Using Nd Filters For Video

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When I’d perform a photographic camera package checkout every bit a camera assistant, if there was any run a risk that we’d be shooting outside during the solar day, guess which filters I would add to the order? Neutral Density filters (aka NDs)! Fifty-fifty if they were non role of the original gild, whatsoever production office coordinator (P.O.C.) worth their table salt would approve this addition past the A.C. Read on to discover why, adjacent to a polarizer, these are the filters about essential to your video shoot.

Shallow depth of field, daylight

ND Basics

Neutral: meaning there’south no effect on the color of your image + Density: the intensity of the reduction in exposure = Neutral Density. For an excellent caption of ND filters, including a handy chart listing ND densities, read this Guide to Neutral Density Filters (for still photography), by Todd Vorenkamp. Cinematographers refer to NDs by their Optical Density Number, still photographers more often apply the Filter Cistron Number. For video or cine-style employ, ND 0.iii, ND 0.six, ND 0.9, ND ane.2 (in common parlance, “ND3, ND6, ND9, ND 12”) are the most popular, offering respective one, ii, three, and iv-stop reductions in your exposure.

Neutral Density filters come in three basic varieties: Solid ND filters, Variable NDs, and Graduated NDs. “Solid” NDs have a consistent density level from edge to edge. Variable NDs are synthetic of two pieces of glass sandwiched together with a scaled ring that y’all rotate to produce dissimilar levels of intensity. Graduated NDs come in horizontal and vertical orientations merely, for video utilise, you’ll probably only exist using Horizontally Graduated NDs. Hard Edge NDs have a divers transition line, Soft Edge NDs offer a gradual, fundamental transition from clear to dark, and attenuator or “blender” NDs spread the transition from clear to dark beyond the entire filter.

Tiffen ND 0.6, shallow DOF

Broad and bright shot, shallow DOF

i. Shallow Depth of Field

Equally the images above demonstrate, NDs are helpful when you want to create shallow depth of field or blurred backgrounds even when shooting in bright light and/or with a wide lens. Outset your ND kit with a single filter similar this Tiffen 4 ten 5.65″ ND 0.6 or cull a kit like Tiffen’southward 82mm Digital ND Filter Kit (2, iii, 4-End).

Without graduated ND filter

With Tiffen graduated ND filter

ii. Exposure Compensation for Skies/Backgrounds

Especially handy for shots with large expanses of sky or with an overexposed window in the upper part of your frame, graduated ND filters enable you to betrayal your foreground subjects properly without the groundwork heaven “blowing out.” Soft-edge ND grads brand information technology easier to hide the transition line within your composition. Hard-edge ND grads are more suitable for stationary frames or shots where yous can hide the transition forth the horizon, a roof line, window frame, etc. Attenuator NDs like the Schneider 4 x v.65″ 0.6 Attenuator Filter forgo whatever discernible line, instead progressing from clear to maximum density across the entire bridge of the filter. For advanced use, a geared filter tray similar this ARRI F2 4 x 5.65″ Horizontal Filter Frame (Geared) and a uniform matte box will enable you to adjust the filter gradient position in your shot precisely.

iii. Consistent Exposure

Every bit I write, spring winds are sweeping puffy white clouds beyond the blue Manhattan heaven. Quite pretty to look at, just requiring different aperture settings over multiple takes of a scene or during an extended shot. Hither are ii scenarios where an ND comes in handy to maintain a consistent iris setting and the resulting depth of field.

Tiffen 82mm Variable ND

Lindsey Optics 138mm Variable ND

Fleeting Clouds or Shadows:
if your exposure is irresolute during the have, effort using a variable ND—this Tiffen 82mm Variable ND features a scaled, rotating ring and it volition fit a variety of cinematics-manner primes with an 82mm filter thread. The Lindsey Eyes 138mm Variable ND features 2 to 8 stops of reduction and geared thumbwheels for smoothen manual adjustments or optional motor control. This filter’s 138mm circular eye covers all but the largest lenses’ front elements and its iv ten 5.65″ frame will fit many popular matte boxes—but be enlightened that its thicker grade occupies ii filter slots.

Lingering Cloud Cover:
When the sun pops out after a few takes or (heaven forbid), the dawn is creeping up during your nighttime exterior, keep a fix of solid NDs on hand to match your exposure and depth of field to previous takes captured under a darker sky. Rectangular and foursquare filters can be stacked in multiple stages and are easier to swap in and out of a matte box than screwing on a round filter, but of course, you lot can use a round, variable ND here, besides.

Blurred-consequence Tiffen

Long exposure, blurred effect

4. Blurred Motion Effects

ND filters tin can exist used for blurring continuous move like flowing water, passing headlights, or motion in sports or live performances. The longer your shutter speed and the lower your frame rate are, the more than evident the blur, so in brighter low-cal, you can use a lighter ND and a slower shutter speed to capture that mistiness while stopping down your aperture for a decent amount of depth of field. For blur with shallower depth of field, select an fifty-fifty slower shutter speed and open your aperture later on adding a heavier ND. Denser ND filter options include the 6-stop LEE Filters 4 x 4″ ProGlass IRND 1.viii, the eight-stop NiSi 4 x 4″ Nano IRND 2.iv, and the Schneider iv ten v.65″ RHOdium Full Spectrum ND three.0 filter with a robust 10 stops of exposure reduction.

v. Smooth Drone Video

Use an ND filter to lose the choppy look that drone footage tin accept when shooting with generous amounts of low-cal and short shutter speeds. By reducing the low-cal that’s reaching the sensor, an ND filter enables you to select longer, cine-style shutter speeds for smoother motion. The assortment of drone filter kits available at B&H include the DJI 4-Pack ND Filter Prepare for its DJI Mavic 2 Pro quadcopter and the Freewell Mean solar day Filter Parcel for Mavic Mini with 3 NDs and one polarizer. A variable ND like this Aurora-Aperture 36mm PowerXND 2000 for Inspire Quadcopters offers a range of cease reduction in a unmarried filter. For more on how filters can improve your drone videography, be sure to read
Benefits of Filters for Drone Photography, by Shawn C. Steiner.

When choosing your ND filters, deport in listen that higher-end models tend to offer better color rendition, consistent density, and durability than less expensive filters. To reduce potential infrared contamination of your digital imaging sensor, try an “IRND” filter—bachelor singly or in bundles like these four x 5.65″ Formatt Hitech Firecrest ND 0.3 to 0.9 and ND 1.ii to 1.8 3-filter kits.

How many NDs have you ever stacked in front of your lens, and for what kind of shot? Let us know below and explore the wide diverseness of ND filters available on the B&H Photo Website. Whenever you’re in New York, be sure to visit us at the B&H Photo SuperStore.