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Old August 2nd, 2003, 05:54 PM   #1
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Matte Box?

I'm going to have to start this post off with an apology for my ignorance, but being a child of the DV age, I never actually got a chance to work with film which is kind of a shame, because I really don't know what a matte box is. I've used gel sheets before when lighting, and as I can gather, it seems to be about the same thing. A box that goes in front of the lense that you place filters in to alter the look. But what is involved when buying a matte box for your DV camera? I have a GL2 and want to buy a matte box to put on there. I don't know what a good price is, what a bad price is, what sizes I should use? Can I use it with a wide angle adapter, or do I have to get a larger matte box for that? Man, just so confused! Can anyone help?

Thanks in advance.
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Old August 2nd, 2003, 07:06 PM   #2
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Well, there are two types of ways a matte box attaches to your camera, it clamps on to the lens, or it is mounted to the bottom via a set of rails. A clamp on might not work with a wide angle adapter, the rail type are more versitile, but more expensive.

You can get a hard style, which is just like a big lens hood, or a bellows style which accordion in or out to block more external light.
Yes, they are basically filter holders with lens hoods. However, they hold several filters at a time. The common DV sizes are 3"x3" or 4"x4". Bigger is more expensive, and for your camera 3x3 is fine. The other good thing about them is they let you rotate and move up/down the filters, which is important with grad type filters.

Prices start at $300 I think for the Lee style one and go up to the $2000 range. In my humble opinion Cavision ( www.cavision.com ) matte box is the best bang for the buck at around $600 for a 4x4 box set up on a rail system.
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Old August 2nd, 2003, 07:49 PM   #3
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Thanks very much, I appreciate it.
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Old August 2nd, 2003, 09:33 PM   #4
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Hi, I don't know much about matte boxes.. but I do have a Canon Xm2 (Gl2) and Iīve used some Cokin Filter Holders... and I can tell you this:

With the "A" series (their small ones) you are very likely to get vigneting or focusing problems when using the widest angle of the camera.

The "P" series (the bigger ones) are most suitable for the GL-2.. I tell you because I was misadviced once on this matter... I was told the "P" series was too big for my cam... and it wasnīt..

So as I tell you I am an ignorant about matte boxes.. but with the Gl-2 and itīs very wide lens..IF I were you.. I will double check the correct size of the matte Box and filters.. before spending the money on it..

You donīt want to have a part of the hood showing on you wide shots...

If in doubt go for the bigger one...

but then.. What do I know?
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Old August 5th, 2003, 09:58 AM   #5
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What is the advantage of using a matte/filter box for filter/color effects over applying a filter digitally in post. I have looked at matte boxes but can never get over the increased control I have over the output in my editig program. Are there any advantages in using real filters over digital ones?

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Old August 5th, 2003, 11:38 AM   #6
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I mainly use NDīs, softening, and polarizing filters and here is why I donīt do it in post...

1.- Rendering time. Yeah Iīve allways hated it.. I donīt have a powerfull PC..

2.- The NDīs allow me to play with exposure and fstop and DOF.. more than what the Camera by itself allows me to.. (and my Cam XM2 has a ND filter built in.. just not enough for me)... I canīt make DOF effects in post.. and bringing out detail of overxposed image is impossible on post..

3.- The optical effect that I get from the Softening filters, Iīve never been able to reproduce it in post... A softening filter in front of the lens affects the light that enters the cam.. Using blur or Softening effects in post afects the allready recorded image... I guess this point is just a mix between hating render time and being sure that I want the softening effect when I use it...


4.- Some other efects.. like īkilling reflection with a polarizer, canīt be done in post...

5.- Hate rendering time...

Of course this is jut personal taste.. and I donīt use filters unless Iīm completely sure I want that effect... mostly in Short Fiction or experimental...
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Old August 5th, 2003, 01:59 PM   #7
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and don't forget, the more you screw with an image in post...the more likely you are to lose image quality...if you can achieve the look in camera...you'll have a cleaner image AND no rendering time! =)
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