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Q about ND filters/ variable ND

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Rony Sokolov
Q about ND filters/ variable ND
on Jul 23, 2017 at 6:50:15 pm

Hi,
I'm filming with a7sii. I've got an outdoor project and I'll need to use ND filters. I'm filming mostly handheld so no matt box. I know that variable ND would give the most flexibility, but this comes with a loss of quality. My q: does anyone got really good results with a Var ND filter? Or - and this is what I'm considering: to get two ND filters (like 6 stops and 3 stops) and stack them one on top of the other if needed. I know it's less flexible, I'll need to compensate with aperture or shutter speed (1/50, 1/100) but maybe the quality is better? Would very much appreciate your input.
Thanks
PS. I'm not using log2 or log3.

Macbook Pro 10.9.5, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7.
Final Cut Pro 7


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Robin Walker
Re: Q about ND filters/ variable ND
on Sep 10, 2017 at 6:03:33 am

The quality of variable ND filters is very dependent on the price. I use a Marumi that works quite well-- no loss of detail or color shift that I've noticed. Cost as much as a bloody lens, though. In contrast, a recent shoot using (cheap) stacked ND filters produced a painful loss of detail and muddy skin tone. ND filters and log profiles do two different things-- ND will bring everything down (letting you shoot with wider apertures), but your mid and dark tones will get darker, too. Log will reduce the dynamic range, so your darks won't get crushed. I find that they solve two different problems.


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Rony Sokolov
Re: Q about ND filters/ variable ND
on Sep 10, 2017 at 10:39:01 am

Hi Robin,
Thanks for answering. I used the SLR magic ND and got good results. Also considered buying the Schneider but that was way too expensive for me. You raised an interesting point. I didn't shoot with log but now I'm curious: how would it be to shoot with filter and log? is there anything to take into consideration? Thanks

Macbook Pro 10.9.5, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7.
Final Cut Pro 7


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Robin Walker
Re: Q about ND filters/ variable ND
on Sep 10, 2017 at 7:45:49 pm

Full confession: that time I got muddy images with double filters I was also shooting Slog2, and slightly sun-facing. I'm new to working with Log footage, so others might have more insight. I couldn't re-create the loss of detail on Slog2 compared to non-Slog footage, so I was left uncertain about how much of the problem was the double filter (which would make a lot of sense-- double the quality loss at whatever level), the combination of Slog and double-filters, or whether Slog by itself worsens diffraction. But the problem was bad enough that I wouldn't try it again except in a test situation. Even after sharpening and color-grading, I was unhappy giving that footage to the client. I do know, however, that others have combined filters and Slog and been happy wit the results.

I imagine you really wouldn't have noticed any difference with the more expensive Schneider.


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Rony Sokolov
Re: Q about ND filters/ variable ND
on Sep 10, 2017 at 7:51:48 pm

Thnx Robin for sharing your experience :-)

Macbook Pro 10.9.5, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7.
Final Cut Pro 7


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