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What does a Mattebox do?


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#1 David Silverstein

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 09:01 PM

What does a Mattebox do?

Sorry if thats dumb but I know what they are just dont know the benefits of them.

Thank you
Dave
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#2 Michael Collier

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 09:27 PM

If you have lights on set (and with most lighting you probably will) that let light fall onto the glass of the lense a couple of things happen.

most obvious and recognizable trait is the flare. It begins to flare (depending on focal length) just before that light enters frame. Sometimes its wanted and is allowed to flare, sometimes its not and a matte box is used to keep it from flaring until it actually does get in frame and is unavoidable.

the other thing that happens is a reduction in contrast. Think of old scooby doo cartoons where their flashlight brightens up everything you can see within the beam (not just where it falls). this (sort of) happens with the lens. when light falls on the front glass it begins to refract around the glass, eventually getting to the film or CCD and 'flashes' the chip (sometimes a DP will 'flash' the film with a small light in the camera to reduce contrast) also if there is even a little dust on the lens it will be illuminated, and will be photographed out of focus, causing a slight haze over the image reducing contrast.

matte boxes also have stages for glass filters. they are usually just sqare peices of glass, unlike camcorder filters that have the thread ring to mate with the camera face. their stages also rotate to speed the setup (like in the case of graduated filter) or (though I have never seen or heard of this) you can spin your filters as you shoot if there is an effect your looking for.
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#3 Sol Train Saihati

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 09:28 PM

Essentially it prevents light sources from shining directly into the lens, thus preventing lens flare. It usually doubles up as filter holder too. :lol: Thats about it!
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#4 Robert Glenn

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 10:03 PM

They also make your camera look badass, although they can cost a lot
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