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Diffusion Tricks


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#1 Chris Lee

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 05:31 AM

For that soft fog, daydream into the past look - Chinatown or Picnic at Hanging Rock.

I have a fixed lens (Scoopic M) so besides in post, how could that feel be achieved?

For Picnic at Hanging Rock, Russell Boyd did this: "The dreamlike, hazy effect that gives the film its distinctive look was reportedly achieved by placing a piece of bridal veil over the camera lens."

In Wings of Desire, wiki notes that "During filming Alekan used a very old and fragile silk stocking that had belonged to his grandmother as a filter for the monochromatic sequences."

Would this really work? Any other tricks?

Edited by Chris Lee, 30 August 2011 - 05:36 AM.

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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 07:48 AM

It would work. It's just using a Net. The only problem is that on 16mm you may see the net in front of the lens... So keep your aperture open.
Other things which work are toothpaste on a optical clear for a fog-bank. Vaseline to vignette. Sometimes I'd just spray a little water on the optical flat.


Now, for materials, any material which you can see trough will work. Experiment a bit ;)
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#3 John Holland

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 12:11 PM

I would add if you use any sort of net try to keep light from it , a matte box or camera flag otherwise you may find the effect a bit to heavy .
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#4 Shelly Johnson ASC

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 02:18 PM

For that soft fog, daydream into the past look - Chinatown or Picnic at Hanging Rock.

I have a fixed lens (Scoopic M) so besides in post, how could that feel be achieved?

For Picnic at Hanging Rock, Russell Boyd did this: "The dreamlike, hazy effect that gives the film its distinctive look was reportedly achieved by placing a piece of bridal veil over the camera lens."

In Wings of Desire, wiki notes that "During filming Alekan used a very old and fragile silk stocking that had belonged to his grandmother as a filter for the monochromatic sequences."

Would this really work? Any other tricks?


Hi Chris,

Nets are good to experiment with. You can place them in front of the lens, or over the rear lens element as well. The effect is a little lighter when the nets are placed over the rear of the lens... and they are not affected by ambient light hitting them, but more act as a diffusion. You can try different color stockings from white to brown to black. Generally a lighter weave is good, as nets and stockings do have a way of hitting very hard... especially in 16mm where sharpness is at a premium. You can fasten to the rear of the lens with a net retainer, tack putty or even a few drops of nail polish like in those days. It would do you well to shoot some tests so you can evaluate the results ahead of time, as the effect on film is different than what you see on the groundglass. Also, different weaves of nets and stockings offer a different character to highlights and pin spots, so trying a few different types would be a great idea.

Good luck!
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#5 Chris Lee

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 05:55 AM

Great tips - Thank you!
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