DIY Matte Box with Filter Holder

What's the purpose of a Matte Box? The big flags help shade the lens from flares or any little bit of light adding better color and contrast, and also allows placement of certain filters such as ND, Gradients, and Polarizers. With filters you would be able to control shutter drag, aperture, color, and other details. Nothing beats the real thing, but if you can't afford it, there's some clever DIY tutorials out there. YouTube member EquippedforMedia puts together a DIY Matte Box starting with a tray for a weighing scale. Filter holder is the popular Cokin P series, which i've used myself in Hawaii.

The Cokin Filter system is a light weight cheap filter kit (mostly plastic), but great for traveling and keeping things light. With a good Gradient ND Filter you can bring down the bright sky while still maintaining proper exposure on the landscape. Keep in mind these filters are not just for video, but enhance your Photography too. One thing to keep in mind that as you stack filters in front of the lens, it's harder to manage with Wide Angle Lenses.

So instead of going the DIY route to control Lens flare, Cokin already has a square hood with filter holder to get you started with a Matte Box type look, and filter holder functionality. They are also stackable so that you can make the hood longer or shorter. What you'll need to make this happen is the Filter Ring (choose correct size), Filter Holder, Square Hood (or several), and P Series Filters. You could probably score all of this for under $30 bucks.

Screen shot 2011-03-07 at 8.47.30 AM
find-price-button Cokin P Series Filters, Filter Holders, Square Lens Hoods

8 thoughts on “DIY Matte Box with Filter Holder

  1. @Kruzer: The Cokin holder I have is mounted on a ring, thus, the holder spins freely and you can adjust it if necessary (I assume the only time this would be necessary is with a linear polarizer or graduated filter... not simple ND filters). Also, my Nikon, Canon and Tokina lenses don't move where the filter is attached (the screw in threads on the front). Not to mention: the same problem would exist with any front mount (screw in) filter.

  2. Kenrik

    I have one, It does not spin on Nikon lenses.

    You can score the basic setup for around $10 on ebay, not bad. (ring,holder and one hood)

  3. Emm

    Post author

    @kruzer - The Canon lenses does not turn the front ring when focusing. It does not spin.

  4. kruzer

    The problem with Cokin mount is when you focus the entire Matte Box spins because it's mounted on the focus ring 🙂
    We're talking about Canon lenses here... and others as well.
    Not a good solution.

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  6. Jim

    If I were making this, I would pop rivet instead of using bolts. In addition make sure the pop rivets are alum. The other thing is to use a primer for aluminum and make sure the metal is clean esp with a solvent

  7. Emm

    Post author

    @joe - There's a specific size to these filters and several aftermarket companies make them. The difference you'll find is the clarity. Some are plastic and some are glass. Glass is more fragile and more expensive. Depending on your focal length you might not even notice much difference, so I would test with a simple Plastic ND first. They sell different densities and they are under $4 dollars. LINK>: For Cokin P Series Square ND Filter.

  8. joe

    what type of filters do you recommend, whats the cheapest ND Filter that does a pretty good job and doesnt give off a weird color, I am new so forgive me if I sound stupid, will Lee filters work with cokin p holder

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