Hi, I´m a begginer film shooter.
Well my question is about viewing filters. I plan to buy a panchromatic and a B&W viewing filter
what do you think about this tool? are a essential tool for shooting film? do you know some link where i can learn about how can i work with them?
thanks a lot.
I really don't think they're essential for shooting color film. With experience, your eyes cooperate with your brain to recognize how certain things will expose film. I can certainly see the value in one to help your eyes and brain develop the skills of thinking like film.
B&W film, on the other hand, I think does benefit from using a filter like that. Without the benefit of color to separate things in the frame, you have to rely on value so you need to know how film will render different colors. For B&W use, a Kodak Wratten #90 works very well as a viewing filter to judge relative brightnes and costs much less than a commercial one. Just sandwich the gel between pieces of glass and it's essentially the same thing. Personally, I like the #90 wratten alone, but some people like to sandwich it with a ND.3 to help approximate the sensitivity of film, but I kind of think that's pointless to try since your eyes will adjust a-la-auto-iris anyway.
When you use a viewing filter like that (or a color one, of course), only look through it briefly. If you look through it too long, your eye will adjust to it and render the thing useless. Maybe use 5 seconds as a guideline.
Along the line of developing your eyes, I found an exercise that's been extremely helpful to me. It requires a studio or other space you can set up and leave for a while, though. I've found that the following helps:
1. set up a simple still life, including a chip chart, blacks, whites, and several colors.
2. Shoot it, get the film processed and a print made.
3. Watch the print while you can look at the still life. What's surprising in the way it rendered on film? What rendered how you expected? Just make observations.
This is really helpful in testing alternate processes like cross processing, bleach bypass, flashing, etc., too.
Edited by Christopher D. Keth, 01 January 2006 - 06:01 PM.