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Old December 14th, 2004, 09:09 AM   #1
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DIffusion filters on the XL2?

Any comments? Tips? Stills? Can the effects of these filters already be achieved with features built into the camera? (sharpness, cine, color matrix etc)


" This kit consists of the following filters: Tiffen Black Diffusion FX 1/2, Black Pro Mist 1/2, Warm Diffusion FX 1/4, Soft FX 1 and a Soft Pouch. "

I'm a dip with filters but we use them constantly on the movie I'm working in and they really do change the look of things. Just warming up colors, loosing a bit of detail, etc, often I look at the monitor and think "it looks better then it does in RL!"

I would likely not use these for the current runngun documentary I'm doing (things are hectic enough as is) but would try to use them when I'm doing staged and lit interviews, and hopefully next year when I get into my own short films.
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Old December 14th, 2004, 10:02 PM   #2
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this is a good debate for the veteran cinematographers on this forum like Charles Papert. But with my experience as a cameraman and working in Post, I would suggest considering a few different points before you invest in filters. But it also really depends what you are shooting for.

These days almost anything can be adjusted or fixed in Post. The question is, are you able to afford the time that this takes? And also if on your own, do you have the know how to do this? More and more you ride a fine line between deciding what to do on set and what to do in Post. Recently I've spoken to some DPs who are shooting things in camera very plainly, going for good exposure and maximum latitude, to enable the most flexibility for coloring and tweaking in Post. Now having said that, there are certain things that make a lot of sense to do in camera and would be a royal pain to deal with in post. One of which is using a polarizing filter to shoot through glass and get rid of a reflection. Also, is adding extra ND filters to stop down and get a lower depth of field.

However using a Black Pro Mist on the set is a good debate. If you've ever used the software Magic Bullet you'll just how powerful the filter set is on that. Whether you choose to use a real filter or to simulate the effect in Post, either is preferable to the XL2's sharpening/desharpening effect - according to the XL2 seminars I've been to.

Hope this answers a few questions.


P.S. Also, generally speaking a matte box gives you more control and options for filters that the screw-on type you are looking at.
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Old December 15th, 2004, 10:10 PM   #3
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Thanks Oliver, that does answer questions (and raises few as well!) That filter pack is $200 (a cheap-o light kit, or half of a nice microphone!) so I'll think I'll hold off until I have a better idea what I'm doing and what I want to achieve (mostly the former).

I'm interested in what other people think about this, perhaps this thread would be better off with the XL2 stuff removed and placed in a production part of the community?
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Old December 16th, 2004, 11:39 PM   #4
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I usually shoot without filters, and like Oliver mentioned when I do, it's a polarizer or an ND filter.

To clarify and nit pick, the Neutral Density filter unifromly reduces the amount of light transmitted through the filter so that the aperture is opened UP to a larger aperture. E.G. an ND .3 reduces the amount of light by one stop, so you would open UP your aperture one stop, for example, from f/11 to f/8. an ND .6 reduces the light by two stops, .9 three, etc.

The built in ND filters are helpful because you can dump a lot of ND in front of the chip and still have room in the matte box for filters and on bright days, you can still get a pretty wide aperture and avoid the infinite depth of field that is MiniDV.

I sometimes will shoot with a 1/8, or 1/4 Black Pro Mist, but since the DVX and XL2 have the CineLook and CineGamma features I don't really have to do that all the time.

If you are going to use filters, you should look into buying or renting a 4"x4" matte box. That way you get the benefit of larger filters, multiple filters, flare prevention and follow focus. The filter trays allow much faster filter changes since it just slides in and is held by a set screw. I can change filters pretty quickly while a screw in filter takes forever.
Mark Sasahara
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