Filters for DV

By Peter John Ross

I have used several filters on my Canon GL1, but the main one used for NEW WORLD was the "Enhancing Filter" from Tiffen. That is the name of it. This filter brings out the flesh tones & the gradation of the color of leaves in the fall (oranges & yellows & browns). We also used "Neutral Density" filters to soften the video look, but it darkened the image a lot (so open up your IRIS on the camera).

For other projects, unrelated to "New World", I have used the RED, YELLOW, and BLUE filters to get that "Soderberg/Traffic" looks to many shoots. It saves time in post, if you already know what looks you want ahead of time. I also extensively use the 80A filter when I know I am going to convert the footage to Black & White. For a title sequence to a short film called "CONCUPISCENCE (http://www.sonnyboo.com/othershort.htm) I used the HORIZON FILTER, which is what TONY SCOTT and MICHAEL BAY use all the time in their commercials and feature films to make the horizon line look a gradient colored sky.I used it for an effect on titles printed on paper. This saved me hours of Adobe After Effects render time.

Filters may say "For Daylight Use" or "BLACK & WHITE STILL PHOTOGRAPHY USE", but experiment & try them anyway with color video.One filter can yield multiple uses and tons of varying looks. The CIRCULAR POLARIZOR is made to do two things. One, it kills reflection on glass surfaces at an angle. You rotate the lens until the reflections are cancelled out (which is really cool). A Polarizor's other use, which is why I bought it, is that it gets the richest, most realistic BLUE SKIES out of whatever camera you use. I used this on my Super 8 film camera on this 30 sec commercial I did (http://www.thecfc.org/movies/PSA33B.mov). Shooting in July, aiming at the sky, this filter brought out so much BLUE and looked like a perfect sky, without compromising the other colors..

Another tip for similar effect if you cannot afford the $15-50 filters for your lenses, is using your MANUAL WHITE BALANCE to colored sheets of paper. If you white balance to colors or even GRAY sheets of paper, you can get some really wild results and cool looks if you need something more radical. If you want something subtle, try using soft yellow or off white colors to white balance too. Tinker around & find what works and what doesn't.

Too many DV shooters don't study Cinematography in general or learn some basic techniques borrowed from Still Photography. Filters work on a DV lens, and they make them in every size so even the cheapest DV camera can take filters. I learned this from Emmy Award winning D.P. Scott Spears. He taught me tons about filters and affecting the image with LIGHT, which is the cinematographers best friend (even when shooting DV). Too many people take for granted the nearly automated process of video and forget that the use of FOCUS, LIGHT, FILTERS, and ZOOM are brushes in the hands of artists, not buttons on a machine.

- Peter John Ross
www.sonnyboo.com

Plenty more info here : http://www.tiffen.com/filters.htm

FROM THE TIFFEN PAGE :

UV Protector - Protects lens from dust, moisture, scratches, and breakage.

SKY 1-A - Popular general use protection filter. Absorbs significant amount of UV light. Slightly warm- tinted for better colors. Useful when shooting outdoors in shade and on overcast days.

Haze 1 - Reduces excessive blue haze caused by UV light by absorbing 71% of UV. Great all-around UV control.

Haze 2 - Absorbs all UV light; reduces haze; maintains color and image clarity. Best for high altitude and marine scenes.

POLARIZING FILTERS

Polarizer & Circular Polarizer - Essential for outdoor photography; deepens intensity of blue skies; reduces or eliminates glare. Use circular polarizers for auto-focus cameras, as recommended by the camera manufacturer.

Warm Polarizer - For color imaging, a combination of exclusive Tiffen 812 filter and polarizing filter; warms skintones & scenics.

SEE IMAGES USING POLARIZER & WARM POLARIZER FILTERS

LIGHT BALANCING FILTERS

Neutral Density .3, .6, .9 - For all film types, color or black and white. Absorbs 1, 2, and 3 stops, respectively. Provides balanced exposures and depth-of-field control. Eliminates overly bright, washed out images. Great for video.

SPECIAL EFFECTS FILTERS

Soft/FX - Ideal portrait filter. Softens and minimizes facial imperfections while retaining overall clarity. Available in several grades.

Warm Soft/FX - Combines Soft/FX and Tiffen 812 warming filter. Smoothes facial details while adding warmth to skin tones (for color imaging). Available in several grades.