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Old August 19th, 2003, 11:52 AM   #1
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Diffusion and Filters - Benefit or Bane for DVX100?

There seems to be alot of conflict of opinion about use of Diffusion and low-contrast filters to cover up problems with DV artifacts.

There are users and article that swear by using Diffusion and/or low-contrast filters and those that swear by not using anything other than UV/Circular Polarizer/ND filters.

I expiremented with low-contrast filters when I first got my XL1 and was not satisfied with the results.

To my eye, diffusion and low-contrast filters reduce the resolution of the image, making wide angle shots too soft (already a problem for the DV format) and make post work, especially compositing or film work much more difficult.

I find that shooting and using lighting to control exposure to avoid crush black and blown-out white without filters give a cleaner image that handles post better.

Plus any look or effect can be created in post pretty easily these days. Finally, it gives your more flexibility to output VHS, DVD, film blow-up if you start with the cleanest possible image.

Finally, the DVX100 has controls in camera to deal with some of these situations plus scene file settings, so I think filters are less attractive for the DVX100 than other DV Cams, especially if you post workflow allows for it.

What's the pro-filter group response?
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Old August 19th, 2003, 12:38 PM   #2
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Hi Stephen. Am on hold to Panasonic as you suggested, so thought I'd respond...

I'm not particularly sold on filters, apart from using ND and polarizers outdoors, but the article I mentioned, called "The Curse of DV Revisted," had this to say, which I found intriguing:

"This brings me to my most enthusiastic recommendation: Ira Tiffen's little-known tour de force, the Gold Diffusion/FX. This filter in the 1/2 grade is the perfect complement to the new Panasonic camera, adding a nicely modeled, three-dimensional finish to interior scenes. Flesh tones in particular assume a special vibrancy that easily mimics the highest-end camera and format. If somehow we manage to fully break the DV Curse, ingenious filters like the Gold Diffusion/FX will undoubtedly be the reason why."

For my doc which I start shooting at the end of next month, I will be interviewing initially two "little old ladies." I don't want to go all soft with diffuision (eg Liz Taylor perfume ads, or the heavily filtered look these days on Barbara Walter's specials), but older women in particular get very senstive to how they look on video. That was my thinking anyway in going with the above filter. I agree with what you say however (being a former editor) about as clean an image as possible to work with in post. And since this will be going out to film in the end for the festival cirucuit, you do give me pause about using it. I've reset one of my scene files to match the recommendtions offered by DV Filmaker, for getting the best film transfer (definitely takes out some of the richness of the default 24p Advanced scene file, but in truth, it does make it more representative of oranges and reds in particularly).

So much to learn, and so many mistakes along the way...
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Old August 19th, 2003, 12:53 PM   #3
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I'd be interested to see clips from you both with and without that Gold Diffusion FX. I have not tried it, so if it's adds that "special vibrancy", it would be interesting to see.
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Old August 19th, 2003, 05:56 PM   #4
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Stephen, I've never tried to post clips. If you tell me how to do it, I'll be happy to give it a try. Would I, for ex., export for FCP 4 as a short Quicktime movie? If so, what settings so it doesn't take forever to upload and view? And where do I put it/send it if I don't have a web site yet? (Need to make one for my doc, I know... just haven't gotten around to it. Too busy playing with camera and lighting equipment.)
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Old August 19th, 2003, 06:02 PM   #5
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Yeah, FCP will have settings for various web resolutions. Per Hosting, Chris Hurd (who runs this site) will host them for you. Just email him.
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Old August 27th, 2003, 02:21 AM   #6
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I'm interested in the 1/2 Gold Diffusion FX for indoor use. Have the clips been posted somewhere for viewing?
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Old August 27th, 2003, 03:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
I'm interested in the 1/2 Gold Diffusion FX for indoor use....
For best results with this filter, you'll need good lighting. A pricey filter, I might add---also, I don't think it's available in the 43mm size thread size unless you place a special order with Tiffen.
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Old August 27th, 2003, 03:58 AM   #8
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You're right, Frank, I've only seen the 1/2 listed at 52mm and up. But I'm interested in it precisely because of the reason Marcia was: shooting some elderly folks (women, to be precise), who would love to be remembered in a more gentle fashion.
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Old August 27th, 2003, 04:37 AM   #9
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How about a Cokin Softwarm or Warm 81B (screw-on)? You can order them from that French link I got plastered all over my website. They cost about $20 each.
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Old August 27th, 2003, 04:58 AM   #10
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How about a new thread re filter suggestions for the GS100 so we get off this thread before we get kicked off? Will check out the Cokin.
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Old August 27th, 2003, 05:28 AM   #11
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Sounds like a good idea. Patricia, Tiffen makes some interesting filters, that's for sure. But most "professional" filters start at the 49mm thread size (and up). This includes "pro" filters from Heliopan and B+W. Some of Cokin's specialty filters are very good, and inexpensive, but they have to be ordered from France. Here in North America, Cokin only bring in their UVs, polarizers, etc, and their adaptor filters. Most Cokins are not made from glass, though, like the more expensive specialty filters from Tiffen. Hoya is another good filter company, which make a wide variety of filters as well as different lines. Again, these can be difficult to find other than their low end lines.
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Old August 27th, 2003, 12:42 PM   #12
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B&H has a lot of filters. I used to buy mine from 2filter.com until I checked some of the prices I was paying. Unfortunately the big size required for the dvx means big prices... I put a 72-77mm step on mine because that was the largest size collapseable hood I could find to replace the boxy thingy.

B+W multi-coated cir-pol in 72mm size is $119.95
In UN-coated it's $99.50

By the way, I've found the mrc polarizer to be a bee-otch to get perfectly clean... even with the lens tissues and mrc fluid... it seems like just as you're about to get the last few spots off a new bunch crops up... it's a frustrating little job really.

Multi-coated UV (lens protector) is around $54.95 (B+W)...
In UN-coated it's $40.50

The gold diffusion/fx in 1/2 grade is $72.15

I have a black diffusion fx 1/2 and I liked it on my cheaper Sony, but only some of the time... to be honest I couldn't decide exactly what it was doing for me... I just noticed that the picture looked a little less like video and a little more like film... but you had to be at tele or else disable autofocus 'cause the cam would want to lock on the black dots... It's only a 58mm so I can't report on it for the Panny. I've been so happy with the Panny's film-look that I haven't yearned for any filters other then the polarizer and the protection glass that I just leave on it... aka UV filter.

I will say that the Tiffen isn't simply a soft diffusion filter however. If you look at one up close you'll see the black (or gold) pattern and then beneath that you can see a "structured pattern of elbow macaroni"... the little wiggly shapes are clear but they're visible when you hold the filter at an angle... so who know's exactly how this filter plays with the image, but at least you can tell yourself that there's some strange engineering involved which helps justify the price... which frankly I don't think is really all that high anyway.
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