Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

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joechiazza

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Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostSun Sep 07, 2014 4:24 pm

Hey guys, I'm looking to get a more flat filmic look to my footage in my BMPC 4k. I feel like often times the shadows can be a bit too harsh. I came across the Tiffen Ultra Contrast filters and they seem to be what I'm going for.

Has anyone used them at all? I already have a few Black Pro Mist and use them from time to time....I want to try to go for a different look.

Any thoughts? Any idea what strength I should get for inside and outside?

Thanks!!

Joe.
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Anna Petrova

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostSun Sep 07, 2014 11:37 pm

joechiazza wrote:Hey guys, I'm looking to get a more flat filmic look to my footage in my BMPC 4k. I feel like often times the shadows can be a bit too harsh. I came across the Tiffen Ultra Contrast filters and they seem to be what I'm going for.

Has anyone used them at all? I already have a few Black Pro Mist and use them from time to time....I want to try to go for a different look.

Any thoughts? Any idea what strength I should get for inside and outside?

Thanks!!

Joe.


With a Tiffen UC you will need a full control over your lights.
In terms of counter-lighting UC is very flare sensitive.
You can 'lower' a contrast easily, but it could look like a colored muddy fog impossible to fix.
Mattebox recommended.
My advise, buy a lowest diameter UC#1 or #2 filter and learn its physics.
Btw, UC, LC and diffusion filters show almost the same effect: lowers your highlights a bit.
And UC dont raise much of your camera's DR. It helps to save some of your shadows. :)
Saving in terms of noise.
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andrewmuto

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostMon Sep 08, 2014 1:37 am

Hook used the Hollywood Black Magic filter on almost all of his URSA test footage. After seeing his work, I plan on picking up a 1/8 or 1/4 strength.
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Frank Glencairn

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostMon Sep 08, 2014 7:01 am

I use an UC mostly outside, when I have to shoot under under harsh light (outside/mid day), it's a pretty special filter, that needs to be used with care, nothing you just slap on regularly, and call it a day.

If you just want to soften the image a bit, use a 1/4 Hollywood Black Magic, as Andrew said, or wait till the Mosaic anti alias filter comes out.
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joechiazza

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostMon Sep 08, 2014 10:22 am

Thank you for the tips. Is the Hollywood black magic any different from black pro mist? I have to black pro missed filters and I use them from time to time, not all the time.
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Anna Petrova

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostMon Sep 08, 2014 11:14 am

joechiazza wrote:Thank you for the tips. Is the Hollywood black magic any different from black pro mist? I have to black pro missed filters and I use them from time to time, not all the time.

If i remember right, HBM is a Black Frost of constant 1/8 + Classic Soft of a strength you may vary.
For example, HBM 1/4 = BF 1/8 + CS 1/4.
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adamroberts

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostMon Sep 08, 2014 11:24 am

joechiazza wrote:Thank you for the tips. Is the Hollywood black magic any different from black pro mist? I have to black pro missed filters and I use them from time to time, not all the time.


Similar, but not the same. Every diffusion filter has a unique look. To see all the Tiffen diffusion filters in actions have a look at their 4K test:
http://www.tiffen.com/4k_diffusion_test_film.html
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John Greene

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostMon Sep 08, 2014 7:12 pm

Hollywood black magic Vs black pro mist?

About to Buy one of them. im trying to get softer look on the BMPC 4K. witch is better
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adamroberts

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostMon Sep 08, 2014 7:45 pm

tifose wrote:Hollywood black magic Vs black pro mist?

About to Buy one of them. im trying to get softer look on the BMPC 4K. witch is better


Have you watched the above video?
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Craig Marshall

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostMon Sep 08, 2014 8:44 pm

I would recommend the Schneider Optics 'Digicon' filter rather than the Tiffen series for what you are trying to achieve. I use one (a Grade 1/2) whenever I shoot with an 8bit video camera as it 'compresses' light before it hits the sensor by reducing highlights 1 stop and lifting blacks by a corresponding amount and without any softening of the picture. Correction can be applied in Post.
Last edited by Craig Marshall on Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Anna Petrova

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostMon Sep 08, 2014 10:25 pm

Craig Marshall wrote:I would recommend the Schneider Optics 'Digicon' filter rather than the Tiffen series for what you are trying to achieve. I use one (a Grade 2) whenever I shoot with an 8bit video camera as it 'compresses' light before it hits the sensor by reducing highlights 1 stop and lifting blacks by a corresponding amount and without any softening of the picture. Correction can be applied in Post.


When you have time, could you post some picture with comparison, please?
Does this link correlates with your digicon#2 experience?
http://www.cinematography.net/edited-pa ... n-test.htm
And what about the counter-lights? Any flares and glow like UC?
Our Digicon#2 is out of stock... :))

ps: Have you ever tried stacking 2 digicons? :)
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Craig Marshall

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostMon Sep 08, 2014 11:35 pm

I recently returned from a music video shoot in Kyoto, Japan where I used the Digicon 100% indoors, at night in the city streets, in bright daylight in conjunction with graded ND's and even a Schneider Linear Polariser in the matte box. I was so impressed by the 'look' of the ungraded files that I plan to use the Digicon now all the time. There is no flare or glow as can be experienced with other contrast filters and in most cases, little if any compensation was required in post. (10bit ProRes 4:2:2)

Earlier this year, I posted some still frame grab comparisons on DVInfo.net - http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-nex-ea50-all-variants/522563-anything-new-picture-profiles.html - scroll down to the wildlife pictures and open the thumbnails for larger pictures - but one of the better tests and explanation of how the Digicon works is this one: http://alfonsoparra-development.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/docx/file/127/test_digicon_filters_de_schneider_eng.pdf

Schneider recommend it's use on any camera, including all film formats. Unfortunately, this site does not seem to permit the posting of images. My camera also shoots high resolution RAW stills so I captured several during the video shoot in Kyoto with the Digicon 1/2 in place. I could post some here that you could play with in post.
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Anna Petrova

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostTue Sep 09, 2014 3:10 am

Thank you, Craig! Very usefull links. Have no much time now, got to fully check it later. Here is some question. You mentioned 1/2 filter have a 1 stop of light reducing (in highlights). A man from Schneider Optics, Ryan Avery, stated that Digicon #1 can reduce 10% of light. So dont you know, how much light a #1 and #2 filters can reduce?
Is it possible to pick these filters of a circular type like 77, 82mm?
Why dont you try some file hosting?
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Craig Marshall

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostTue Sep 09, 2014 9:53 am

No, the Digicon series of filters are only available in 4x4" glass and larger formats. My Tektronix vectorscope and waveform monitor test with the Digicon 1/2 was published on the Lightworks forum earlier this year and they indicate considerably more than a 10% light reduction. However I only tested the medium Digicon 1/2 as they are quite expensive filters to buy eg: around $350 for the 4x4".

You may need to login to see the following images. http://www.lwks.com/index.php?option=com_kunena&func=view&catid=28&id=69718&Itemid=81#69795
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Anna Petrova

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostTue Sep 09, 2014 10:27 am

Once again thank you, Craig. Helped a lot! :)
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John Greene

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostTue Sep 09, 2014 10:30 am

adamroberts wrote:
tifose wrote:Hollywood black magic Vs black pro mist?

About to Buy one of them. im trying to get softer look on the BMPC 4K. witch is better


Have you watched the above video?


thanks Adam,

i did but i did not see the Hollywood black magic
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Benjamin de Menil

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostWed Dec 27, 2017 12:06 am

Are there any new contrast filters out since the last post? The digicon looks great. Would love to try a circular version...
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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostWed Dec 27, 2017 8:19 am

The Digicon filters are available in 92mm circular filters but they're actually more expensive than the square filters so....... Additionally the effect is pretty strong, even at light strengths, you'll probably want to use them with a matte box. Off axis flare isn't going to increase dynamic range it's just going to flare the glass and lift the blacks with no increase in shadow detail.
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Benjamin de Menil

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostWed Dec 27, 2017 1:47 pm

Howard Roll wrote:The Digicon filters are available in 92mm circular filters but they're actually more expensive than the square filters so....... Additionally the effect is pretty strong, even at light strengths, you'll probably want to use them with a matte box. Off axis flare isn't going to increase dynamic range it's just going to flare the glass and lift the blacks with no increase in shadow detail.


"“Our Digicon filters are made of very, very tiny black particles whose effect is to reduce highlights while increasing black levels. The midtones are not affected. This can add up to two stops of latitude to a typical HD camera, compressing highlights and lifting shadows to protect detail at exposure extremes. An example of how this filter works entails watching a waveform monitor as the filter is inserted in the matte box: the highlights come down 10 ire and the shadows come up 10 ire. The color rendition is completely neutral.”

Bob Zupka (Schneider) is saying that the Digicon filter does increase the dynamic range that can be captured by a camera. It sounds even from this quote that in a contrasty scene, Digicon increases a camera's sensitivity by boosting the brightness of the shadows before the image hits the sensor. Can anyone corroborate this?
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Dmitry Shijan

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostWed Dec 27, 2017 2:19 pm

If someone interested to experiment i have Tiffen Ultra Contrast 1 Filter 77mm for sale for $85 (including worldwide shipping)
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Benjamin de Menil

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostWed Dec 27, 2017 2:32 pm

That being said, I played with the RAW files in this Digicon filter test:
http://www.cinematography.net/edited-pa ... n-test.htm

The Digicon 2 snapshot seems to have less rather than more shadow detail than the no filter snapshot.

The site doesn't say what camera was used. The no filter raw seems to have a lot of detail in both highlights and shadows, so it's perhaps not the best comparison. You'd presumably want to use this filter when the scene is clipping on one or both extremes.
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Craig Marshall

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostWed Dec 27, 2017 8:58 pm

Benjamin de Menil wrote:.... "An example of how this filter works entails watching a waveform monitor as the filter is inserted in the matte box: the highlights come down 10 ire and the shadows come up 10 ire. The color rendition is completely neutral.”...

Can anyone corroborate this?


That's precisely what my Digicon does. I use mine in a matte box with an older Sony S-35 HD camera which has no internal 'Log' setting and the amount of highlight recovery I can achieve is no contest compared to say, a modern 4K camera set to capture 'Log' recordings. It might be the effect of the larger S-35 sensor but the so called 'Log' feature I've tried on some popular small sensor cameras has a very severe cutoff. If you accidentally clip the highlights, there's no recovery. Detail is gone forever.
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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostThu Dec 28, 2017 1:00 am

What troubles me with the RAW files on that site is that the digicon appears to have eliminated a lot of detail in the shadows - which is precisely what it should be helping with
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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostFri Dec 29, 2017 3:26 am

Benjamin de Menil wrote:What troubles me with the RAW files on that site is that the digicon appears to have eliminated a lot of detail in the shadows - which is precisely what it should be helping with


Not really, it's a contrast filter as in it lessens contrast. Why would you think it should increase shadow detail? The marketing hyperbole is garbage, there is no universe where IRE has a direct correlation with dynamic range. 10 IRE can be a half stop or four stops it all depends on a bunch of other factors upstream of the WF monitor.

It's an awesome filter I have one and like it but it's not going to magically make your camera more sensitive (which it actually does the opposite) or give it more dynamic range. Realistically what these filters do is make the high and low end rolloff a little smoother, and they do it well.
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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostFri Dec 29, 2017 1:14 pm

Howard Roll wrote:It's an awesome filter I have one and like it but it's not going to magically make your camera more sensitive (which it actually does the opposite) or give it more dynamic range. Realistically what these filters do is make the high and low end rolloff a little smoother, and they do it well.


if it rolled off just the highlights, then it would effectively reduce the dynamic range of the light entering the camera, thereby allowing the dp to use less nd or a wider aperture. This would effectively increase the shadow detail. The digicon claims to actually illuminate the shadows. The marketers might add that in so doing it decreases shadow detail, or maybe it's decreasing detail across the spectrum.

If it rolls off shadows and highlights equally, then any advantage from diminishing highlights is lost.

I recognize that this kind of filter can be used as an effect. But a lot of people are talking about using it to clip less in situations where the dynamic range excedes what the sensor can handle.

The ideal would be something like an ND filter that only targets highlights. a low pass that works with intensity rather than frequency. The optical equivalent of an audio compressor.
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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostFri Dec 29, 2017 9:18 pm

Well, such a filter is decreasing scene contrast before light hits the sensor.
Unfortunately it also eats light. As long as have enough light, you can expose a bit higher. But there are not so many scenes in bright daylight that challenge modern sensors, you rather get into problems with scene contrast in lowlight situations.
If you could make a filter as you described, you'd become very rich!
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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostFri Dec 29, 2017 11:45 pm

Benjamin de Menil wrote:
Howard Roll wrote:The ideal would be something like an ND filter that only targets highlights. a low pass that works with intensity rather than frequency. The optical equivalent of an audio compressor.


It actually does work a lot like an audio compressor. A compressor won't make a mic more sensitive or let it handle higher SPL. It literally compresses the dynamic range of the signal. That is what this filter does. It compresses the dynamic range. The filter is going to lift the blacks not stretch them, it's a small but important distinction. I really liked the Digicon 1 on my Micro 4k but after the latest firmware update it's now a little too strong so I may bump down to a 1/2.

Here are a couple grabs from a test I did this morning to illustrate what the filter is doing as well as demonstrating why you'd want to use a matte box when using it. The IRE values reference the center chip of the greyscale which is measured at .256 reflectance. The black levels are sitting a little higher than they would normally because Resolve doesn't have a mode that relegates super whites at 1023 and a black level of 64, it's either 0-1023 or 64-940.

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Grab 2.jpg
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Grab 5.jpg
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Craig Marshall

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostSat Dec 30, 2017 1:17 am

Here are a couple of tests we did a few years ago now using a Sony HD camera shooting plain old Rec709 using a Tektronix Waveform/Vectorscope. (I have more but three images was the upload limit)

Digicon 0.5 Version Colour vectors.PNG
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No Filter Version Colour vectors.PNG
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Digicon 0.5 Version f-stop increase Luminance peaks.PNG
Digicon 0.5 Version f-stop increase Luminance peaks.PNG (132 KiB) Viewed 2869 times
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Benjamin de Menil

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostSat Dec 30, 2017 3:51 am

Uli Plank wrote:... there are not so many scenes in bright daylight that challenge modern sensors...


I've been shooting in the Caribbean where that is definitely not the case. It difficult to shoot without clipping in broad daylight.
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Benjamin de Menil

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostSat Dec 30, 2017 4:01 am

Howard, thanks for your graphs. What does 5/6 and 1/6 refer to?

Craig, thanks as well. what should I be looking for in those two graphs? I think I see highlights compressed, but not sure what's going on in the shadows.

What neither of these graphs address is loss of details. if the result is a reduction of dynamic range, but a haze over everything, I'm not sure that's worth it unless the haze effect is specifically what's being sought after. For instance, I may succeed in exposing my shadows more, only to have less detail than if I had exposed them less with no filter... that's what those test images show. But I'd like to see a test where the unfiltered image is seriously clipping. For instance try it on a BMPC shooting half sun half shade scene in broad daylight.
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Howard Roll

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostSat Dec 30, 2017 7:47 am

1/6 and 5/6 refer to stops on the lens as in 4 and 1/6th stop. The macro I'm using is delineated in 1/3rd stops, these numbers fall in between. Here are a couple more grabs from earlier. You can see the blacks are lifted with no increase in detail. The Digicon shots are about 1/2 stop overexposed which only compensates for the half stop loss. You could grade it back down but that would be pointless, why use a low con filter only to stretch it back out. Maybe to get the image above the noise floor?

NF.jpg
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DC.jpg
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Howard Roll

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostSat Dec 30, 2017 8:08 am

Oh yeah, and here's some real footage. You can see how the level of flare varies with how much light strikes the filter. The" tests" paint a somewhat gloomier picture than real life shooting will yield. There's a shot at 2:06 that pans across the sun and you can see how the flare can be extreme though not unpleasant, this is straight out of the camera with no grade.

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Benjamin de Menil

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostSat Dec 30, 2017 4:09 pm

Howard, the issue of getting the image above the noise floor is my main question: is the filter degrading the shadows more than it's helping them? Otherwise you could presumably just lift the shadows in post. The blurring of the filter reminds me of the look of extreme noise reduction.

The test footage does have a pleasing softness, especially in the highlights. I can see why this would be useful. Do people use these filters on film cameras, or did they evolve as a way to deal with the harshness of digital clipping?
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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostSat Dec 30, 2017 4:47 pm

This is a mug layman's rough test using a near-sensor 1/8 contrast filter on a SI2K camera.

There does not seem to be much apparent difference with and without. On the histograms, with the contrast filter in place, the ends of the histogram form were slightly closer to centre. Not shown in the clip was a shot of a cabinet with some wine glasses in it. The filter appeared to lift "apparent" exposure so that the rims of the glasses became just visible at the same lens iris setting which yielded just darkness. In some old western movies, the effect of a fog filter could sometimes be seen when smoke from a campfire drifted across and invisible objects in background appeared momentarily visible as it passed. Better practitioners than I, can explain that phenonema. Apparently there was once a practice of "pre-fogging" unexposed motion picture film by exposing it to controlled even light. This conferred a similar "additive" effect to the smoke which again I cannot explain technically. Filters were designed to confer a similar effect. Format Hitec, the UK filter manufacturer, generously provided me with 1mm sample panels which had been laser-cut to small pieces for near-sensor placement. I will try this one day with the big URSA but for now, I don't think it can work with a speedbooster in the camera throat as the rear of the speedbooster is very close to the IR filter.

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostSat Dec 30, 2017 5:19 pm

This is part of a test I shot using a genuine Tiffen Ultracon 3 filter plus a Schneider IRND1.8 filter. The use of the filter was to bring the level down to a point where for exposure just on the edge of burnout on the skin highlights, the Optar Illumina T1.3 Super16 lenses were adjusted to within their previously tested aperture sweet zone of T2-T4.

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostSat Dec 30, 2017 7:40 pm

Benjamin de Menil wrote:Howard, the issue of getting the image above the noise floor is my main question: is the filter degrading the shadows more than it's helping them? Otherwise you could presumably just lift the shadows in post. The blurring of the filter reminds me of the look of extreme noise reduction.

The test footage does have a pleasing softness, especially in the highlights. I can see why this would be useful. Do people use these filters on film cameras, or did they evolve as a way to deal with the harshness of digital clipping?


I think having a half stop more light is going to do more for keeping the image above the noise floor than a filter that lifts the blacks. It would be simple to assume that the more light hitting the filter causes more flare but the interaction is much more complicated. The effect almost disappears in extreme underexposure. Here you can see (last pics I promise) that in the case of extreme underexposure the effect it almost undetectable. The lighting hasn't been changed. The change in exposure is aperture which is behind the filter, even the off axis flare had little to no impact. I can't tell you how it works just what it does. You could always lifts the blacks in post, use a soft clip LUT, tweak the curves, etc., I'm a big fan of trying to get it right in the camera which is why I'm shooting in rec709 to begin with. For me the loss of shadow detail is worth the rolloff.

Good Luck

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Benjamin de Menil

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostSun Dec 31, 2017 6:05 am

Howard, I don't understand what you're trying to show in these last photos. That in low light the digicon works more like an ND?
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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostSun Dec 31, 2017 7:55 pm

It always works like an ND. It's going to eat a half stop no matter what. If your primary concern is "...the issue of getting the image above the noise floor is my main question" then don't use a filter at all and take advantage of the extra half stop of light. Those grabs use the same exact lighting as the other shots only the aperture was changed. Can you see how diminished the effect is? It's just a contrast filter, low contrast-low effect, high contrast-high effect, it's not a magic bullet that's going to overcome any issues with sensitivity, DR, or otherwise.
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Benjamin de Menil

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostSun Dec 31, 2017 11:46 pm

Got it. Thanks
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Eugenia Loli

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Re: Tiffen Ultra Contrast Filter

PostSun Nov 11, 2018 3:36 am

My two cents on this issue: Any filter, or additional glass you add will let less light in and will distort or damage the image that hits the sensor. There's no way around that.

The point is, that sometimes some of these filters help with the final look we want, particularly if we're shooting 8-bit. I have 5 Canons and 1 Panasonic GX85 (apart of my BMPCC), and these cameras are 8 bit. Lifting the shadows with the filter, letting me get 1/4 stop of highlights back, letting me underexpose slightly to save even more highlights, while enabling highlight recovery in-camera (in Canons in the D+ feature, and on Panasonic is the Shadows/Highlights feature), and finally, using the right picture profile with the right settings.

Let me give you an example: The GX85 has 2 stops less DR than the GH5 (using the Natural profile, since it doesn't come with Vlog or Cinelike D). Between the hack that adds CineLike D, the right settings, and the Tiffen Ultra Contrast 3 filter, I'm able to squeeze 1 more stop of DR (at the expense of contrast, of course -- the camera has a fixed DR). This adds value to my recent purchase of the GX85.

Now, you might say, "but it makes your shadows look like mash, you lose detail". And that would be true. But since I'm personally after the vintage 16mm film look, where (depending on the stock used) most of the shadows were without much detail anyway, I don't mind losing them. What matters to me is the highlights. Raising the black point slightly, can make for a VERY pleasant video experience AS LONG AS the highlights aren't burned. You can bring the highlights down to midtones too, however, that will look less good than not having clean shadows. And even if you get grain, you can either denoise, or you turn it to B&W, so it looks like film grain. But for highlights, you can't do much. From the moment they're gone, they're gone forever and they look like a sore thumb.

I understand that my case, looking after a very specific look, AND because these cameras shoot 8bit (so it's best to get the right look in-camera), the Ultra Contrast filters and lowering highlights in-camera, is worth it. For people who are after the crispy-clean video look, such a filter is a bad idea.

Tiffen has a special version for low light btw, the same daylight filter shouldn't be used for low light situations.

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