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ND filter newbie

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mario mattei
ND filter newbie
on Oct 11, 2011 at 1:49:11 pm

If you had to start with just one ND for your 4x4 mattebox what density would you choose? I'm using 5d Mark 2, Genus mattbox, documentary work.

I've got a .9 in my BH shopping cart and a .3 and .6 in the wish list, but wondering if I should get the .9 now and then get two others that aren't necessarily .3 and .6. HELP! Thanks.


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Todd Terry
Re: ND filter newbie
on Oct 11, 2011 at 2:28:47 pm

I always travel with a set of .3, .6, and .9... but if I had to pick only ONE I'd take the .9. It being three stops will give you the most flexibility in more situations.

However, if you are not married to buying glass or resin filters and are OK with gel or polyester filters, then you can get a whole set very cheaply. A while back I picked up an extra .3/.6/.9 set from B&H just to keep on hand as spares, and it was well under a hundred bucks for the set.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/102426-REG/LEE_Filters_NDSET_Neutral_...

Shows they are out of stock right now, but I'm sure they'll be getting them back in.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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mario mattei
Re: ND filter newbie
on Oct 11, 2011 at 11:40:23 pm

Todd,

Thanks for the advice. If I'm also getting a threaded varied ND filter that'll cover 2 to 8 stops, do you think I even need the mattebox? I'm doing documentary work and could spend the $900 on something else. But if a mattebox will be best, I'll go for it!


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Angelo Lorenzo
Re: ND filter newbie
on Oct 12, 2011 at 12:48:12 am

That's really a matter of your priorities. A threaded variable ND kind of locks you into whatever diameter lens it'll fit on, while a mattebox and filters gives you more leeway as to the lenses you can use.

On the other hand, if you plan on shooting this with a 24-70mm L lens or another stills lens that breathes a lot (lengthens when zoomed or focused) then a mattebox may be cumbersome to a run-and-gun style.

You could use the threaded filter and a lens hood or french flag to guard against flare if you really wanted to do a minimal investment.

A 4x4 mattebox is a nicer long term solution and it's great for a number of smaller cameras and camcorders. If you jump to using a RED setup or something, you'll move up to a 6x6 mattebox and filter set.

I don't know the length of your shooting schedule but if you're filming the bulk of it over one short period, consider renting what you need if you're close to a rental house.

- Angelo Lorenzo
- http://FilmsFor.Us Sell your film and connect with your audience


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Todd Terry
Re: ND filter newbie
on Oct 12, 2011 at 2:49:22 pm

[mario mattei] "I'm also getting a threaded varied ND filter that'll cover 2 to 8 stops, do you think I even need the mattebox?"

Well, it's hard to say. It just depends on your shooting style, locations, lighting conditions, etc. Me personally, I almost always shoot with a matte box on, even if there are no filters in the tray.

You don't have to buy a $900 matte box (or a $3000 box, either). There are less expensive options that will do (although you do get what you pay for). There are tons of the India-made matte boxes on eBay, and while they are not great, they will get the job done and might be a decent "starter box."

I don't know what lenses you are using either. If you are using a zoom and not primes then there is no need for a swing-away matte box, a cheaper static one is fine (it's also fine if you are using primes, but willing to sacrifice the convenience of the swing-away).

OR, you can invest in a good box and let it serve you through the years. A 4x4 is usually fine, no matter what format you are shooting. Unless you like shooting really wide lenses (and I mean really wide), then a 4x4 will easily cover most any format up to and including 35mm film, Alexa, RED, etc... unless you happen to be using primes that have really big front elements (which some do). If you don't want to spend two or three grand on a Arri or Chroisel box, then the one from Redrock Micro is a great lower-priced box. There are also really cheap boxes made by Cavision, but again, you get what you pay for.

Also, if you are using real cine zooms or primes (lenses where the front barrel does not turn when you focus... as opposed to SLR lenses, which many people are using), you can use a light-weight "clip on" matte box, which doesn't need the brackets and rails systems, which can cut down both on cost and weight.

Lastly, just a semantic and terminology note from something that was mentioned earlier... there was a mention of lenses that "breathe" and the need to take that into consideration. You might notice that with some lenses (usually zooms, cheaper cine primes, or SLR primes) when you rack focus from near to infinity the size of the picture changes ever so slightly, growing or shrinking. That's what "breathing" is, not when the front barrel element goes in and out. I'm not really sure what that's called... not even sure if it has a name.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Angelo Lorenzo
Re: ND filter newbie
on Oct 12, 2011 at 6:53:09 pm

You got me there Todd, my apologies. A number of people I know use the same term for lack of something better. Good catch though.

- Angelo Lorenzo
- http://FilmsFor.Us Sell your film and connect with your audience


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Todd Terry
Re: ND filter newbie
on Oct 12, 2011 at 7:02:53 pm

Haaa... like I said, I don't even know if there is a name for that. Maybe we should invent one....

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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