Tag Archives: lightcraft workshop

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First off, let's state the obvious! Of course i'm bound to have IR Pollution issues without using a proper 'IR Cut Filter'. But the point of this video is to show that even basic ND Filters that are not advertised with IR Cut can all perform differently, so it's better to test out your filters with specific cameras before heading out to shoot a full project.

I've used my Tiffen Static ND Filters happily on many of my cameras without issues. It's a nice sharp image. But as the BlackMagic Design Ursa Mini 4.6K is more sensitive to IR Pollution this (non-IR Cut) Tiffen ND 1.2 is probably the worst ND Filter you can use with the Ursa Mini 4.6K or other IR Sensitive cameras.

Again, I know none of these filters are advertised as IR Cut and you could probably spend a good amount of money on some special filters. But in this case, the URSA Mini 'without' a filter doesn't seem too bad so you may get away without one. And the LCW Fader ND MKII (though not advertised as IR cut) seems to handle IR Pollution extremely well, so it's a variable ND I can highly recommend. You can find the LCW Fader ND MKII Variable ND via B&H (click here).

Or you can also find the LCW Fader ND MKII Variable ND via Amazon (click here)
Ursa Mini IR Cut Filter Pollution Light Craft Workshop Fader ND MKII
Learn-More-smLight Craft WorkShop Fader ND MKII

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If you love to shoot outdoors on bright sunny days with a shallow DOF, you'll need to get yourself an ND (neutral density) Filter. The ND filter will cut down the amount of light that comes in through the lens so that you can tame that shutter speed, and use a wide aperture without blowing out the image. Still confused? Olivia has a short video that explains how shutter can change the look of your video here: http://vimeo.com/25851113.

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There are static ND filters in various sizes and densities, and then there are Variable ND filters. The convenience of a Variable type ND filter is you can simply dial in how much light you need to block out. Variable ND filters are a two piece glass filter design. Rotate the outer glass, and it will increase/decrease the amount of light passing through.

One important thing to know is that you will get different results from different Variable ND filters on the market. Because the filters are using two pieces of polarizing glass, you could suffer from color cast (reddish/purplish), also color shifting (color temp changes as you rotate the filter), and more importantly Softness of image. The more expensive ones don't suffer as much with these problems, but they can be out of reach for most hobbyist. Of course, I use what I can afford, because in some situations I feel anything is better than nothing. If you're a stickler on quality, or invested thousands of dollars on that Zeiss and Canon 'L series' glass, I think you'll want to try to maintain the best image possible by using something of higher caliber.

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Shown throughout this article is the latest 77mm LCW Digi Pro HD, which on the outer end terminates to a larger 82mm. This step up from 77mm-82mm design prevents obstruction when used on wider lenses. Packaged well, the LCW Digi Pro HD comes with it's own padded case and an 82mm Lens cap if you choose to leave the filter on during storage. To ensure the filter does not accidentally rotate during use and changing exposure, there's a locking pin to hold position.

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Light Craft Workshop was one of the first companies to really hit the DSLR Video market with a quality Variable ND filter about 3 years ago. Since then, they've improved with an Ultra Mark II version, and now has released a much more improved Fader ND Digi Pro HD. The Digi Pro HD filter was first released in a 4x4 filter used in Matte Boxes, and has now been adapted to this variable threaded filter.

I was lucky enough to have this sent over from LCW [Thanks Guys], and will be taking it out for some use. There's no question in my mind that it will provide top quality results, and i'll try to provide some still images at different focal lengths for you all. The new Digi Pro HD filter was just announced a few days ago, and may not yet be available, but you can see all their announcements at their website here: http://LightCraftWorkshop.com. As this Digi Pro HD is not a replacement for some of their other Variable ND products, you can find those products and prices already available at their official store via eBay (click here).

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find-price-button Light Craft Workshop Variable ND & CPL Filters

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There's probably at least 10 different ND Filters around the studio, most of them being a type of 'Variable ND' or 'Fader Filter'. They are just so handy at getting the right exposure. Some of these filters use glass that will cast a purplish color, some more than others. Besides being able to confirm through reviewing your videos, here's another way we found. It's hard to see much difference by just holding it up to the light, and for some reason using the reflective surface from a Macbook works pretty well. As you can see two of the four don't have any color cast even when we played around and dialed them to different ND stops. The other two always have this color cast even when dialing them up or down.

Keep in mind that this does not solely apply to 'Variable' filters, but a color cast can appear in static ND filters too. For static ND filters, it would be very obvious and won't require you to flip them around. So I know you're wondering, which two had the color cast? Polaroid ND Filters and Nicna (sometimes called Rainbow Imaging). The Polaroid was actually the one with the most Purple color cast. Which ones did not have a dramatic color cast? Fader ND and Nature did not cast. Of course we all know you can't go wrong with the LightCraft Fader ND Filters, but for a slightly cheaper price I'm quite fond of the Nature brand Variable ND filters which you can find below.

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find-price-button Nature Fader ND Variable Filter

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I know there's a good amount of new DSLR shooters who haven't invested in ND filters yet, so here's a good example of the difference it can make to improve your DSLR video. To properly exposure on your DSLR you'll primarily be changing either Aperture or Shutter Speed. Since the majority of people love to shoot with a shallow depth of field (wide open aperture), changing the shutter speed is the only other option in bright days. This is where you could really compromise the video quality (unless you're going for that fast shutter look specifically). Get invested into some ND (neutral density) filters to cut down on the light so you can maintain that 'double framerate' rule.

To maintain the sharpest image possible, a single piece of ND glass is your best bet. The problem is that you need to have 1 filter for every sized lens, and you'll also need different densities according to the lighting. If you want to save time in swapping densities, you could get into Variable or Fader ND filters. These are adjustable filters that change densities as you rotate them giving you up to 9 stops in one single filter. Just be careful about the uber cheap ones. Here's a good article about those Variables http://cheesycam.com/variable-nd-filters-fader-filters/.

Here's a variable that i've been using with good results, but price has gone up a bit: http://cheesycam.com/nature-fader-nd-variable-neutral-density-filters/

Single Density ND Filter
find-price-button Single Density ND FIlters ND2, ND4, ND6, ND8

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find-price-button Adjustable Variable Density Fader ND Filters

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Genus Variable ND Filter

I've collected quite a few lenses (and cameras) in the last year, and it's about time to grab more Variable ND filters instead of swapping them and sharing them during the workflow. Variable ND filters or 'Fader Filters' are Neutral Density filters used to block out light for better exposure. You will find ND filters built in to professional video cameras, but DSLR's lack this and it's an important filter to use when shooting video. Especially if you're trying to achieve a more film like look with your camera, this will help control your shutter speed on bright days. Variable ND filters are great because they are adjustable to perform like several different ND filters wrapped up in one, but if you've got time to add and swap you can use standard ND filters too. There's three big names that come to mind when shopping for these filters which are Singh-Ray most expensive, Genus, and LightCraft Workshop. Here's what you should think about when shopping for your Variable ND Fader Filter.

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77mm Fader ND Mark II

Depending on where you shop, the Genus and LightCraft might be very close in price, but the Singh-Ray is the most expensive by an additional $200+ dollars. Some things to keep in mind when choosing a Variable ND are the quality of the glass used, color temperature change, and vignetting when mounted. These three brands have really good reviews, but I haven't tested them side by side to do a full pixel by pixel comparison.

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Singh-Ray Variable ND Filter

Quality of Glass: For video use on wide lenses, you may not immediately notice a difference, but when using some type of magnified lens (macro and some zooms) you could find loss of sharpness. Especially if used in high megapixel photography, there will definitely be a difference. This is because you are adding an additional 2 pieces of polarized glass over your lens, and the quality of those 2 pieces will affect final image.

Color Temperature Change: Without getting too technical, as you turn the filter it changes the amount of light that is allowed through. Some of these filters could have slight color changes which means you will have to correct your color balance each time. It could be very marginal and even done in post without most people noticing.

Vignetting: The newer versions of these Variable ND filters are built over sized to prevent vignetting. LightCraft calls this their 'Mark II' and Singh-Ray calls this their 'Thin Mount'. So a 77mm lens will end up having something like an 82mm Filter at the tip. This means you will lose the ability to place your stock lens cap and also use of any stock lens hoods. These filters are great for controlling exposure, but shading the front of the lens with a hood or matte box is just as important to maintain contrast and color. Keep in mind about those extra items you'll still need to shop for. If you use the older versions, you should be fine with the lens cap, but most likely not the hood unless you're using an aftermarket mount like the ones in this article: http://cheesycam.com/hoods-covers-caps-and-pouches/. I would definitely think about going with the newer filters with the larger glass, but just beware if you think you've found a cheaper deal, it might be the older version.

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List of Variable ND's at eBay:Variable Neutral Density Filters
List of Variable ND's at BHPhotoVideo: Variable Neutral Density Filters
List of Variable ND's at Amazon: Variable Neutral Density Filters

If you're just experimenting with ND variable filters, there's also a DIY article I posted here where you can make your own. Of course you'll probably suffer some softness, color changes, and vignetting, but for less than $10 dollars it's a great project to jump into. Here's the DIY Link: http://cheesycam.com/diy-fader-nd-variable-nd-filter/

If you're not ready for Variable ND filters, at least grab a set of basic ND filters. Having more than one will allow you to stack them to block more light, or unstack them to allow more light. Just be careful of that vignetting. Click here for a list of Standard Neutral Density Filters.

#####New Product Alert####
Quick Note: There is a new brand of these Variable ND filters showing up online for 'HALF' the price. This is the first time i'm seeing them online, but it looks exactly like one of the brands above. If anyone has tried these, send in some demo videos. I'm going to give a try on one of these to see how it works out. Here's the link: New 'Cheaper' Variable ND Filters
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click image for pricing

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