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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old September 29th, 2014, 04:38 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 1,148

Just wondering if anyone has had any success in using filters during weddings.

Here's my experience...

Step-up rings -- very handy. I've gradually been standardizing all my lenses at 77mm, and that's helped with simplifying the lens cap situation. (Not an issue if you're just using one or two lenses, but if you're packing a bag full of the things, caps get confusing.)

UV/clear filters -- I'm definitely a fan of them, and if they soften the image or add a bit of light leak, I guess I'm prepared to suffer that Over time, I've noticed all the scratches, etc build up on the glass of lenses with which I wasn't using filters. But there's more unexpected protections as well -- I recently dropped a $1500 lens (or rather, my spider holster dropped it -- have to remember to lock that damn thing). The filter glass cracked, the edge of the metal bent out of shape, but the actual lens and its filter thread were fine.

Variable ND -- used to use it a lot to maintain 1/50 shutter. Now, I'm lazy -- just crank the shutter speed instead.

Polariser -- don't carry it anymore, but I have to admit there's been situations with water or foliage where it's definitely made the image look less ugly. I'm pretty sure that the vari ND also acts as a polariser.

Grad filter -- never tried for weddings, but is it really that useful?

Colour filters -- fix it in post, not that I ever tinker much with colours anyway. I have been told, though, that red and green colour filters are good for black and white photography. (So, in future, possibly I'd use them for my photo work; don't really think I'd ever use them for video.)

Diffusion -- most of these filters look too obvious for my taste. They kind of look like an '80s or '90s wedding video, to be honest. There's three that I'm mainly interested in -- (1) low-contrast filter -- could be useful for harsh lighting, and the sun in Australia is pretty harsh. When you're shooting at midday with a footpath or road in the background, that can just go white; (2) glowy-highlights filters -- maybe it's useful for getting a certain mood. I suppose you could fix this in post as well, but I'm finding I have very little editing time to play around with this sort of stuff. (3) "take the edge of digital" filters -- making them just a little less sharp while retaining details. Then again, the zoom lens I often use are plenty soft already.

Star filters, image doubling filters etc -- no comment.

Other sorts of filtration -- one of these days, I swear I'm going to put a stocking over the back of the lens to go for a "Picnic at Hanging Rock" look... and one day I'll bring a smoke machine to a groom prep to be able to play with volumetric lighting and shafts of light. I'm shooting my second shooter's wedding on Valentine's Day next year, so that might be the perfect excuse.

Last edited by Adrian Tan; September 29th, 2014 at 05:35 PM.
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Old September 29th, 2014, 05:04 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 125
Re: Filters?

Good post. The only fighter I have ever used and still use to this day is a circular polarizer. It has helped out so much when it has come to reflections, sky, skin tones. I want a fader ND, but them things are so expensive!
- L.B. :)
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Old October 1st, 2014, 03:52 AM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: UK/Yorkshire
Posts: 2,053
Re: Filters?

For over a year I've been using a Genustech ND Fader but dropped and cracked it a few weeks ago - since it's an expensive item I've put off buying a new one for a month or so but I've noticed that the footage I've got since not using it is a little sharper and more punchy - I'm not sure I want to replace it now but it does mean shooting at high shutter speeds which can be apparent in the resulting footage though.


Last edited by Peter Rush; October 1st, 2014 at 04:32 AM.
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Old October 1st, 2014, 04:33 AM   #4
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 1,148
Re: Filters?

One trade-off of the variable NDs is that they "kill the life in the skin" -- clamp down on its reflectivity.

I think this is similar to taking a photograph into Camera Raw and turning highlights all the way down -- sure, you get more dynamic range, but people begin to look strange.
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Old October 1st, 2014, 06:23 AM   #5
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 1,148
Re: Filters?

In case anyone reading this thread ever finds this of use, after NAB 2014, Tiffen produced a 30-minute video showing the effects of all their filters -- in 4K as well as HD.

Here's the HD version:

Password: "4Kenhanced"
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