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Old January 25th, 2006, 07:43 PM   #1
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Lens Filters - What are you using?

I've been doing video work (mostly weddings) for several years now, and the only filter I ever seem to use is the UV filter. It's there mostly just to protect the glass face of my lens (I'm using GL2's).

I was wondering what (if any) other filters the rest of you use during weddings, and in what situations and how you use them.

I did a search on this topic here and didn't find anything really.

Thanks for all your input!
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Old January 25th, 2006, 09:08 PM   #2
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UV
Polariser
Circular Polariser
Star filter
Various gradient filters (for blown out Backgrounds... 1/3rd ccds are good, but not THAT good)
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Old January 25th, 2006, 09:21 PM   #3
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Okay, here come some ?'s for ya Pete . . .

Circular Polarizer - I have one for each camera, but I really don't know the proper way to use one (when do you use it? do you actually rotate the filter for better effect?)

Star Filter - this sounds like an effects filter (for those cool sparkling light effects - true?) if so, what are the best situations for using it? also, what brand are you using?

Gradient Filters - again, what brand do you use? any specifics on when you use them or how you use them?


Thanks again!
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Old January 26th, 2006, 02:15 AM   #4
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Kokin ALL....

i wouldnt use anything else..

Circular Polarizer - I have one for each camera, but I really don't know the proper way to use one (when do you use it? do you actually rotate the filter for better effect?)

((i usually use one when shooting on water, or THROUGH water... through glass and other highly reflective surfaces, like textured glass, car windows, buildings.... as for rotating.. no.. just screw it in and leave it.. ))

Star Filter - this sounds like an effects filter (for those cool sparkling light effects - true?) if so, what are the best situations for using it? also, what brand are you using?

((Star filter is used on the Z1s to emulate the DVX100 natural lens flare. I use this when i shoot water surfaces and any blown out whites are usually peaked through this and reshaped. with the DVX this filter isnt necessary, but with the Z1, the lens just doesnt cut it to be able to handle this type of light fluctuations. The Z1 would normally blow this kind of shot (ie vertical smear) this filter fixes that as it has a couple of stops and alows peaks to shoot through clearly))

Gradient Filters - again, what brand do you use? any specifics on when you use them or how you use them?

((I have afew different temperature tones.. yellow/orange, blue/orange, pink/orange, pink/red... theres afew... hardly need to use them, but the one i use most is the ND/Clear type.
I dont have them right in front of me so i cant get specific models... mind you their probably out of date now... lol ive had these for 4 yrs..
Anyways, this one bascially runs a horizontal split between and nd4 (top) through to clear (bottom) i use this when i want to show the background AND keep the subject in good exposure.. again, more of an effect than anything else, sometmes it comes in handy.. nothing special though...
The softening filters are pretty nice though.. they get rid of the hard edges DV is famous for, but all of this kinda stuff can be done in post

to be truthful, none of these have actually saved any of my shots.. (apart from polariser, but again, shots using it arent critical....) its not like i the shots would have been lost if i didnt use them...
To me it was a thousand dollars down the drain.. i coulda gotten another wireless mic kit...
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Old January 26th, 2006, 11:39 AM   #5
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Anyone use the Tiffen SF/3 filter? Likes/Dislikes? I'm thinking about purchasing a few. I would really like a much softer to look my video.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 12:15 PM   #6
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I was just logging on Travis to ask the same question.
I have just bought a HOYA circ Polarizer filter. An expensive filter and no good in low light conditions but really does a good job of removing glare from strongly lit areas, like a persons face, it takes of that hard glare. It works good outside by giving a nice blue sky and in my own opinion gives good colour contrast and colour saturation just like it says on the box.
I have used a UV filter just to protect my lens but at a job the other day another camera man had a Sony VX2000 with one of these filters fitted to it and it was super picture quality but they are very good in low light conditions anyway. By the way its a Canon XM2/GL2 I have as well. He said he never takes it of and works in every condition for him.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 12:51 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies!

I'm still a bit confused by the circular polarizer, as I have read at a few places that you rotate it to get the desired effect, but I've seen other people say that that isn't necessary.

Another question I have is whether or not stacking filters is a bad idea. For example, could you use a pair of filters together without reducing image clarity. Maybe it depends on the filters involved. I'm just curious about this.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 01:18 PM   #8
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Heather,

I use the Tiffen SF/3 with a Sony VX2100, but only for the ceremony. It does soften the image and gives the flame on candles that "romantic" glow.

I never use it outdoors or at the reception.

Last edited by Tom Tomkowiak; January 26th, 2006 at 01:52 PM.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 05:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Tomkowiak
I never use it outdoors or at the reception.

Why's that?
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Old January 26th, 2006, 05:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Cossel
Okay, here come some ?'s for ya Pete . . .

Circular Polarizer - I have one for each camera, but I really don't know the proper way to use one (when do you use it? do you actually rotate the filter for better effect?)

Star Filter - this sounds like an effects filter (for those cool sparkling light effects - true?) if so, what are the best situations for using it? also, what brand are you using?

Gradient Filters - again, what brand do you use? any specifics on when you use them or how you use them?


Thanks again!
A polarizing filter blocks any light rays that are not parrallel from passing through the lens to the film/CCD chip plane. It uses two complimentary filters to accomplish this effect. The end result is more intense (saturated) colors, higher contrast. It also removes glare and reflections. Polarizing filters allow the user to adjust the outer filter, thereby adjusting the degree of filtering incoming light.

Two things to remember about polarizing filters:

1. They are, in effect a neutral density filter of about 1.5 to 2 X, so expect some under exposure.
2. Polarizing filters work best when the camera is pointed 90 degrees to the path of the sun. The more the camera angle is aimed in line with the path of the sun, the less effective they will be.

Circular polarizers are designed to work with auto focus systems. AF systems basically work by comparing differences between the center of a focus zone and the outside perimeter of the same zone. Technicians will tell you a normal polarizer will confuse you camera's AF system where a circular polarizer is designed to allow your camera's AF system to function properly. I haver personally used normal polarizing filters on my 35mm AF cameras as well as my GL1 (58mm), ans saw no issues with them in regard to auto focus.

Gradient filters are wonderful when the horizon line balances the line of the gradient filter. Of those filters, the only one I would consider using would be a neutral gray. I prefer the COKIN filters because the lens hood COKIN makes for them allows for positioning of the gradient line, which a screw-on filter wouldn't allow. On the negative side, the wide angle setting of my camera lenses brings any defects or scratches on the filter clearly into view.

Effect filters, like the star you mention, are in my opinion things to be avoided. I feel they compromise the original image in a way that limits re-purposing to a task not even remotely within the concept of the original shoot. I prefer to minimally modify original footage.

Having been didactic about not compromising original footage, here is an idea that is worth experimentation:
Take two polarizing filters and attach them to the lens of your camera.
Tape the adjusting ring of the first filter so it can not move.
Adjusting the second filter will reduce the amount of light passing through the lens to the point of nothing.
I have played with this on still cameras to get long time exposures in broad daulight. Got some really facinating images. If you have the opportunity, give it a try, and let me know what happened. I've not had the time to try it with my video camera.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 05:50 PM   #11
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"I'm still a bit confused by the circular polarizer, as I have read at a few places that you rotate it to get the desired effect, but I've seen other people say that that isn't necessary."

The filter must be rotated so it's polarizing blockers align with the light source, usually the sun. It doesn't need to be precise, and you can "dial-in" the effect by going off-axis. I would guess that the effect is noticeable for about 90 degrees off-center of perfect alignment. It ramps up somewhat linearly from no effect to strong effect when you get to perfect alignment. Simply rotate the filter (they are on a rotatable sleeve) until you get the look you like! :)
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Old January 26th, 2006, 06:29 PM   #12
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So my understanding for a circular polarizing filter is that you don't want to change the direction of the camera very much while using one because the effect of the filter could change the look of the image.

In other words, it's fine to use one for a shoot where the camera basically shoots without moving, but if you were following someone around, it might not work very well because your angle with the sun is always changing?
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Old January 26th, 2006, 06:57 PM   #13
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Tiffen Soft F/X 3

Heather,

Just to make sure we're talking about the same filter, it's the Soft F/X 3.

For lack of a better description, the lens is made up of hundreds of cross-hatches. This is what diffuses the harsh videotape effect, softens wrinkles, creates a dreamy, misty glow off of shiny things like jewelery, windows, candle flames, and so on.

This, I think, helps project to the viewer the romance of the moment during the wedding ceremony.

Receptions, to me, are more along the lines of party time rather than magical romantic moments, so the filter comes off. That's just a personal preference. Other people may think otherwise.

Outdoors, those little cross-hatches can catch the bright light (even with a hood on) at just the wrong angle and get recorded in the image -- not a good thing. It's kind of like if the lens had a bunch of scratches, or maybe was loaded with little water droplets. That's not a very good description of the effect that gets recorded, but kinda in the neighborhood.

Anyway, I think this filter is a good thing to have available for weddings.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 05:51 AM   #14
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Tom, thanks for that description of the soft filter. I shoot most weddings outside (year round here in Hawaii), so that filter sounds wrong for me. Now, I don't have to make an expensive mistake! Thanks.

Travis, "So my understanding for a circular polarizing filter is that you don't want to change the direction of the camera very much while using one because the effect of the filter could change the look of the image." It's not such a problem since the filter has a fairly wide range. The polarization happens across several degrees, not just a single plane. Also, if the sun is high in the sky it does not change it's angle to you very much.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 06:07 AM   #15
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the way i use the circular is to literally tweak it as the shot is needed.. sometimes ill get 2 or 3 different looks depending on its position, so i try to shoot all three then make a decision which to keep later on..

Also as i usually keep focus assist on when im shooting then switch to manual, it doesnt play havoc (as mentioned by Wal)

but yeah the best uses ive had for these filters is shooting through glass or specifically shooting lighting arrangements for nightclubs
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