Filters, NDs, Blue Skies Beziers and Sony Levels?

Grazie wrote on 7/27/2004, 11:45 PM
Ok, over the past 3 days and speaking with Jay over in the Vegas Cafe, and using his link below as an excellent example of what I'm going to ask - what with the advent of Beziers and the various options to manipulate stuff in post, could I achieve anything anything that closley resembles the use of Matte Boxes and filters, but do it in Vegas5b? Half way down shows a shadowed portico WITH blue skies. PS is then used to "lift" out of the shadows the detail in the arch BUT the blue skies aren't blown - NEAT! Here is the PS example Jay pointed me at. So, with the judicious use of masks could I get close to this? Make a c/k mask and then lift the detail and then have the blue skies remain?

Also and in the same vein, now I can create a kinda graduated ND and slide it over video. I can also make masks and apply these to areas that I wish to "grub-out" from the original footage.

Yes, most likely the BEST way will still be Matte Boxes and NDs and other expensive filters . . . but if yah don't ask . .. yeah?

What has also got me going has been the latest article in this Month's Digit Magazine - you got it? It's on pages 88-89. Lighting Techniques, combining exposures, colour correction with levels and digital effects from master photographer Michael Freeman .. . .

Mr Freeman shows what PS can do with masks and grad filters to produce fogs and things. There is one neat use of a Red C/K and using the edge of fence to produce a mask to get that feeeling of depth. This is Michael's book.




farss wrote on 7/28/2004, 12:19 AM
in brief yes you can perform a lot of wonders in post but you have tp remember between DV25 compression and 4:2:0 sampling etc it's pretty easy to loose detail that cannot be recovered.
I had this happen last year, I'll say it's in some respects my fault. I was under the impression I was just there as a camerman wheras in fact the rest of the crew including the shows prodcuer were totally clueless.
Anyway the MCs hair ended up as just a white blob, nothing in post could help, I'm not saying any filters would have helped either BTW.

From the little I know things like graduated ND filters and polarising filters can make a either a big or a very subtle difference to a shot. The good glass ones made by Formatt cost big time as to matte boxes, but if you're carful with them the resin filters should give good service and for your cammy you shouldn't need large ones either.

For a cheap matte box, check out the ad at We bought one of those fold up ones and it's great, cheap, easy enough to fit to most cameras and will even hold filters and only another pro would know it didn't cost a motza.

I guess the other comment I'd add is, even if you can fix it in post and even if you got as good a result, it all takes time = money. Now even if you do this for a hobby not many of us have unlimited time for our hobbies so even then I think there's value in these things and just like good tripods and microphones, if you buy wisely they'll outlive many cameras and most likely us as well.

Grazie wrote on 7/28/2004, 12:38 AM
Bob, excellent advise .. and I even understood it too!

It's the old thing about just becasue I can do something - well nearly do it - doesn't mean to say it is the way to go. I would use these effects for clients that would give them the WOWeee response. It is that territory that is beginning to appear between Digital Video and Digital Photog that is becoming well traversed. And meaning that clients are subconciously "expecting" paintily and graphiksie-type treatments to their moderatley budgetted video of their organisation. This, Bob, I am doing. I now striving for and achieving for this "quirky" Brit-thing we see now in commercials and magazines. Your advise is excellent to getting THE shot corrected and suitable into the can. My approach, once done with my CircPolar, for example, I can then use neatly in V5b.

The Matte box thing is still an option. And yes the fold down thing is neat. I've seen one.

Your experience of the "hair" is now well etched on my brain - THANK you!

Interesting thread this .. .

Grazie wrote on 7/28/2004, 12:44 AM
Bob, just nbeen reading the Users forum on the Fold-up Matte box thing ... very very interesting . . I was too quick to dismiss it. Seems that the thing is rigid enough? Your experience?

farss wrote on 7/28/2004, 12:59 AM
It's got some form of stiffening material, much the same as the Hoodman stuff, they make little snoots for LCD viewfinders and bigger ones for monitors.
The clever bit is how it holds onto the lens, on the inside of the part that goes over the lens are rubber fingers so the thing can get a grip on the lens. You pull the strap that goes around the outside of the small end tight and it gets held by Velcro. Very quick to deploy and may even offer some protection to the camera in a tumble.
Main reason we got into matte boxes is for use with wide angle adaptors, way too easy to get major problems with flare.
The only thing with this matte box is you do need a lens that protrudes out the front of the camera. Seems to fit PD150 and DVD200 with W/A lens OK.
Heven't tried fitting filters to it, the only ones we've got are 4x4 to go into the Formatt matte boxes, I think this baby will only take 3x3.

BTW, had my first play with a Croziel matte box, now I can see why they COST. Beautiful engineering. If I had the money I'd buy one just to sit in the office for inspiration.
Grazie wrote on 7/28/2004, 1:11 AM
Oh yes the Croziel - how DO you pronounce that? - very nice indeed!

I've looked at the Kestrel and others too .. all a bit too "rich" for me . . .

Yes, as you may remember, I use the Canon XM2 - LOVE IT! - and my lens does . . er . .stick out . . But, the reall boon for me would be for the WD58h, a Canon Wide Angle that could truly benefit from the application of a Matte/Foldy . .. .

I'm interested as I say, how this system would attach to my wide angle? PLUS! Howzabout a circ polar for this setup? NOW this on my WD with this system would be .. well .. AWEsome!

So, for me it's about ease and use; set ups and get outs; fold aways and wides . . .

You got any pics of your setup with filters in place?


Grazie wrote on 7/28/2004, 1:25 AM
Bob! Just done my own search! What .. this stuff is well affordable! AND
there is a picture of it on my XM2 too! . . .

. .hmmm.. "It's a Beautiful Morning!"

farss wrote on 7/28/2004, 1:26 AM
I only work for the place that has them 2 days per week but I'll try to get a happy snappy and email it to you.

Been a while since I've looked at the cinematactics web site, think there was some talk of a rotating stage for the matte box. But be warned, with WA adaptors you may need very big filters, the Croziel I was playing with on a broadcast camera took 4x6 filters as it was a 16x9 JVC camera.
farss wrote on 7/28/2004, 1:33 AM
thought we might have had a picture of it on the website but not yet.
There's lot of good stuff there, including manuals for all the stuff we hire. BTW, if you see anything with 'Bob' in its name, I'm the 'Bob'
It's at Don't like giving blatant plugs but hey we're mostly a Sony shop.

Grazie wrote on 7/28/2004, 2:02 AM
Yes wide angle deep pockets . . yes, on the site there IS a rotating thingy!

Bob - thank you ..

AlexB wrote on 7/28/2004, 4:24 AM
Hi Bob and Grazie!
Very inspiring dialog. Sends me hunting for a matte box for my dvx100. It's Chrosziel, by the way, pronounciation still uncertain. Found a beautiful price list at
prices are not really inspiring, though.
FuTz wrote on 7/28/2004, 4:36 AM
Hey Grazie, did you just try the ColorCurves fx and choose "highlight shadows" in the presets?
Might work quite nice combined with a little boost of contrast in some cases...
farss wrote on 7/28/2004, 4:55 AM
still trying to find the money for a DVX100AE plus 16:9 lens and ALL the Chrosziel kit.
I've seen some footage shot with one at 25p and man it looks beautiful, I'll admit the guy using it knew what he was doing and it's not the sort of look I'd want to everything but it was sure hard to believe I was looking at video.
I know a lot of people dismiss the progrssive scan concept as being retrograde but I've now got clients who want to shoot stuff with a fair bit of motion and display it on PC screens. Short of shooting interlaced and running that thru some high end kit or shooting with fast shutter I might have finally found an excuse to buy one!

AlexB wrote on 7/28/2004, 3:56 PM
Looks like the Chrosziel Kit is a lot more money than the cam itself. The original sunshade is rather a design thing, not much help at blocking off stray light. But I have to get a decent tripod first.
If you are into 16:9 you might want to wait for the Canon XL-2, no need for an anamorphic adapter, so the price will be in the same range.

farss wrote on 7/28/2004, 4:20 PM
not wanting to start another XL2 war but at 16:9 the lens on the XL2 only goes out to about 50mm equivalent so you'd still need to either buy another lens or fit a WA adaptor. Also we'll have to wait and see how well the Cannon's image processing circuitry stacks up against the DVX100s. Also judging by past performance I doubt Panasonic are resting on their laurels, who knows what a DVX200 will bring to the table.

Another thing no one knows the answer to (yet) is how to fit follow focus gear onto a XL2.
rs170a wrote on 7/28/2004, 4:40 PM
You guys are right about the Chrosziel as it's generally considered "the" matte box to buy - if you can afford it, that is :-)
A much cheaper alternative are the matte boxes from CA Vision at
When I was looking, the Chrosziel was around $3500 Cdn. and theirs was about $1500 Cdn. - a big difference.
They may not have your exact camera model listed but I believe that they will fit a lot of the current miniDV cameras. Ask them to make sure.
You'll need to email them for current pricing as well. I checked them out a few years back and found them to be as rugged as I needed. Unfortunately my job at that time fell through so that wish list went out the window :-(
Another alternative is the Vocas line at
They have international dealers listed on their site.

rmack350 wrote on 7/28/2004, 6:30 PM
Sure you can do all sorts of nice things. Most of these whiz-bang effects in photoshop are just automated ways to do stuf you could do more manually in earlier versions.

For instance, In PS 6 you can use the selective color tool to select the shadows and then use levels on it to get the effect I see in the adobe example. I'm sure there are much less automated ways to do it than that.

Assuming you have photoshop (6.01 is just fine) you can find lots of tutorials on the web. It's worth it to learn how to do this stuff in PS. It's also a great excercise to learn how to translate it to Vegas.

You can definitely do grads, graduated masks, fading blurs, etc in vegas.

Rob Mack
Grazie wrote on 7/28/2004, 10:20 PM
Hello Rob,

Thanks for the general invitation to search for web tutorials. Your point is well made and heard.

Now, with your, "You can definitely do grads, graduated masks, fading blurs, etc in vegas." would you be prepared to create an itsty bitsy veggie with an ND and faded blurs example?


farss wrote on 7/29/2004, 1:29 AM
one thing you definately cannot do in post is one thing an ND is good for, controlling DOF.

Well, OK I've heard of it being done but....

Also if you've got a situation with too much contrast for the camera to handle, that's where graduated NDs can save the day. Say you've got a dark room with lots of light coming in the window which is going to get blown out. The ND filter can knock one side of the frame back X stops so you still can get the detail in the room without a burnt in window.

Grazie wrote on 7/29/2004, 1:44 AM
Agreed - G
FuTz wrote on 7/29/2004, 6:49 AM

Too bad that plugin Satish was trying to make didn't work (the one that would allow Vegas to use all Photoshop filters)...

For a good bunch of easy and very valuable tutorials for Photoshop, you guys can look at (tutorials).
rs170a wrote on 7/29/2004, 8:00 AM
"...too much contrast for the camera to handle..."

Invest in a few cheap bed sheets, the bigger the better.
White ones are great for draping across a window (outside if at all possible) to knock down light levels. Fold over as needed for more light reduction.

I had a situation recently where the room I was shooting in had several small windows and I did NOT want any outdoor light coming in. A few sheets of scrap cardboard placed in the windows solved that problem.
Cheap is good :-)