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Conclusive Filter List and Uses?


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#1 Roger Alexander

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 02:07 AM

When doing research on different filters to put on lenses/cameras I hear so many different names thrown around and its confusing as to what those filters actually do and the differences between them. Even when watching vimeo tests, sometimes it's hard to tell the affect it has on the image when you get to the higher grades. Not sure what I'm looking for. I hear things like

 

Names like Promist

Hollywood Black MAgic

Classic soft

pearlescent

low con

ultracon 

digicon etc. etc.

 

Some of them are easy to see such as lifting the blacks, blooming highlights. Others are not, even when you get to the higher grade versions of the filters like 1,2,3,4 etc.

 

Is there one finite list somewhere of all of the different filters that are available out there and what each one does (or is supposed to do)? I would like to have one place that lists them all instead of finding bits of pieces here and there all over the internet, some with conflicting information and confusing people. Some of them sound like they do the same stuff.


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#2 Freya Black

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 07:06 AM

In short no but this video made by Stephen Murphy is really helpful for getting  an idea of the Tiffen branded stuff but there are so many makes and so many weird filters. I'm quite into filters but I still keep learning about stuff which is  good in some ways.

 

 

Freya


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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 11:37 AM

Unfortunately a lot of these filters are similar -- asking for more clarity about the effect is a bit like describing exactly how much softer 216 will make a light compared to Light Grid Cloth, there's a limit.  And some filters are more or less designed to compete with a similar filter made by a different manufacturer - for example, Tiffen made ProMist based on the mist filter design of the Wilson SupaFrost, then Schneider made White Frost as their version of the ProMist.  Schneider DigiCons are similar to Tiffen UltraCons other than the fact that they have an element that darkens highlights, similar to Tiffen's older SoftCon filter, which is based around their older LowCon design.

 

A few diffusions are combinations of two specific diffusion products -- for example, a Hollywood Black Magic is a combination of a 1/8 Black Frost + degrees of HD Classic Soft.  Black Satin diffusion is a combination of, I'm not sure, something like a 1/2 GlimmerGlass + degrees of Black Diffusion-FX.  Basically combinations of a "mist" filter with a more traditional "softening" filter.

 

The filters designed to soften detail as opposed to create a misty effect, use some sort of pattern in the glass that bends, defocuses the light while the clear areas allow sharp detail to pass through.  The size, shape, and distribution of that pattern creates its particular artifacts around lights.  The Schneider Classic Softs are probably the most obvious example of that, having fairly large dimples in the glass that create odd effects like a circle around some points of light on some strengths at some focal lengths, or a blurred fringe edge around a bright area.

 

Mist filters use even tinier elements (compared to the diffusion filter patterns) of some sort of particulate matter that causes light to scatter.  There is also some softening involved as an effect too.  So when you get halation around a light source like when using a Classic Soft, what you are seeing is a blurred version of the point of light overlaid on top of the sharp image of that same point, whereas with a mist filter that light source in the frame is hitting a lot more tiny specks of something that catch the light, causing a glow.

 

LowCons, DigiCons, etc. are variations of that, but use specks that soften less but haze up more all around, less localized around the light in the frame.  With UltraCons, the specks are so tiny, finely ground and distributed, that when light hits the filter, there is more of just an overall haze and lifting of the blacks without any glow around lights and with minimal softening.


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#4 Roger Alexander

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 12:43 PM

great reply David, this helps alot


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#5 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 12:45 PM

David, as always you are a font of knowledge, thank you!

Roger, I think the best thing you can do is to get to a rental house and try out a bunch of filters. It's the quickest way to find something that you'll like. Put the filters on a camera and film a person against different kinds of backgrounds. Bring a laptop and copy the footage to a hard drive so you can look at it later.

Then rent a set, shoot a project with it, and then try something different for the next project. Once you find a set of filters that you could see using all the time, then it might be time to invest in your own.
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#6 Alexandros Angelopoulos Apostolos

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Posted 17 August 2016 - 06:54 AM

Which filter manufacturers are especially well regarded in movie industry applications?


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#7 Michael Rodin

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 09:50 AM

Schneider and Tiffen for everything and especially diffusion, Formatt for anything but diffusion, and Mitomo for their NDs.


Edited by Michael Rodin, 18 August 2016 - 09:52 AM.

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