Beauty Filter Test – 6 cameras, 18 filters to enhance digital on skin


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8910Black Glimmer Digital Diffusion FX ($225)
– Blk Glimmer Diff FX 1/4
– Blk Glimmer Diff FX 1/2
– Blk Glimmer Diff FX 1

This Filter is a combination of many filters and was especially designed with digital cinematography in mind. The purpose is to work on unclean or wrinkled skin and improve its looks. Unfortunately the screenshot on the left was taken with the younger actress who has very clean skin anyway.

As the name suggests this filter also has some Glimmerglass in it. The Glimmerglass effect is the same in all the strengths of the filter we had available (similar to Glimmerglass TM 1).
The filter does work a lot on the whole image and light sources get a large halo. The use of this filter surely requires a special situation or special taste.

11121314Digital Diffusion FX ($225)
– Digital Diff FX 1/4
– Digital Diff FX 1/2
– Digital Diff FX 1
– Digital Diff FX 2

The name of this filter is very promising. It sounds like this is exactly what we’re looking for. Is it?

The filter was especially designed to improve the skin and overall feel of digital images. It definitely adds softness to the image and it does that in an unobtrusive way. Especially the skin is softened in a nice way while maintaining most of the contrast and clarity.

A downside might be that it also makes the image look a little bit out of focus, which might or might not be what you’re aiming for. On the other hand, if you prefer the sharpness of digital then maybe a softness filter is not what you need…

The ratings of this filter we had at our disposal were too weak. Also the filter with the label “2” was weaker than “1” which according to Tiffen is due to a labelling error as mentioned earlier. If you intend to use this filter you will probably want to go higher than 1.

151617Soft FX Black Promist
– Soft FX 1/2 Blk Promist 1/8
– Soft FX 1/2 Blk Promist 1/4
– Soft FX 1/2 Blk Promist 1/2

Soft FX is a filter very commonly used by cinematographers. It’s popular just like “Black Promist” which this filter here as a mixture of. We wish we wouldn’t have received so many of these combo filters, but this is what we got.

The Soft FX series usually softens the image without losing overall sharpness which is the direction we’re looking for. It also creates a nice flare. If you’re interested in softness filters to enhance your digital image the Soft FX filter would be one you should also be looking at.
The Black Promist mixed in here blooms the blacks and adds some warmth into the halos of light sources. What we didn’t like was the overall softness this mixture creates. What is nice is that the filter seems to reduce contrast.

18192021Black Diffusion FX
– Blk Diff FX 1/2
– Blk Diff FX 1
– Blk Diff FX 2
– Blk Diff FX 3

We only tested the Black Diffusion FX filter series on the Red Mx and Canon C300 cameras. This set of filters is also very popular and it is a predecessor of the Digital Diffusion FX series tested here as well. This one is again aimed at smoothing skin and giving a more organic feel to it.

The “Black” in the name hints to the black dots which the filter consists of. Unfortunately these dots are visible in some of the highlights which might or might not matter to you. For the general audience it’s probably neglectable.

If you like the warm glow this filter adds it might be an option for you. We preferred the Digital Diffusion FX filter which had a more natural feel to it.

The Black Diffusion FX 1/2 filter seemed stronger than the Black Diffusion FX 1 which again lead us to the conclusion that it was labelled wrongly during manufacturing.

22Softnet Black 2

This filter, thrown in by us, is basically a female stocking inside glass which is an imitation of how softness was achieved in the old days of filmmaking when cameraman would wrap the back of their lenses in stockings. The filter reduces brightness by about 1/2 stop.

Music kindly provided by themusicbed: http://c5d.at/aural
Artist: “Aural Method”
Tracks:
• I Sought My Love Beyond the Hill, I Found Her Bathed in Waters Still
• Inside Its Cloak the Ocean Tide Held Songs of Restless Beasts
• As I awoke
• The Night Sky Broke in Open Stride as Weary Stars Increased
• The Golden Light Swelled Somber in the East
• Breathe Deep Your Chorus
• The Trees Had Scattered Garments Wide
• Caesura 2

ACTRESS ON THE LEFT: Sabina Schreib
ACTRESS ON THE RIGHT: Sonja Chan
HEADS OF PRODUCTION: Georg Geutebrück, Sebastian Wöber
CAMERA ASSISTANTS: Jacob Kohl, Ralf Woltron
DIT SONY F65: Thomas Cervenca
SCRIPTING: Laszlo Vancsa
MAKEUP: Verena Eichtinger
ON-SET PHOTOS: Wolfgang von Bánowski
CONSTRUCTION: Horst Pitschuch
LIGHTING TECHNICIAN: Franz Bruckner
COLOR CORRECTION: Willi Willinger

Watch it on Vimeo

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Sebastian WöberCasey Prestonhanan Recent comment authors
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[…] Cinema 5D recently did an amazing camera comparison shootout recently where they compared 6 cameras in a controlled environment with 18 different filters. The dubbed the project the “Beauty Filter Test”, and if you are at all curious about how these different cameras worked with these 18 different types of filters (for video) then check out this full video. […]

Casey Preston
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Casey

Great test. Thank you.

In regards to the perceived strengths of the filters that you believe were mislabeled, are you sure the filters were clean? In my own testing, I’ve made this mistake. I’ve come to realize that these filters do not remain clean when kept in their soft pouches and the resulting film that develops can cause quite a bit of diffusion. Plus, the only way to really see whether a filter is clean is to hold it up to a bright light source. This may not be your problem, but that Glimmerglass 1/2 test shot looks like a dirty filter to me.

Sebastian Wöber
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Sebastian Wöber

It was definitely clean, we had an assistant especially taking care of that and cleaning each filter every time.

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