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Old November 16th, 2004, 02:50 AM   #1
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Lens Filters towards a film look

I am using currently a DVCAM DSR-390 and might be using a Digital Betacam too for an upcoming shooting... I just want to know what filters can you suggest for me to give me an end result with film look quality whether we are going to play it on TV or in the cinemas. Which filters should I obtain and from where??
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Old November 16th, 2004, 06:03 AM   #2
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Why do you think filters will give what you are looking for? There
is not easy solution to making video appear more towards film.
It has a lot to do with your story, the acting, the way the set is
lit, how it is edited, the quality of your sound and the final audio
mix, framing, camera motion etc.

It also has a lot to do with framerate (ie 24 versus 30 fps) and
that it is progressive instead of interlaced.

A lot can be done to help you achieve your end goal, but filters
(if at all needed) are only a very small link in the chain. The most
often used filters are probably (besides the clear "UV" filter) the
ND (to cut light), grad ND (to cut light in the sky), circular polarizer
(to remove unwanted reflections and hotspots on metal surfaces
and water) and things like promists (to soften the image).

Then there is usually a lengthy color correction phase in post to
adjust colors, balance them out and increase saturation and
compress the blacks and highlights.
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Old November 16th, 2004, 09:54 AM   #3
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you might want to consider getting an ultra contrast filter as well. It will help you get the most dynamic range out of your camera.
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Old November 20th, 2004, 11:12 PM   #4
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24p or 30p, I can't imagine doing the film-look thing without my Black ProMists. They soften things up quite nicely, especially skin tones.
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Old November 21st, 2004, 12:38 AM   #5
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A single filter is not going to make your video look like film. Filters are fairly unimportant... but if you really must get a filter, then the two you should look at are:

A- Polarizer. When shooting outdoors, a polarizer can be rotated to bring down the brightness of a sky and make it a deep blue gradient. The blue gradient in the sky is generally more aesthetically pleasing than a big white blob.

Polarizers can also be rotated to cut down on reflections- you can use it to see through water or glass.

It will also act like a neutral density filter and cut off a few stops of light. ND filters allow you to open up the f-stop/iris to gain shallower depth of field (which may or may not be desireable). Or, they'll let you get rid of having to use an awful shutter speed (i.e. anything other than 1/60 if shooting 60i).

B- Softening filters like the promists will give a softer picture.

In the same vein, you should also turn off any excessive sharpening on your camera.

C- ND filters may be useful. Your camera may have on built-in. ND filters will be useful if you don't want/like the effect a polarizer gives.

Where to get filters: I can tell you it pays to shop around- filters cost less than a few dollars to make and sell for a lot more since it's an item camera stores make their profit on. You can try this site's sponsors, like B&H.

A DIY route can save money, but a hacked together DIY solution will not impress clients. For example, buy a sheet of polarizing film- this gives you a polarizer. You'd then have to figure out how to mount the polarizer, preferably with a possibility for adjusting its orientation. There's instructions around the internet.
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Old November 23rd, 2004, 07:27 PM   #6
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Nothing will make your video look like film. Different approaches can only make it look less like video.

Certain filters can help take the edge off of the glassy look but you will want to incorporate all the other suggestions on this thread regarding lighting, etc.
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Old December 10th, 2004, 08:53 PM   #7
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The Tiffen Soft FX 3 and Pro Mist 1/2 are my two favorites. I've used them for years with great results. It helps take the extra crisp look off the "edge sharpening" you get with DV cameras. I also like the nice halo you get around bright highlights with the filters, gives it that "magical" look.
Fine details like hair are still preserved, but larger areas are slightly softened.
Definitely helps with the wrinkles, think Barbara Walters - well that's like a Soft FX 5 (ha!). If you don't think it helps try asking one LA news reporter why she carries her own Pro Mist 1/2 for the cameramen! Then ask Tiffen, "Hey why did you win that award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences?" Then do a two camera shoot with a Tiffen Soft FX 3 filter on one cam and one without and ask the client which one they like - that is what truly matters.
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Old December 15th, 2004, 08:02 AM   #8
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The Soft FX3 you say. Do you now what would be the equivalent from cokin?
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Old December 15th, 2004, 09:39 AM   #9
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I just looked through the Cokin catalog and I didn't see anything that was the exact equivalent of the Soft FX 3, but they did have
#696 Softwarm
#697 Warm diffuser
Either of these might be close.
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