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Enhance Your Video Projects with Lens Filters

written by: Kumara Velu•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 5/20/2010

Would you like to add a breathtaking visual edge to your videos without having to tinker with the controls of your video editing program? Use lens filters.

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    If you’re new to lens filters you should note that lens filters are useful when you need control over

    • Brightness
    • Light quality
    • Focus
    • Resolution

    You may say why bother with lens filters when your video editing program has all the controls for the above features? For one, you may not have enough time to tinker with effects when you’re editing. Depending on the program you’re using, you may have to fork out cash to acquire a plug-in to create filter effects.

    Tinkering with effects may be very time consuming especially when you can get easily distracted by the dozens of effects available and the variations you could produce.

    In this article we shall look at polarizers, neutral density filters, graduated color filters and diffusion filters

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    The most versatile among the abovementioned filters is the polarizer. They help you control three important aspects of your video: brightness, quality of light and color. Is there a strong reflection on the surface of a glass while you’re shooting? Use a polarizer to eliminate or keep reflection to a minimum.

    Polarizers can also do a good job in keeping down specular brightness. This is the tiny, but bright reflections from glass, water or shiny metal.

    Polarizers come with two rings. Use the back one to screw it on to your camera lens. You can then rotate the front part freely in order to control brightness to your desired level.

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    Neutral Density Filter

    If you want to control the amount of light entering your lens, a neutral density filter will do a good job for you.

    Neutral density filters work by opening your camera’s aperture. This results in a reduction of the depth of field and in most instances, the filter throws the background out of focus. As such, it’s ideal if you’re capturing portraits with a distracting background.

    To give your video a sophisticated look, you could opt for a graduated neutral density filter which gives your video brightness on one side and gradually moves towards darkness.

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    Graduated Color Filter

    If you like to play with color in your video, screw on a color filter for some breathtaking effects. Using a graduated color filter you can turn a bright sky into a sunset. A graduated blue or green filter could add zing to lifeless colors or dull-looking clean water.

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    Diffusion Filter

    If you need to alter the default resolution of your lens, a diffusion filter would do the trick. If you don’t have access to a dedicated diffusion filter, you could improvise one with a clear UV filter. You could, for instance, smear Vaseline or petroleum jelly to give your video a soft focus romantic look.

    Diffusion filters come in handy when you’re shooting portraits. It could be used to gloss over unsightly lines or wrinkles in the subject’s face.