Softening wrinkles with a Schneider Hollywood Black Magic Filter

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by StoneNYC, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Have any portrait photographers used this lens before? the [h=2]Schneider Hollywood Black Magic Filter[/h]
    I work in the movie industry and ESPECIALLY with older actors they of then use this to soften skin and make them look younger, I've never been able to see what one looks like through an SLR and video through a monitor doesn't really help me evaluate.

    They seem to have up to 5 different versions from 1/4 stop to 2 stops

    and it's not cheap.

    I'm curious to the preference anyone who's used them has as far as how strong a filter, I would be buying the 77mm version and they are VERY expensive, but I recently shot a female actor who was much older and she was unhappy with all the wrinkles that shone on her face, I don't use photoshop much and don't have the skills to soften her skin, but thought of this.

    There are also a few other brands that make a Hollywood Black Magic but this seems to be the most popular? I can't be sure, I'd like input.

    Anyone? Thanks!

    ~Stone
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If I want diffusion, I prefer to use a classic portrait lens (Verito, Heliar, Petzval) and large format, but David Mullen gives an excellent taxonomy of diffusion filters here--

    http://www.cinematography.com/index.php?showtopic=42112

    Other ways to smooth out wrinkles are softening the light, increasing the fill in relation to the main light, and retouching the neg of course.
     
  3. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    A soft light as close to the lens axis as possible does a good job of reducing wrinkles. When used with a Verito or variable softness Velostigmat or similar the wrinkles all but disappear.
     
  4. AgX

    AgX Member

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    ???
     
  5. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Stone you dont' mention which camera system you are using.

    I agree lighting is a big factor. I prefer actual soft lenses rather than the filters that were much abused for normal portraits in the 1970's/80's. Much practice is required and you can't see the actual result on the groundglass when using a soft focus lens; something close to it yes, the actual result come from experience not wysiwyg. Particularly the detail might be too little or much until you display it at the intended final size. An old soft focus lens on LF would be my choice because that's what I have. I like the Kodak 305 portrait and Reinhold's wollaston meniscus 190mm lens. I'd use the kodak at about 6.3 and the wollaston at f8 for a head and shoulders softly lit photo. I've use pentax's 67 and soft focus, but not enough to promise results. I've seen other people's excellent work with hassy+imagon combinations.
     
  6. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    I think the deal with these is they have less highlight glow and veiling flare.
     
  7. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Hey guys, until I buy a body, I don't have any LF cameras to use so any comment about ground glass is over my head as I have no experience with any of that. I don't want to buy a soft focus lens, they are even more expensive than these filters, the reason I'm looking at a 77mm filter is that I can use it on any system I own, (see my signature).

    If the movie industry uses them, then they must be fairly good, they are very particular about the kinds of filters they use in the movie industry.

    AgX what are you confused about? I've only seen them used on cinematic motion picture cameras and not on still cameras.

    I'm not looking for other options besides filters, I don't have the ability to buy all sorts of crazy specialized lenses, but the filter seemed like a good option. Just curious if anyone has used one before?


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

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  8. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    I won't always be using lighting, I had a situation with an older model and was using diffused window light, unfortunately I can't post an example since I was shooting "that other medium that shall not be named".

    I don't know what a Verito or Velosrigmat is... Are those lenses?


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

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  9. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    This article was VERY helpful, as David puts it the 1 and 2 stop black magic filters are too obvious. Good to know.

    I have NO CLUE how to retouch a negative, I only shoot 135 and 120, seems too tiny a format to be trying to alter by hand, at least for me, my fine motor skills aren't that great.

    Thanks for that. I don't always shoot with lighting so I was looking for a solution like this one, so more wondered about what type of filter to get for this rather than buying specialized lenses.


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

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  10. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    You could try the old trick of using a piece of stretched nylon stockings over the lens. I think it was the common technique for female "portraits" (movie) in the old days. Bogart was portrayed from below, no stockings, probably harsher light and Bergman was portrayed from above, with piece of stockings in front of the lens, probably softer light. I don't know if it is a solution which satisfies you, but cheap it is.

    An expensive alternative is the Minolta Rokkor 85/2.8 Varifocus lens, which has a ring allowing the photographer to set the desired degree of spherical aberration.

    http://www.rokkorfiles.com/85mm Page 1.htm (bottom of page)
     
  11. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    StoneNYC, you say you won't always be using lighting. Assuming you do not mean photographing in complete darkness, pay attention to your background and flare. Generally speaking, a low-key portrait against a black backdrop has less flare and more detail, ie. wrinkles and everything that adds that certain character to a face, hair etc. High-key, against a white background, or with a source of light close to lens axis, will cause fair amount of veiling flare, which softens a portrait a good deal. Try looking at portraits around you, and you should notice this.
     
  12. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Males and females need different lighting, as well as aged subjects. Many lower price filters will do the same thing as the expensive ones, however, if you have a lot of money to spend, you would tend to buy the best. Best can be defined many different ways. Good Luck.
     
  13. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Thanks ill try the stocking trick.

    Everyone else. I know it's hard to understand but I won't always have control of the light. The particular circumstance I experienced this was when the client insisted on picking the locations, and one was outside at high noon, no cloud cover etc, just worst light. The other was at her apartment, diffused window light, but the only acceptable background had me facing her on the side with her facing toward the window because the light was very low. I could not be AT the window because the light would be blocked by my body, and the background was the kitchen, so the only pleasant background was the off white wall.

    The point is I'm not really looking for lighting advice, I know how to diffuse and soften light with a light box, I'm looking for extra lens filter diffusion, so if you don't use these kinda of filters, then it doesn't help me evaluate their worth.

    Thanks for the advice this far, not trying to be rude, but I'm asking for advice about softening filters, thanks.


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

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  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    back in the day
    people not only used soft lenses,
    but pancake (base ) makeup
    and the negatives were blended and retouched with lead.
    it is not only the lens ...it is a whole photographic "system"
    and state of mind :wink:
    nothing is ever as simple as it seems ....

    you might also try the stocking with a cigarette burn in it
    or a smoked filter, or if you are enlarging, passing crkinly
    tea package cellophane between your lens and paper ..
    or get the lens off of your 1a folder and use it as an ENLARGING lens
    instead of a TAKING lens ...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2012
  16. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Thanks, those are pretty interesting ways of doing things, I like the center focus shot with the hole in the stocking.

    I own one of those filters with the hole in the center but honestly have never used it, I always forget.

    I suppose I'm assuming that in the movie industry they don't do a lot of post progressing on TV shows where they soften the faces frame by frame so my thought is this particular filter must be fairly good since its used often.

    I actually have no experience with enlarging at all, I don't optically print, the headshot game is impossible to do that way these days, they want the shoot today and the images tomorrow emailed/dropboxed to them so they can print them themselves for $1 per 8x10 at a reproductions store.

    I have an extra 1a lens, I'd love to put it to good use, but I don't even know what 'taking' means.

    I'm fully ignorant when it comes to optical printing, almost completely ignorant when it comes to LF and only three quarters ignorant when it comes to film processing / development in B&W color neg and transparency. And it's only taken me 18 years of shooting to get here :smile:


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

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  17. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    Ah, it came back to my memory another "dirty" (literally) trick in use in the old times, which consists in dirtying an UV filter with a layer of vaseline. The advantage of this solution is that you can control the amount of diffusion. I suppose for your purposes you could try to spread a very thin layer of vaseline.

    Not the most practical but very cheap, and validated by a long tradition.

    Never tried this personally.
     
  18. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Another make-shift diffusion technique is to smear vaseline (petroleum) jelly on a plain (skylight or UV) filter. The more jelly you leave on the filter increases diffusion; the less you leave minimizes diffusion. Not putting any in the center will get you that "center spot" look.

    I would like to foot-stomp an inssue raised earlier. SF filters are difficlut to judge by looking through them -- eitehr with the eye ball or with a "SLR". Often they look one way and the result on film is very different. I suppose that could be true also for non-film photography but I wouldn't know much about that.

    I have an entire herd of SF filters. Of them all I use 1 or 2 and hate the rest... for a variety of reasons. The best way to know is to buy and try. The various filter makers show examples in tehir catalogues. That is the next best (and most affordable) way to evaluate. Look at both the Tiffen and B+W filter catalogues.
     
  19. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Great minds think alike. I was tyoping same as you were typing. I've never tried it myself either. That stuff is goo-ey and yucky to handle.
     
  20. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    no worries from me stone

    when i say taking lens, i mean on the camera :smile: ( sorry for the lingo ! )

    what camera are you planning to do the soft-shots with ? LF or MF or 35mm ?
    you might use front focus and have your lens not open all the way
    but stopped down a little bit and focus on something infront of your subject
    and use the lens' natural ability to soften your subject. it isn't really that hard ...
    you could also shoot with something obstructing your lens and that can soften your subject too.
    when i say obstructing, i mean like a finger or something physically close to and infront of your lens
    when you expose your film ( or whatever ). try exposing everything with deep DOF but at very slow shutter speeds too
    ( 1/2 S ) long exposures have a way of softening things up too.

    have fun!
    john
     
  21. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Out-of-focus and motion blur as SF lens/filter alternatives... how novel... but it works, I suppose.
     
  22. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    ... and its free !
     
  23. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    I will mostly B&W shooting on 35mm canon EOS camera, either my 1V or another type, but also my Mamiya RZ67, since almost all the lenses in both systems use 77mm I figured this would be the cheapest option. And I have a 58-77 step down ring for the others.

    I'll have to find a really crappy filter to try Vaseline with, I would never do that with my B+W filters...

    I'm on set today and I'll try and ask the camera guys about it, but they are often super busy.

    Brian I'll take one of your lesser SF's since you don't use them :wink:


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

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  24. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    My preference tends toward duto filters, then softar I (and its imitators). Many of the others are just too soft an diffuesed for my taste.
     
  25. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Ask them about Harrison & Harrison Diffusion filters too. Those were very popular with the film industry.
     
  26. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    I think Harrison makes a black magic diffusion, I don't need the Schneider version just the hollywood black magic info, not specific to brand.


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

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