Sunday, November 05, 2006

Camcorder Lens Filters

Lens Filters can be incredibly useful for changing the characteristics of light before it hits the camera’s beam splitter. Thousands of filters are marketed and sold through camera shops and video supply houses. Before you purchase a filter, make sure to feel the inside lip of your camcorder lens for threads that accept filters and conversion lens. These threads usually come in preset dimensions (52mm, 40mm.33mm, etc.) to coincide with third-party products. The following are just a few of the more common filters:

  • Neutral-density filters. Chances are, your camcorder already has a neutral – density (ND) coating on its lens. By supplementing this coating with addition ND filters, you can prevent harsh light from washing out subjects, particularly strong sunlit backgrounds that seem to overwhelm foreground objects or actors. There are hundreds of varieties of ND filters, and most result in a balanced exposure without affecting a scene’s colors.

  • Diffusion filters. If you want to smooth textured surfaces and wrinkled faces, use a diffusion filter. They are the staple of cinematographers who master the close-ups of aging beauty queens because they spread light across the lens without preventing the camera from focusing on the edges. Tinted diffusion filters further enhance skin tones by suppressing hard details and adding warmth and softness to images.

  • Polarizing filters. To heighten an image’s color and contrast, try using polarizing filters. These filters enhance colors in two ways: They mute the light that washes out reflective surfaces, and they saturate colors to add drama to scenes, particularly those that need areas of sky, water, and windows deepened.

  • Mist filters. Mist filters create the halo effect so overused in motion pictures, particularly in pastoral landscapes. Unlike diffusers, mist filters (and once again, there are hundreds of types) dull the sharpness and contrast of details by highlighting object edges. Great for heightening mood, they’re often used to convey a dreamlike quality.

  • UV filters. By absorbing ultraviolet light, UV filters drastically reduce excessive blue-which means they’re helpful for shooting outdoors when overcast days have removed the warm look from your scene. Many lenses are coated with a UV protection to guard against the damaging effects of dust and scratches, but you can use additional UV filters (tinted in various hues) to block harsh elements of natural light.

Remember, any changes in the optical properties of your camera will result in better overall image resolution than if those same changes were applied through interpolation or post processing software on a computer.

ncredibly useful for changing the characteristics of light before it hits the camera'

1 comment:

Martin said...

On some low-budget forums you get the impression that you can recreate almost any kind of filter.

But the truth is, it is always best to give a film it's visual language in the shooting stage. And filters are a vital part of that.