View Full Version : Beach/Snow Neutral Density Filters


CamVader
03-03-2011, 08:47 PM
I learned something today. I was able to head over to the beach for some test footage with the T2i/550D.

You need some serious neutral density filters, like 3.0 or 4.0 with all that reflected light. That is all. ;)

I thought I'd pass this along for other new DSLR owners shooting video.

zim9000
03-03-2011, 10:17 PM
Yeah, I just got one with a my UV filter...except using it at the beach is not an option since we still have SNOW! Sad face. ha

Ernest Worthing
03-03-2011, 10:43 PM
Yup and let's not forget about ND grads either.

CamVader
03-03-2011, 11:09 PM
Yeah, I just got one with a my UV filter...except using it at the beach is not an option since we still have SNOW! Sad face. ha

No worries, it will be Africa hot here in a few months. :yes:

In any case, since you can't change the shutter speed, the ND filters need to be super dark and don't come with a kit. Trust me - my Tiffen ND .3,.6,.9 kit was useless at f/20.

I'm looking at a B+W 3.0 for about a hundred bucks.

wheatgrinder
03-04-2011, 12:38 AM
You cant be correct about not being able to change shutter speed.. are you?

Ernest Worthing
03-04-2011, 12:50 AM
You cant be correct about not being able to change shutter speed.. are you?

What he means is that he needs to maintain a shutter speed of 1/50 or 1/60 when shooting 24fps. As a result, if the image is overexposed even when he is stopped down to a small aperture, the only way he can reduce light is by using ND filters.

Also, if he wants a shallow depth of field by having a wide aperture and needs to maintain the 180 rule when shooting video, he will need to use ND filters to avoid overexposure.

chilipie
03-04-2011, 02:45 AM
Remember that on most 35mm lenses the sharpest image will be obtained at around f/8 or f/11, and after that the effects of diffraction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffraction) will start to appear, making your picture less sharp.

If you want to go all out, there's always the Lee BIG Stopper (http://www.leefilters.com/camera/news/ref:N4B8F96517C324/)…

licenseless
03-04-2011, 07:10 AM
Yup and let's not forget about ND grads either.

:cheers:

CamVader
03-04-2011, 08:14 AM
Remember that on most 35mm lenses the sharpest image will be obtained at around f/8 or f/11, and after that the effects of diffraction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffraction) will start to appear, making your picture less sharp.

If you want to go all out, there's always the Lee BIG Stopper (http://www.leefilters.com/camera/news/ref:N4B8F96517C324/)…

That one is 10 stops (3.0). They also have a 4.0 which is 13 2/3 stops and a 6.0 which will take properly exposed shots of nuclear explosions or a supernova of our own sun (20 stops). :lol:

licenseless
03-04-2011, 09:59 AM
That one is 10 stops (3.0). They also have a 4.0 which is 13 2/3 stops and a 6.0 which will take properly exposed shots of nuclear explosions or a supernova of our own sun (20 stops). :lol:

yeah 6 and 8 are used to get panning effectsin photography and long exposures during the day time in photography...

i wouldnt suggest using it unless you wanted to darken everything out for welding shots... but even then... im not 6 or 8 is dark enough for welding... i guess low level aluminium welding... but not for some hi grade steel...

or you could use them on top of each other for a solar eclipse...

this is a shot of a solar eclipse with a 6 and a 4 (i believe) at f32 at 75mm ... you can see the sun being reflected back against the two nd filters creating the green moon thing above the sun in the picture...
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2503/3745249040_2c68296f9d_b.jpg

i am pretty sure you could use it for that... but i got no clue if anyone would care too hahahaah

CamVader
03-07-2011, 08:30 PM
Just an update for anyone who may be following this.

I've been doing some research from all over the place on knocking down stops so your DSLR behaves outdoors as it does indoors. As aways, we are controlling light.

For video shooting outdoors in bright sun with a CMOS sensor, in order to get stops down to a managable number you'll need (as discussed):

ND filters, ranging from:

1.8 (6 stops)
2.1 (7 stops)
3.0 (10 stops)

Here is the important part: the darker you get with ND filters, the more there is a coler shift toward red. What corrects this is an infrared filter. Filter manufacturers do have combo filters for the above, but with the HDSLR revolution, prices are scary.

I'll eventually a get matte box combo ND/IR so I can change lenses and not have to buy 10 round filters, but it's many hundreds of dollars.

I just ordered an ND 3.0 and a seperate IR filter and will post a comparison with and without down the road.

chilipie
03-08-2011, 06:34 AM
CamVader, have you looked at the Cokin P series? It's a clip-on filter holder system originally designed for stills cameras, and uses square filters (albeit smaller than the 4x4 used in motion picture cameras). You can get started with a lens adapter, filter holder and a couple of extendable lens hoods for $30 or so, and the filters are pretty reasonably priced too. Some of their filters don't have a great reputation (though that depends on who you talk to), but if your budget permits you can buy P-sized filters from other manufacturers. Anyway, it's a lot cheaper than buying different sized screw-in filters for every lens, and it lets you use grads as well.

CamVader
03-08-2011, 11:12 AM
CamVader, have you looked at the Cokin P series? It's a clip-on filter holder system originally designed for stills cameras, and uses square filters (albeit smaller than the 4x4 used in motion picture cameras). You can get started with a lens adapter, filter holder and a couple of extendable lens hoods for $30 or so, and the filters are pretty reasonably priced too. Some of their filters don't have a great reputation (though that depends on who you talk to), but if your budget permits you can buy P-sized filters from other manufacturers. Anyway, it's a lot cheaper than buying different sized screw-in filters for every lens, and it lets you use grads as well.

Yes, I've checked those out, but resin filters are not recommended, nor are graduated filters for HDSLR use for serious projects. Besides, I don't think you can get the ND stops required for correct exposure just using ISO and iris.

I'm just buying a pair of screw ins for test purposes, so the 4X4 would cover all my lenses and outlast a couple of cameras (at least) and no other filtration is needed that can't be done in post. I already have the matte box, so that wouldn't be an additional cost.

I appreciate the input, though. I've been mucking through this research for a month or so and it isn't easy having complete DOF control for exterior shots.

BTW, infrared cut filters are popular with EX1 users to restore blacks in exterior shots if you know anybody using one of those cameras.

Tinalera
03-08-2011, 11:52 AM
I'm learning a lot just by reading this thread! :) Thanks to all !:)

chilipie
03-08-2011, 12:39 PM
Yes, I've checked those out, but resin filters are not recommended, nor are graduated filters for HDSLR use for serious projects. Besides, I don't think you can get the ND stops required for correct exposure just using ISO and iris.

Glass filters are certainly a lot better, but also more expensive, fragile and heavier… swings and roundabouts. Not sure where you got the grad filters thing from, any decent filter set should have a few ND grads in it - perfect for landscapes and other exterior masters, can even be used on tracking and panning shots so long as you're careful. Can't find it round now, but there's a great post by David Mullen ASC on another forum talking about his use of grads.

David.rhsc
03-08-2011, 01:21 PM
, nor are graduated filters for HDSLR use for serious projects.


Wait, what?

Grads are used all the time on "serious" projects. Heck, I see them all the time on Varicams and HDX-900's on scripted non-fiction and "reality" shoots. Great for B-roll, great for all sorts of things. I've seen grads used once or twice on 5D shoots and not noticed any issues (nor heard report of any during post).

If you're aware of some technical side effect from using grads on a CMOS sensor, I'd love to know. I'm starting my kit order this week after a last bit of final hemming and hawing - such information would be very valuable.

I agree with you in theory on Glass v Resin - although I've only ever used glass filters so I can't say from personal experience. There's plenty of graduated glass out there, so maybe you mean graduated resin filters?

CamVader
03-08-2011, 01:32 PM
Glass filters are certainly a lot better, but also more expensive, fragile and heavier… swings and roundabouts. Not sure where you got the grad filters thing from, any decent filter set should have a few ND grads in it - perfect for landscapes and other exterior masters, can even be used on tracking and panning shots so long as you're careful. Can't find it round now, but there's a great post by David Mullen ASC on another forum talking about his use of grads.

I'm sure it all depends on who you talk to, but in a general sense if you have a bright reflective surface from below (like snow or sand) and the grad filter upside down to compensate for that, you can still have blown out whites in the sky. Toning down the whole image would allow you to bring things up in post.

Make no mistake though, I'm looking for a dummy proof workflow for now. Essentially, one filter to solve what can't be fixed in post. 4X4's are pretty robust, although I wouldn't want to drop one, or a camera, from three feet. :D

Also, I'm pretty sure grads also don't come in ND strengths that are adaquate for video. Still photography and movie film have different options and considerations. If you need to come down 7 stops on a DSLR to have decent bokeh for a medium close-up outdoors, you need a ND 2.1. At least that's the way things are looking right now.

CamVader
03-08-2011, 01:40 PM
Wait, what?

Grads are used all the time on "serious" projects.

A very poor choice of words on my part. My apologies. :(

chilipie
03-08-2011, 01:51 PM
I'm sure it all depends on who you talk to, but in a general sense if you have a bright reflective surface from below (like snow or sand) and the grad filter upside down to compensate for that, you can still have blown out whites in the sky. Toning down the whole image would allow you to bring things up in post.
Sorry, I'd forgotten about the title of the thread… you're right, when dealing with highly reflective surfaces like sand or snow in bright sunlight, grads wouldn't be a whole lot of use.

Make no mistake though, I'm looking for a dummy proof workflow for now. Essentially, one filter to solve what can't be fixed in post. 4X4's are pretty robust, although I wouldn't want to drop one, or a camera, from three feet. :D

Also, I'm pretty sure grads also don't come in ND strengths that are adaquate for video. Still photography and movie film have different options and considerations. If you need to come down 7 stops on a DSLR to have decent bokeh for a medium close-up outdoors, you need a ND 2.1. At least that's the way things are looking right now.
If you want a one size fits all solution, a vari ND may be your best bet. I would say though, that when it comes to capturing a usable image, grads are just as important - yes, you need to control your depth of field, but that's no use if the sky ends up as a great block of solid white. A .6 (two stop) grad should do most of what you need - if anything, photographers seem to use stronger NDs, as they have the luxury of picking any shutter speed they want. To be honest, I'm amazed you need seven stops worth; that's jumping from f/22 to f/2, but then again I haven't done a whole lot of video in snow!

CamVader
03-08-2011, 02:15 PM
This has been a great conversation. Thanks, all.

PaulGriffith
03-08-2011, 02:31 PM
Have you considered a Variable ND filter? We use them all the time. Phenomenal.

David.rhsc
03-08-2011, 02:56 PM
Ah, I think I see what you meant.

Is there a reason you don't want to stack filters?

CamVader
03-08-2011, 03:17 PM
Ah, I think I see what you meant.

Is there a reason you don't want to stack filters?

Not really, except I'm a videocam guy and these types of filters are new to the pile of equipment. That's why I'm looking to go the 4X4 route so all of my lenses and future lenses and cameras are covered.

I'll be at a shoot on March 18/19 in South Beach and exposure is important, if you catch my drift. :)

CamVader
03-08-2011, 03:20 PM
Have you considered a Variable ND filter? We use them all the time. Phenomenal.

Ya', but I'm trying to future proof and not try to address individual lense needs. I'd pick one of those up for run and gun with as zoom, though.

PaulGriffith
03-08-2011, 03:57 PM
Ya', but I'm trying to future proof and not try to address individual lense needs. I'd pick one of those up for run and gun with as zoom, though.

What we do is buy 77 mm filters and step up rings to get there. 77 is the biggest out of all the lenses we use that use screw on filters at the end, then we have step up rings ($2 each on eBay) to get to 77 for the other lenses, like. 58-77 and 72-77.

A mattebox system is more future proof for sure, because it will last a transition to nicer lenses Like the compact primes, but as far as photo lenses go (which is what we own and rent) we're good to go.

Owen
03-08-2011, 06:10 PM
4x5.65 would be the safer choice rather than 4x4 if shooting wide 24mm yes? I'm about to order a few now for the redrock matte box. I'll be shooting lots of sunrises and beaches. I was thinking horizontal schneider .6 , .9 and a few grads. Any advice before I order?

Owen

CamVader
03-08-2011, 06:33 PM
4x5.65 would be the safer choice rather than 4x4 if shooting wide 24mm yes? I'm about to order a few now for the redrock matte box. I'll be shooting lots of sunrises and beaches. I was thinking horizontal schneider .6 , .9 and a few grads. Any advice before I order?

Owen

24mm full frame, sure the larger filter would be awesome if money isn't an object. 24mm with a crop factor, it wouldn't be crucial.

Or, if you have full frame in your future, the 4X5.65's will be with you for a long, long time. Think about the infrared cut filter, though.

Owen
03-08-2011, 07:49 PM
Yeh thanks. Full frame is a must. Yes I'll get an ir filter

Owen