Post Production: When To Use a Camcorder Filter

Many camcorder filters are used because there are just some things that cannot be fixed in post production but can be avoided if you use the correct filter. Filters are always used by professionals though your average videographer will not because of the time and cost associated with filters. If you are planning on using your camcorder a lot to create videos than you will find that filters will be worth the time and trouble.


Why Use Filters?
Filters were originally used because the film stock was rated to be used as specific color temperatures. Therefore different lighting will cause an inconsistent picture and filters can make the colors the same no matter where you shoot. Now most camcorders will have a white balance that can take care of any lighting issues and for the average shooter these color differences are not a problem. However, filters ensure that you make everyone and every image look great, no matter the conditions.


Types of Filters
A UV filter is used to get rid of the haze created by UV light. Many times this lens can also be used just to protect the camera lens. A polarizer filter lens is used to increase the contrast and color saturation. It will decrease any reflections and you cannot create the effect of using a polarizer lens in post production. A natural density filter is used to shrink the depth of field. You can soften the background while keeping the main subject in focus. A color conversion filter is used to reduce different tones depending on what you need. An amber filter will reduce blue tones and make skin tones look warmer and healthier. A pro mist, soft F/X and diffusion filter are all used to reduce contrast, soften and smooth out textured surfaces. Pro mist filters tend to add a glow to the picture.


Special Filters
There are some specialized filters such as a star effect filter that will make light source look like stars. Thin lines will be etched from any light source. An infrared filter is used for black and white film in order to get rid of haze and show objects that are at different temperatures. A graduated filter is split into 2 halves. One of these will have a filter and the other is clear. This way you can smoothly make a transition between two different elements.


High Definition
If you are planning to shoot in high definition then you will need to use filters. High definition captures every wrinkle and flaw on the skin as well as different textures. Filters are needed to soften these flaws without having the look of being filtered.


Using Filters
If you are planning on using filters then mounting them can be an issue. Many times a matte box is the best as you can easily add or change filters. You can also use more than 1 filter. These boxes can cost a few hundred dollars. Some filters may be available in round sizes that can be screwed directly onto the front of your camcorder. Make sure you determine the size of your lens to get the right sized filter.


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