Definition June 2023 - web




we find companies like Revar Cine naming its filters Scarf Dust and PA Tears, which is amusing to anyone who’s had a bad day working as a production assistant. It’s been mentioned that the Tears filter is cooler than the Dust. Whether that’s down to innate characteristics of the filter, or just because the person who wrote the comment happened to shoot a slightly bluish subject that day is hard to tell – but that’s half the fun. If any of these optically generated looks were easy to characterise, the conversation wouldn’t be such a good way to while away a lazy pub lunch on a day off. Putting filters at the back of the lens isn’t new either, but putting manufacturer-specified elements back there is an innovation if

only because it (largely) requires that hardware to be designed specifically for the lens in question. There have been lenses with rear or internal filter mounts before – mostly that’s meant stretching bits of stocking across the back of the lens – but precision positioning can make some interesting things possible. Rear-mounted filters can have advantages of geometry and consistency over other types, particularly where a streak filter won’t have its straight lines bent into arcs by the inevitable distortion of the lens. The main attraction, though, seems to be things like Arri’s Impression series of lens elements, which can give the company’s Signature Prime series the expressive out-of-focus behaviour we mainly see in obscure and ancient stills designs. Some people may still prefer to reach for those storied lenses of antiquity, but the advantage of doing it with a filter is innate to filtration: if it starts

FILTER THROUGH Tiffen’s Warm Diffusion filters give an in- camera cinematic look to skin tones

causing problems, we can take it off and get immediate access to all the performance of a fast, sharp, rectilinear modern lens design. Some people have referred to the peak of streaming TV as creating a golden age of television cinematography, and that’s reflected in the creativity we see in finding interesting new effects. The idea of deliberately firing a flashlight into a lens to create flare is almost an everyday occurrence, and there have long been actively illuminated filters, such as Panavision’s Panaflasher, designed to lift black levels and thereby moderate contrast. The advent of tiny, powerful, colour-mixing LED lights has provoked people to riff on the

LIKE A GLOVE Arri’s Impression filters are tailor-made for detuning the Signature lines of cinema lenses

“Some people may still prefer to reach for those lenses of antiquity, but the advantage of doing it with a filter is innate to filtration”

59. JUNE 2023

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