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Schneider Digicons


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#1 Matt Irwin

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 02:01 PM

I'm interested in the relatively new Schneider Digicon filters. I own an XL1, but I also shoot projects with other cameras. I'm constantly trying to get a better dynamic range (or create the illusion of one) with video, as most of the projects I'm currently working on are ultra low-budget and can't afford higher end SD/HD cams or film.
Does anybody have experience with these filters?
My concern with these is when I crush the image in post to get some decent blacks, the effect of the Digicon would be 'cancelled out'... or am I just crazy?

Thanks
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#2 Tim J Durham

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 09:34 PM

I'm interested in the relatively new Schneider Digicon filters.  I own an XL1, but I also shoot projects with other cameras. I'm constantly trying to get a better dynamic range (or create the illusion of one) with video, as most of the projects I'm currently working on are ultra low-budget and can't afford higher end SD/HD cams or film.
Does anybody have experience with these filters?
My concern with these is when I crush the image in post to get some decent blacks, the effect of the Digicon would be 'cancelled out'... or am I just crazy?

Thanks

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well, looking at this test:

http://www.cinematog...igicon-test.htm

I have to say that they are not improving THIS particular picture. He does give a numeric evaluation of what they actually DO, though, and you can imagine situations where you'd want that. I happen to have Tiffen ultracons. Essentially the same thing and I have found them useful a couple of times. I suspect the Schneiders are quite a bit more expensive so on an XL-1 (lower res) I'd get something cheaper that does the same thing, if you determine you need that.

I wouldn't say that you would cancel the effect (of the filter) by working the blacks in post. There will be detail in the black areas that would not have otherwise been there without the filter (if used in an appropriate situation) and so, would give you a higher measure of control.
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#3 Tim J Durham

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 09:49 PM

I'd also say that before I spent $1K on a set of Schneider filters, I'd do some tests utilizing the black stretch feature built into the camera (if the XL-1 has it, I have an XL-2 which does). You may find that this built-in feature suits your needs. Then you'd have $1K to blow in Vegas.
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#4 Matt Irwin

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 12:32 AM

I'd also say that before I spent $1K on a set of Schneider filters, I'd do some tests utilizing the black stretch feature built into the camera (if the XL-1 has it, I have an XL-2 which does). You may find that this built-in feature suits your needs. Then you'd have $1K to blow in Vegas.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Thanks for the reply, Tim.
Unfortunately, the XL1/XL1s does not have a built in stretch. I've developed a shooting and post recipe that has given me results that I like, but I'd like to try to make it better. I want to be able to combat the highlights that I sometimes can't control and get a little more range.
Do the Ultracons modify only the shadows or both?
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#5 Tim J Durham

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 08:08 AM

Thanks for the reply, Tim.
Unfortunately, the XL1/XL1s does not have a built in stretch. I've developed a shooting and post recipe that has given me results that I like, but I'd like to try to make it better.  I want to be able to combat the highlights that I sometimes can't control and get a little more range.
Do the Ultracons modify only the shadows or both?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

What Tiffen claims they do is to spread light from highlight areas into the shadows. This would suggest that the detail lost in the shadows would not be retrieved but merely the area gone to black brought up to grey.

What I've noticed that it ACTUALLY does is: because the shadow areas now don't make it down to the point of being crushed, you do retain detail there. It also has a minor halo-ing effect on the highlights but I happen to prefer that.

Still, I use the black stretch much more often just because it's so easy and more controllable, and I like to have a black promist or black frost for the highlights. When you're shooting a scene with an 11 stop contrast ratio using a camera capable of registering an 8 stop contrast ratio and heading for a TV set capable of displaying a 5 stop contrast ratio, you have to do something at both ends of the spectrum. That's why I like shooting on overcast days, particularly when there's talent involved.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 11:19 AM

DigiCons are essentially UltraCons with black specks (I believe, not just an ND component) added to darken highlights. The question is whether you could just stop down the lens slightly with an UltraCon and get the same effect of darkening the highlights while the filter lifts the shadows.
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#7 Matt Irwin

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 02:18 PM

DigiCons are essentially UltraCons with black specks (I believe, not just an ND component) added to darken highlights. The question is whether you could just stop down the lens slightly with an UltraCon and get the same effect of darkening the highlights while the filter lifts the shadows.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


That's a good point.

I usually like to work as close to wide open with 1/3'' as I can in order to get the shortest DOF possible, and schneider claims that there is no blooming highlights with the digicons-- it just modifies contrast which makes them attractive to me. (I should just shoot my own test of the farkin' things! :-) )

I've also tried stopping down for the highlights (with no filter) and bringing everything back up in post, but that just creates to much gain for my liking.
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