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This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
Robbie Carman: So I'm here with DP, Kevin Bradley. And Kevin I'm looking at your camera setup. Looks pretty straightforward, but what do we got going on here at the end of the camera? Kevin Bradley: Well Robbie, this is what's called a matte box. Robbie Carman: Okay. Kevin Bradley: The whole purpose of a matte box, is to block the light. Robbie Carman: Okay. Kevin Bradley: Now a lot of people say, why do I need a matte box if I've already got a lens hood? The reason you need a matte box is it's a better lens hood, it has more features. Robbie Carman: Sure. Kevin Bradley: It's also a lot more stable. It's something that will actually stabilize the overall camera package. Especially when you're shooting with these DSLRs. One of the biggest problems is stability.
And one of the things you can do to add stability to the camera, is adding 15 millimeter lightweight rails. The matte box is part of that whole setup that brings it together. Robbie Carman: So we attach rails to a mounting plate, back here on our tripod. Kevin Bradley: Yep. Robbie Carman: And then, the actual mount for the matte box slides onto those rails down here. Kevin Bradley: Yep. It's a simple little setup like this. Pulls off with a single thumbscrew. No tools needed. Basically, it just goes back onto the 15 millimeter round and locks down. Robbie Carman: And so I've seen matte boxes that have, you know, that mount like this with, sort of these donuts in the back. Kevin Bradley: Yep. Robbie Carman: Kind of like just masks that go over the lens.
I've also seen ones that swing out. Kevin Bradley: Yep. Robbie Carman: You know, they're a little more pricey. If you need to do quick lens changes. Kevin Bradley: They're also heavier. Robbie Carman: They're also heavier. But then, up here in the front of the matte box, I notice that we have what looks to be a filtering stage. Explain what's going on here. Kevin Bradley: Well, like I said, about a matte box being a better lens hood, it's better in every single way. Not only are you filtering the light with the material, the light is being cut off by the French flag here, sometimes you have side wings that'll cut off side light that's cutting in and can create really nasty lens flares. But you also have filter stages, and right here I have one filter stage, which I believe this is a, this is a four by four.
Robbie Carman: Okay. Kevin Bradley: We've got a Tiffin number three ND filter in this one. And then in my back, I have a rotator. Robbie Carman: Oh, so, cool. So, like, if you wanted to put, say like, a polarizer or something like that in, you could rotate it as well. Kevin Bradley: That's exactly right. And it, really, the, the biggest thing that you would want to put into a rotating filter tray is a polarizer, mostly a circular polarizer, because the way a polarizer works is that it's like Venetian blinds, you have to be able to change the angle. Robbie Carman: Right Yeah, totally. Kevin Bradley: The other thing that you would put in there is a graduated filter. Robbie Carman: Okay. Kevin Bradley: Something that would, lets say Robbie Carman: So if you wanted to add maybe a touch of color to the sky.
Kevin Bradley: Touch of color. Robbie Carman: Then you can keep everything else normal color, you can do it that way. Kevin Bradley: They also have neutral density graduated filters, so that if your sky is extremely bright and you want to take that down and get a nice pretty blue sky. Robbie Carman: Yep. Kevin Bradley: You can do that with a graduated filter. Robbie Carman: So then in front of the filter stage, we actually have the matte box, the box itself, right? Kevin Bradley: Yep. Robbie Carman: And as you pointed out, sort of, this is a little bit more sophisticated sort of lens set. Obviously, it's going around the lens, protecting light from going in. But we also have a flag here on the top. Now this particular matte box has a single flag. Kevin Bradley: Right. Robbie Carman: But you can find matte boxes obviously, they got a flag on top, bottom, left, right, and so on and so forth.
Kevin Bradley: Yeah, this one's very simple. I mean, it basically just has a French flag, so you can cut off the light that's coming in from above from the sun. Robbie Carman: Mm-hm. Kevin Bradley: It doesn't have the side wings. But, you know, you can use flags. Robbie Carman: Right, sure. Kevin Bradley: And stuff like that on set. This one's just very simple. It's no nonsense. I believe this one here will actually clamp in. Use 15 millimeter rods if you have to do that. Robbie Carman: Okay. Kevin Bradley: There's advantages and disadvantages to doing that. A clamp-on matte box tends to put a lot of weight onto the front of the lens, which is going to put a lot of stress on your lens mount.
Whereas these 15 millimeter brackets. Robbie Carman: They're supporting some of that weight. Kevin Bradley: They're supporting some of that weight. And I find them to be a lot more solid. However, they do add more weight to the overall camera package, because you have more material. Robbie Carman: Cool. Well, I think you can see using a matte box, really straightforward, and you know, a very useful thing. And Kevin, let's turn around and get a shot of our town here and go from there. Kevin Bradley: Sure.
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