OK so the plan was to spend some time at Formatt Hitech to build a fairly comprehensive library of what you can expect from each type of filter – Full disclosure; I am an ambassador for the cine arm of Formatt Hitech. Of course COVID has not allowed the library to happen to the extent that I would have liked but I did manage to spend a day in their testing room. The specific reason for going there was to test the Firecrest ND range on our RED Gemini as I was impressed with the charts – but charts are charts and sometimes don’t translate to the screen! In this case they did and I bought a set, you can see the results below.
So while I was there I also had a look at what filters they had on site and my daughter very patiently sat in the chair. Apologies that the examples are only seen on 1 skin colour, in the future I’m hoping to make sure we can see how the filters react to a variety of skin colours.
At the bottom of this page I have put frame-grabs from each filter and a film sequence that shows 5 seconds of each filter in a family. These are not complete as the testing session was opportunistic and we just tested what we had. My last blog ‘Camera filters are so ‘old school’’ talked about how to create a colour wash with a filter that could then be counteracted with a key light of the opposite colour and I wanted to test this out. Lets start with these. Scroll down if you are just interested seeing examples of common diffusion filters and the ND tests.
The idea is to put a colour filter on the camera such as ‘Whiskey’ and then add the opposite colour to your key light. This will leave the subject lit by the key light as natural but there is a colour shift to the remainder of the image. The process and objectives are explained more fully in the earlier blog but ultimately the effect is to create a warm or cool feel to the image whilst keeping the skin tones natural. For the tests I used a RED Gemini camera with Celere prime lenses. The key light was a Falcon eyes 18. The camera and the Falcon eyes were balanced to 5600 kelvin. I fully accept that this is not a scientific test, I just wanted an idea of what was possible. In the frame grabs below you can see how the strong filter has forced the background towards a whiskey tone. The bottom 2 frames have had the keylight sent towards blue with half and then full CTB gels applied to the lamp. I have not graded anything, purely an in camera REC709 lut applied.
So I think to correct more accurately we would be looking at somewhere between the half and full CTB although grading out the blue in the final image would send everything a little more warm which could be very nice? At the bottom of this blog will be all the video files of these tests if you want to see moving image.
Below is the same principal but sending the background cool with a Cool blue filter. The key light was then shifted to warmer tones using grades of CTO gel on the lamp.
And finally a middle warm version using a lighter grade suede filter.
Since I was in the testing room I thought I’d also have a look at the legacy filter called Monochrome red. Formatt Hitech have a huge selection of their legacy filters which over the next few months I hope to explore more. I can formally announce that the monochrome red does exactly what it says on the tin and allows no frequencies but red through! Below is the set up where the key light was forced green with a green lighting gel and the frame grab of what the camera sensor saw.
Here are the films of the above examples
Below are some frame grabs and films that show the effects of different grades of commonly used Formatt Hitech filters. They are just here for reference should anyone need to see how they perform.