Lighting filters? Your favs

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Nick Zentena, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Can people mention what they consider thier favorite filters? Or at least thier most used?

    I'm getting a Light Bastard Amber and a Nile Blue #70.
     
  2. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    For people, products, or backgrounds? :wink:
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Yes -)

    I'm basically wondering what people would consider a basic toolkit. What should everybody have?
     
  4. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    Aer you talking in front of the lens or in front of the light source filters?
     
  5. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    In front of the light. Roscolux type sheet filters.
     
  6. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Here's what I carry round for location use - usually for combining the existing lights (practicals) with mine.

    A full set of CTO and CTB, including all fractional values, and plenty of them. (I'd consider these 'must have' filters)

    Full CT straw and a few fractional CTS, sheets and rolls.

    Wheat; straw; sun color straw, sheets and rolls. (you don't need all of these, but it's nice to have at least one 'near CTO but not CTO'. Obviously straw and wheat are a matter of personal taste. Sometimes I would prefer hay.

    Daylight blue frost (for blondes. Oops, sorry, 'yellows' and other open-face lights like broads. Oops, there I go again. Why have blondes and redheads been PC'd to yellows and reds, but we can still say 'broads'? Huh? Haven't they spotted that one? And what exactly is wrong with calling them blondes and redheads anyway? I'll tell you: it's a plot by those envious brunettes.)

    English rose, pale gold, dark salmon, cosmetic highlight (I haven't the faintest idea what these are for*, but they impress people and that's not a bad thing)

    Golden amber, bastard amber, medium bastard amber (these are useful, in fact)

    Plusgreen (CC30G), half plusgreen (CC15G), quarter plusgreen (CC075G) and a variety of other fluorescent correction filters. I very rarely use plusgreens because I prefer not to balance to fluorescents - a last resort. If I know that I'm going to have to use existing florries, and can't replace the tubes, I'd try to sleeve the existing tubes with magenta (minusgreen, as they call it).

    ND 0.3, 0.6, 0.9 (These letters and numbers mean something to someone)

    2 sheets of polarizing foil

    If I know that I'm going to need it I'll take a roll of 0.6 ND + Full CTO

    Best,
    Helen
    * well, maybe a little bit of an idea.
     
  7. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Does this mean you also carry a colour meter? Yikes sounds like a big toolbox :smile:
     
  8. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Yes, I carry a colour meter but it’s possible to get remarkably close without one. I found that it was something that improves with practice and experience – albeit meter-assisted experience. I like to look into the lights from the subject's position - comparing the sources - as well as looking at the effect of the lights.

    Minolta CM II’s are fairly cheap on eBay and they are OK for continuous light, but I would advise considering the IIIF which is better all round. Unfortunately the second-hand market isn’t yet flooded with ridiculously cheap discarded CM IIIF’s. Some of those digital preverts have found a use for them, and I guess that there are a lot of film people who couldn’t afford one at nine hundred bucks but can at five or six hundred bucks. However, I suspect that it won’t be long before a lot of the things that were done in the field by simple, but expensive, colorimeters are done better by cheaper, more accurate, more versatile spectrophotometers, and colour meters will go the way of densitometers.

    Apart from the long rolls, those filters don’t actually take up a lot of room, especially in comparison to the lights, stands, booms and other paraphernalia. My suitcase-style GTV Novelight has a convenient compartment that holds several filters. The Novelight (a 2 x 1 kW switched plus 1 kW on a dimmer, folding aluminium softbox), a folding reflector, a couple of stands and a set of CTO, CTS and CTB gels is a very good, simple, portable kit.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  9. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Funny thing is I was wondering if a digital camera could be used for a poor mans colour meter. I guess not? Maybe not 100% accurate but it would seem it should be possible to take a test shot at say 5000K and then see how far off it is from reality.
     
  10. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    I'd think that trying to use the LCD display on a digital as a color meter would be rather misleading, as well as laborious. The display just isn't accurate enough, and most economical digitals lack sufficient white-balance control to tweak the image's color balance sufficiently.

    Getting back to my original "For people, products, or backgrounds" question, I think the choice of lighting gels depends on the objective. I'd see the spread of objectives as:

    1. color correction - i.e. balancing the light to the sensitivity range of the film,

    2. color enhancement - e.g. slight warming or cooling skin tones for an artistic objective,

    3. color drama - e.g. adding a splash of color, or perhaps several, to give the image more visual impact, and

    4. background color adjustment - gelling the background differently than the light on the subject, again for artistic and/or visual-impact purposes.

    When doing product work, for example, there may be specific objectives for background color based on psychological impact of various colors, perhaps combined with the need to match, compliment, or contrast with logo colors, and so forth. Additionally, the relative intensity of background lights will vary the final color rendition. Thus, choices (and, lighting levels) can become rather complex.

    Helen's "standard" gel kit shows a wide range of objectives and on-site flexibility, I think.

    I think I've posted this image here before, but it makes a good example. The background was a Thunder Gray seamless paper. The objective was to gel the background, and control the light fall-off to produce a Tequila-sunrise sort of effect that was complimentary to the bright yellow head scarf.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Nick mused: "Funny thing is I was wondering if a digital camera could be used for a poor mans colour meter. I guess not? Maybe not 100% accurate but it would seem it should be possible to take a test shot at say 5000K and then see how far off it is from reality."

    Well, on the one hand, yes, but on the other, no, but definitely maybe.

    It's going to depend on whether you need absolute colour temperature accuracy (matching light with film); or just relative accuracy (matching lights) and approximate absolute accuracy, if you see what I mean. For most purposes I suspect that a digital camera would do the job, though the colour meter would have the advantage of giving you a quantified indication of how much you need to change - which may not be a huge advantage. Anyway, it's one of those things that's better tried in practice than theorised about.

    I confess that, when shooting movies, I have used a P&S digital camera to show the director the effect of mixed lighting, or the difference between a CTO and a CTS.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  12. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Thanks. Not perfect matching but more a sanity check. It's too easy for me to get fooled sometimes. The eyes just adjust.