Filters have been used on cameras almost since the beginning to improve the image, especially in conditions like bright, ambient light that can seriously impact the detail captured. But there’s a new filter out there by SLR Magic, which promises to even out skin tones to make actors look better, especially when using digital effects.
Do you remember the black blue/gold white dress debate recently? Depending on who you talked to, this horizontally striped dress would either appear black and blue or gold and white. It just depended on who you talked to, the time of day, etc. That’s because the light was bouncing off the dress and being picked up by our own internal image sensor, which then assigned color and shade values to it. But then you put the image of the dress into Photoshop and suddenly it was blue and orange?
It’s not a perfect analogy, but you’ll get the point. Now, consider Photoshop like the SLR Magic filter. The light is reflecting off our actors much like it reflects off the dress. We can’t see the infrared, nor can our brain process it, but the digital image sensor in our camera knows that it’s there and accounts for it.
So, while we see something we think is the way we want it, the digital sensor also sees the infrared and assigns a different color value in the processor before it writes it to file. Toss in a neutral density filter and it’s even worse. Thus, we have to color balance in the end because the image looks darker along with some blue tint, and we end up missing critical details in the image due to having to color correct.
But the SLR Magic Image Enhancer Pro filter works by evening out light reflected across the entire spectrum, thereby giving the sensor the information as we see it and a more accurate depiction of the colors as they are reflected off the subject. So the skin tones look more natural, and less in need of color correction.
As you can see from the image above, the Image Enhancer Pro doesn’t allow the red light to spike or bleed into the image, while at the same time allowing more of the natural light through, evening it out into a gentle slope that is consistent all across the image plane.
Specs for the filter include:
- 50 optical coating layers
- 86, 82, 77, 72, 62 filter threads
- Even spectral response across the visible spectrum
- IR blocking doesn’t cut into visible red light
- Reduces red cast in some variable ND filters
The filter is designed to work in concert with neutral density, and variable neutral density filters and manages to reduce the red light that can so easily bleed into your image. And as a bonus, the colors will look enhanced, because you’re never really seeing colors from a digital image sensor this even. That’s the promise at least.
Now sure, you could just run a basic color correction, but the better the image you have to start with, the easier that grading will be, and the more accurate, which is vital when you’re showing your actors and clients the playback, and want them not to feel self conscious about the raw image out of your camera. I mean, you can only say “We’ll fix that in post” so many times.
No word on how much the filters will run, but they will be available this Fall.
Hat Tip – NFS