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Any need for a 85 filter now ? (2 replies and 3 comments)

canada30413
2 weeks ago
canada30413 2 weeks ago

Just have a small question...When we shoot on film these days, is it necessary to add a filter such as an 85 filter to balance the stock with the environment?  There is a loss of around 2/3 stop for adding these kinds of filters, and actually, it is so easy to correct it in the DI...

dmullenasc
2 weeks ago
dmullenasc 2 weeks ago

Yes and no.  It's not necessary... but it isn't a bad idea if you have the light for it.  If you shoot in daylight-balance on tungsten-balanced stock without the 85 correction filter, you have a blue cast to the image, so your red, green, and blue levels in the scan are imbalanced, heavy on the blue or weak on the red depending on how much you exposed the negative. You can rebalance to get back to neutral and most of the time, it looks fine.  If you overexposed too much, your blues can pick up some noise if they are too dense on the negative, or if you underexposed too much, your reds can get noisier because they have to be pushed brighter to compensate.  But these artifacts might be very subtle, not enough to worry about.

My attitude tends to be "yes, I can push the individual RGB levels a certain amount to get the blue image back to neutral, but what if I want to color-correct it for a warm image? Now, I'm pushing the different levels harder to get beyond neutral."  So if I'm shooting a movie where I plan on a general warmth to many daytime scenes, like a desert movie, I prefer to get the negative closer to neutral if not warmer, or use daylight-balanced stocks.  If I'm shooting a movie with a general coldness to day scenes, like a winter forest movie, I'm fine with having a negative that is biased towards blue.

You can also use a partial correction like an 81EF filter or a light Coral, losing 1/3-stop instead of 2/3-stop. There is a filter made by Tiffen called the LLD which is basically a super Skylight filter -- it cuts excess UV and slightly brings down the excess blue, and is pale enough that you can ignore the filter factor.  I've tested it and found my printer lights do show a little less imbalance in the blues.

But I've also done whole movies without the 85 filter, but as I said, I tended not to time them to the warm side for daytime scenes.

dmullenasc
2 weeks ago

I'd add that if you are shooting digital and are recording in Rec.709 display gamma, like on a DSLR, then it's better to record something closer to your final color balance. You don't have "hidden" color information like you do in a film negative, so if the video image is very blue, it lacks red information and is hard to rebalance without ending up desaturated.

canada30413
2 weeks ago

Very very detailed explanation!! Thanks a lot @dmullenasc !!

Roger Deakins
2 weeks ago
Roger Deakins 2 weeks ago

Yes, I totally agree. The only other downside to having a filter in front of the lens is any interior flares that might cause. In such circumstances I shoot without the 85 for the one shot, or for the specific scene, which has those issues. Yes, you can correct back when you shoot without the 85 but, from various tests I have made over the years, it seems to me that your shadows will always be colder than if you had corrected on the camera. Of course, that is less of an issue with a digital finish but it is something to be aware of if doing a photo-chemical finish. I used this particular aspect of the way film behaves when I shot 'Shawshank Redemption' on a tungsten stock with no correction as I wanted the slightly cooler shadows.

canada30413
2 weeks ago

Thanks for the precious experiences Mr.deakings !!

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