How a Neutral Density Filter can save your life

How a Neutral Density Filter can save your life
(Last Updated On: 24th January 2018)
There is no feeling better in this world, than winning at life. That’s how my client Kara and her husband-to-be, Steven felt when they arrived at the gorgeous Aubrey Park Hotel to find that the sun was out and shining down brightly ….

I however knew that whilst the location was absolutely beautiful in the sunshine, today could pose me some tricky scenarios because as every good videographer knows: sun + white dress = potential for over-exposed disaster Fortunately I’ve worked in sunshine before and I knew my video camera with its built in Neutral Density filter or ‘ND’ filter would be able to save the day for me. ND filters are an essential piece of kit to have in your bag if your camera doesn’t have one built in. But, how does it work…? Well without getting too technical it is a piece of specially treated glass that you put in front of the camera to reduce the amount of light entering the camera. This eliminates the need to alter the iris, thus resulting in the ability to keep a shallow depth of field.

  Its essentially like having a pair of sun glasses for your camera.

ND filters come in many different shapes and sizes:

  • Circular
  • 4×4
  • 6×6
  • 4×5.65

They also come in different strengths:

  • 0.3
  • 0.6
  • 0.9
  • 1.2   and so on…

In general in the Wedding industry videographers will tend to either use a circular screw on ND filter which would attach directly to the lens or the camera would have a built in ND like my one. The other sizes would be used in a matte box which is a device used for holding filters and this will typically be seen on larger feature film cameras like the Arri Alexa, Amira or a camera from the ever expanding RED series. The strengths go up in .3’s and are directly proportional to 1 full stop of light reduction. So a ND filter rated at 0.3 reduces the light by one f. stop (This is true up to ND1.8. After that it gets a little weird)   So there you are a brief overview of the Neutral Density Filter and why I love it.

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