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ND Filters

Lesson 16 from: Videography 101: How to Use Your Camera to Record Videos

Tomas George

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Lesson Info

16. ND Filters

<b>In this lesson, we will talk about ND filters, including hard stop and variable ND filters and their uses.</b>
Next Lesson: Polarising Filters

Lesson Info

ND Filters

OK. So now let's talk about filters for your camera lens. Let's first talk about ND filters which stands for neutral density filter. These are basically sunglasses for your lens and will make your image darker. So an ND filter will juice the amount of light going into your lens and hitting your sensor. It's an essential piece of equipment. If you're going to be filming videos outside. Some cameras like the Sony ZV. One do have a built in ND filter, but most cameras will not have one built in an ND filter is not as necessary for photography, but it's definitely something to have in your kit bag. If you plan to film videos outside, let me explain exactly why you need one for recording videos outside. So when you film videos, you want to make sure your shutter speed is double your frame rates. Let's say we record at 25 frames per second. Now shutter speed needs to be 1/50. This number is fixed, but we can adjust our iso and aperture. The lowest iso for most cameras is maybe 80 or 100. If ...

we set our aperture to the lowest F stop number for example, F 1.8 then an image may be overexposed as there's a lot of natural light when we film outside. So to properly expose our image, we need to decrease the aperture or increase the F stop number on our camera. If we do this though, then we may not get that shallow depth of field or blurry background, which we may want to make our shot look more cinematic. So to get this blurry background when recording outside, what we need to do is reduce the amount of light going into our camera and hitting our sensor by adding an endy filter. That way we can increase our aperture and use a low S stop number to allow us to get that blurry background effect. While filming outside, we actually get two types of ND filters, hard stop and variable ND filters. A hard stop Andy filter has one level of darkness and you can screw this onto your lens and it will let less light enter into your camera. We can select how dark we want this hard stop Andy filter and how much it will reduce in stops. We could choose one stop, three stops, five stops or seven stops. For example, hard stop ND filters can be higher quality than something like a variable endy filter. But variable ND filters may be more convenient at times as if you're outside. You may not know the exact amount of light that you wish to reduce and you may need to have a collection of different hard stop ND filters and you still may not be able to get the exact level of darkness that you need for your shot. Variable ND filters. On the other hand, allow you to adjust the strength of your ND filters. Darkness you could put this on your lens and then twist the variable endy filter to set the desired level of darkness. A variable ND filter is essentially two pieces of glass that you twist to properly expose your image outside for when you want to have a low F stop number. So I recommend these when you want to film outside quickly and you don't want to buy a large collection of filters. The quality may not be quite as good as hard stop endy filters. But as I said, they're much more convenient. Also endy filters will come in different strengths. So just be aware of that. For example, it may go from three stops of darkness to seven stops of darkness. By the way, the higher the stop, the darker the endy filter will go, you can get one ND filter or you can get a kit which has two endy filters which may be high quality. A lot of kits will go from say 2 to 5 stops and 6 to 9 stops. These will cost more though. But as I said, there may be higher quality, a lot of different ND filters can actually use different numbers to describe the strength of the ND filter which can be a little confusing at times when you look up ND filters online on stores like Amazon. It may say something like ND two to ND 32 or it may say numbers like 0.3 to 1.5. These are both the same, but some filters will use a different way of displaying the filter strength. So ND two is one stop of darkness and 0.3 is also one stop of darkness. This is the stops on your camera. So going from F four to F 2. is one stop and going from F 2.8 to F two is also one stop. Let's talk about the ND system for measuring stops. So ND two is one stop. ND four is two stops. ND eight is three stops. ND 16 is four stops. ND is five stops and so on and so forth. Let's now talk about the next system for measuring stops and that is the endy decimal system. So 0.3 is one stop, 0. is two stops. 0.9 is three stops. 1.2 is four stops and 1.5 is five stops. So when getting an endy filter, I recommend getting one that goes down to at least seven stops of lights. So seven stops of light will be ND 128 or 2.1 or if you're going to be filming in really bright conditions, maybe consider getting one that goes down to nine stops. This will be ND 512 or 2.7. Remember if you want to film outside and you want to use a low F stop number, they'll recommend using an ND filter. I generally recommend a variable endy filter as these can be more convenient than hard stop endy filters. And I also recommend getting one that goes down to maybe 7 to 9 stops of lights. That way you can get that blurry background effect for your shots outside. Ok. So that's Endy filters. Thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next one.

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