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Using a Low Contrast Filter

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 5/20/2010

Learn all about altering a video image with a low contrast filter.

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    Digital Video Filters

    There are a whole host of different filters that you can employ when trying to alter the image in your digital video or film project. Some of these filters are based around a simple principle and will do exactly what is expected. This is what drives the use of a low contrast filter.

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    Using a Low Contrast Filter

    A low contrast filter, as the name implies, will reduce the over all color contrast in your motion film or digital video image. The low contrast filter is found in varying intensities in accordance with different amount of color contrast reduction you may want done to the motion film or digital video image.

    You can expect the low contrast filter to make serious alterations to all parts of the image, but especially darker locations with shadows. It does this by taking highlights and giving them representation in these areas of shadow. The low contrast filter will make every single color have a softer look instead of having sharp opposition to each other.

    You are going to find that there are many different names and variants of the low contrast filter, but it is important to look at exactly how much the colors are made less saturated in the over all image. Before actually buying the low contrast filter make sure that you actually see how it looks.

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    Diffusion Filter?

    One of the main reasons to use the low contrast filter is that it will reduce contrast, but it will not make a major effect on the definition of the lines in the image. This means that with the reduction in contrast you do not have to also cost yourself image sharpness. This is what separates low contrast filters from diffusion filters.

    Diffusion filters will go ahead and make all lines softer, which may also reduce color contrast. Low contrast filters, unlike diffusion filters, will make the only top priorities instead of an overall soft glow. A low contrast filter is going to end up giving you more image control. It is also important to note that exposure compensation is not going to be important with a low contrast filter.