BLACK SATIN FILTERS: By Tiffen
I recently did a project with a tremendous amount of creature effects as well as one very extensive makeup and prosthetics. The first concern for the teams is always “How can we make it look more organic?”. Knowing that we didn’t have the option to shoot film, I opted for the Arri “Alexa” for a number of reasons but ultimately due to the fact that its image structure and natural falloff is the most “film-like” of all the digital systems I have seen. However, even with this system it is still limited by the fact that it is an electronic image, everything is sharp and uniform (you dealing with 1’s & 0’s and not randomized organic film grains). In order to help take the digital “edge” off of HD cameras, cinematographers have done a number of things over the years- the first of which was filtration, but in beginning (2002) the only options available were the classics (Classic soft, Glamour glass, Fog, Soft FX, White/Black Pro-mist, and Netting the back of lenses with pantyhose…). Another action taken was to shoot with very old lenses- basically the ones you didn’t want to shoot film with because they had lost their sharpness and maybe had an unusually shallow focus. The last option was to downgrade the image in post (adding “grain”, lowering the sharpness, or adding a layer of diffusion), but we all remember how good the post filter world was back then right?…not the best.
Focusing on filter specifically, we have come a long way. The glass I mentioned above always seemed to either do way too much or nothing at all, until now. I got the chance to finally test the new Tiffen Black Satin® filters and was very happy with the results. The major differences between the these and the former Pro-mist Tiffen line are:
The amount of blooming of highlights
The absence of mixed contrast fogging
The naturalized fine detail smoothing
This is an example I found (I can’t upload any of my film yet, sorry) that shows an example of with and without filtration. The LEFT frame is filterless and the RIGHT is with a Black Satin 1.
Below is a video example that shows the filters on two different skin pigments as well as with a raw light source.