcome Jody! I am sure you will ove DVInfo as much as I have.

To your question...while I do not have a Chroziel, based on all the positive reviews I have seen here I am confident you will not see any of it in your shot.

As to overall effect on shot/lighting quality, I will let someone else speak to that. My understanding is it serves three primary purposes:

1. To shade the lens from light, thereby preventing lens flare.

2. To hold filters (main benefit)

3. To make your XL1 rig look cool :D
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Old August 6th, 2004, 11:56 AM   #3
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a new alternative is the Formatt matte box, it can be had for $300 or so from places like b&h

it holds 2 4x4 filters, one fixed and one rotate-able

matthew
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Old August 10th, 2004, 01:09 PM   #4
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The matte box adds weight to a camera already nose-heavy. What filters are you using that would require a matte box? If you only are using one, then you probably don't need one. If you use two or more regularly, then you may get some vignetting on the corners of your frame when zoomed out all the way to your widest angle; and in that case a matte box would be nice.
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Old August 16th, 2004, 12:25 AM   #5
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I haven't bought mine yet but it's up there on my list of things to get for my PDX10 - check this site:

http://cinetactics.com/

Looks light weight, looks like it would make a great sun shade and it's the least expensive but still good looking and seemingly versatile.

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Old August 16th, 2004, 12:38 AM   #6
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Hey Jody
It won't really help your quality at all, except for helping reduce lens flares. Of course, a $2 roll of gaffer tape and tin foil can help reduce lens flare too. If you plan on using multiple filters, then it would be useful. Most people don't really need them.
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Old August 16th, 2004, 05:28 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dylan Couper : a $2 roll of gaffer tape -->>>

Whoa! Wait. Where can you get gaffer's tape at 2 bucks a roll?
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 09:17 PM   #8
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Easy, buy painters tape and write "Gaffer's Tape" on it....

:)


Ok, that price was a little low, you get the point though.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 11:52 PM   #9
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Eh, spending hundreds of dollars on simple little gadgets made of plastic just isnt my thing. Just doesnt seem worth the money to me. Materials probably cost these companies about $2.00 to make.
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Old August 24th, 2004, 12:29 AM   #10
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The cost of the material is minor compared to the machining costs.

Worth is relative. If you can afford a $80,000 camera, $800 for a matte box is chump change. And there are always tricks around it. I know one DP who just tapes a 4x4 filter to the stock lens hood. Sunshades can really be anything that blocks sunlight, see my tape and tinfoil example above.
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Old August 24th, 2004, 09:26 AM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dylan Couper : The cost of the material is minor compared to the machining costs.

Worth is relative. If you can afford a $80,000 camera, $800 for a matte box is chump change. And there are always tricks around it. I know one DP who just tapes a 4x4 filter to the stock lens hood. Sunshades can really be anything that blocks sunlight, see my tape and tinfoil example above. -->>>


No I'm talking about the ones made for mini dv cameras. I believe the century matte box is around $800 correct? Thats just WAY too much money. And machining costs are nothing. If you had the coordinates, you could find a machine shop to make you the same thing for a few bucks plus material cost, which isnt much at all. Thats one of the bad things about the video business, too many companies out there charge outrageous amounts of money for something so cheap, just because they can, and they know that other people dont have access to these machine shops. And being that Century is a fairly decent sized company, they should have their own machines anyway, and deffinately shoult not put the machining charges on the customer. They chould charge about $100 for their matte box and still make a large profit off of it. I'm sorry, but $800 dollars for a piece of plastic with two little metal rods hooked to it is just price gouging, period. Cardboard and duct tape will get the job done.
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Old August 24th, 2004, 09:41 AM   #12
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I learned years ago in the dinner ware business that retail cost has very little to do with production costs. If a given item costs $10 to make but the percieved value in the market place is $150, then that is what it will sell for.

Conversely, if it costs $50 to produce and the percieved market value is only $25, then it won't go to market, no matter how nice it is and how much you explain what goes into its production. We often times had to scrap some very nice designs because we could not make a profit above the production costs due to the percieved market value.

I too, am shocked at what can be charged for aftermarket accessories for video and am in the process of designing and building my own matte box.

I'll post pictures and design instructions when it's finished.
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Old August 24th, 2004, 01:29 PM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dave Perry : I learned years ago in the dinner ware business that retail cost has very little to do with production costs. If a given item costs $10 to make but the percieved value in the market place is $150, then that is what it will sell for.

Conversely, if it costs $50 to produce and the percieved market value is only $25, then it won't go to market, no matter how nice it is and how much you explain what goes into its production. We often times had to scrap some very nice designs because we could not make a profit above the production costs due to the percieved market value.

I too, am shocked at what can be charged for aftermarket accessories for video and am in the process of designing and building my own matte box.

I'll post pictures and design instructions when it's finished. -->>>


I'm excited to see it Dave. What kind of materials are you using?
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Old August 24th, 2004, 04:36 PM   #14
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Gents, some form or another of this discussion has gone on this forum and others for a few years. Many are convinced that things like matteboxes and follow-focuses cost next to nothing to build and market, that the companies that do make and sell them for apparently princely prices are making their owners rich and it would be very easy to go into business and undercut them and everyone would buy them. And yet, it really hasn't happened yet.

Why is this? Perhaps those upstarts that have gone into business for themselves discover along the way that the cost of doing business takes so many hours and resources that they hadn't anticipated that they end up having to charge more for their products than they originally thought. Perhaps they just get greedy. Or perhaps it's just a lot easier to complain than it is to do something about it.

Obviously the homebuilt DV market is alive and well. Some nice one-offs of various components are being made out there. However, it all depends on your needs. A cardboard and tape mattebox will keep the stray light out, and you would be amazed to visit a Hollywood set and see that sometimes it is exactly that which is used under certain circumstances. But when you bang it into a corner, it breaks and then you have to make another one. And if you need to mount filters into it, then it becomes more than just a sunshade and requires machining. And if you want to be able to use grads, the trays need to slide; and if you want to use a pola, they need to rotate or accomodate a round filter that rotates. What if you just want to make your camera look cool, which is the apparent goal of many DV filmmakers? Then you want something nicer than cardboard, but it doesn't have to accomodate filters.
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