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ND filters for bright light, ice and snow (and the Bolex filter holder)


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#1 Richard Ashrowan

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 01:39 PM

I am planning on shooting in snow and ice using a Bolex, using b/w 7222 (200) stock. My last attempts at shooting in snow were not great - my lens goes to f22 and even with the variable shutter closed down (for an extra stop), some of my material was over-exposed. I was metering with a Bolex lightmeter (which has built in compensation for the reflex system). Stupidly, I didn't have any filters and sometimes found I simply couldn't stop down enough.

So, time for some ND filters.... I must admit I am relatively new to film cinematography and know next to nothing about filters. I should like to use the Bolex behind the lens filter holder rather than on the lens filters. Can anyone recommend what ND filters I might need to get and where I might source them? Any ideas where I might buy some different ND gelatin filters in the UK (I assume I can cut them out for the filter holder)?

Can anyone explain how much the different ND ratings should actually affect the exposure settings used?

Any other tips for shooting and metering in such conditions (reflected bright light on ice, snow, extreme cold) would be most appreciated.
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#2 Chris Elardo

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 10:49 AM

I have a similar problem shooting here in Arizona. The sunlight is so intense it's impossible get proper exposure without a ND filter. I purchased all of mine through ebay. The Kodak Wratten series of filters is by far the most common and you can find lots of NOS filter gels with no problem. ND filters are rated as 1 stop for each increment of .3. So, a 1.00 rated filter is a difference of 1 1/3 of a stop. A .3 rated filter is 1 stop. I usually have to use a .9 filter (3 stops) in the desert to get where I need my exposure to be. You might also try a polarizing filter on the front of your lens to handle reflections/glare. But remember, this will add another 1 to 3 stops to your exposure so be sure to check the f-stop rating of the polarizer. Good luck!

Edited by Chris Elardo, 14 September 2012 - 10:53 AM.

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#3 Chris Elardo

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 12:21 PM

I have a similar problem shooting here in Arizona. The sunlight is so intense it's impossible get proper exposure without a ND filter. I purchased all of mine through ebay. The Kodak Wratten series of filters is by far the most common and you can find lots of NOS filter gels with no problem. ND filters are rated as 1 stop for each increment of .3. So, a 1.00 rated filter is a difference of 3 1/3 of a stop. A .3 rated filter is 1 stop. I usually have to use a .9 filter (3 stops) in the desert to get where I need my exposure to be. You might also try a polarizing filter on the front of your lens to handle reflections/glare. But remember, this will add another 1 to 3 stops to your exposure so be sure to check the f-stop rating of the polarizer. Good luck!


Whoops! I had to edit- 1.00 = 3 1/3 stops

Edited by Chris Elardo, 14 September 2012 - 12:24 PM.

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