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Best Filter to Simulate Film Halation (Highlight Blooming)


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#1 Mike Medavoy

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 11:14 PM

Hi!
 
I am still a big fan of film emulsion. That being said, I am a big fan of digital, too. No need to get into that discussion please.
My question is pretty straightforward. 
 
What would be the best filter to use on digital (Red Epic Dragon in my case - but it can apply to other cameras, too) to simulate the film halation? (blooming highlights)
 
I have recently shot some 16mm in Times Square and I fell in love all over again with halation and the way film reacts to highlights. Granted, this is 16mm (quickly shot - don't judge) and it halates more than I want. I have shot 35mm and I know halation is less (better controlled) with that format. So, not as much blooming/halation as in these examples, but definitely more than digital, which has none. 
 
I know there are several options - satin filter, perleascent, classic soft, and the trusted low contrast and promist/black promist filter versions etc
 
In your experience, what is the best filter to bloom the highlights but leave the rest untouched by a diffusion-like effect? (or maybe just the slightest touch of overall diffusion to help with the film-like effect)
 
Thank you!
 
16mm%20Halation%201.jpg
 
 
16mm%20Halation%202.jpg

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 11:27 PM

The level of halation with film is lighter than the lightest filter, but you may be happy with just using something like a 1/8 Schneider Black Frost, it's probably the lightest diffusion filter I've used.  Also there is the 1/2 Tiffen Black Diffusion-FX, which hardly halates at all, but that may be too subtle.  Also, the 1/2 Tiffen Soft-FX is fairly subtle.

 

Otherwise, I think you're better off finding some older lenses that have a bit more flare to them, which I think is actually more the reason you have halation in your 16mm footage, it's the lens more than the film stock.


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#3 George A

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 12:20 AM

Hi David,

 

How about the 1/8 Promist and/or 1/8 Black Promist?

 

They definitely create the blooming/halation effect, and at the 1/8 strength, they are pretty subtle on the diffusion results.

 

Have you used them?


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 01:34 AM

Yes the 1/8 Tiffen Black ProMist and the 1/8 Schneider Black Frost are pretty similar.
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#5 Luke Lenoir

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Posted 13 July 2016 - 02:50 PM

Hi. I would use a 1/8 classic white promist for this.
 
I'm not sure if a black promist would achieve the same halation effect as the classic white promists. In my experience I have found the classic whites to be much stronger.

 

The medium matters, as does the source and exposure, so starting at the lightest intensity is probably smart.

 

Here's some 35mm stills showing the effect. I'm not sure how it would look with digital, but anything over 1/2 is too much in my opinion.

 

Promist 1/4

 

promist.jpg

 

Promist 1/2

 

promist2.jpg

 

And here's some cross processed reversal with a simple cheap net behind the lens.

 

net.jpg

 

Hope that helps.


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