Lens Effects: A Filter for Every Occasion

It’s June, and you’re spending an extraordinarily beautiful day at the beach. The sun is brilliant. The sky is blue. Children are laughing as they build an empire in the sand. Your camcorder is in tote to capture the scene. That day, you shoot excellent video of vintage memories.

Then tragedy strikes. You discover your handicraft sabotaged by the very elements that you thought would make it great. You discover that the powerful sunlight exceeded the exposure ability of your camera. In every scene, there are areas completely washed out. On top of it, tiny grains of sand infested your camera lens that now seem impossible to clean. How could both of these tragedies been avoided in one step? With a simple little device called a neutral density (ND) filter. In fact, there are a variety of benefits you can glean from using filters. Among them are lens protection, color enhancement, color correction and special effects.

In its simplest definition, a filter is a piece of glass that attaches to the front of a camcorder’s lens. There are three basic styles of lens filters. The first is a round filter that screws directly onto your camcorder lens. The second is a square filter that slides into a mount, or matte box, which affixes to the outside of the camcorder. The third clips onto the outside of the lens. Each style has its advantages; the threaded, round filter pulls double duty by protecting the lens from unwanted finger smudges, debris and damage. However, if you own more than one camcorder, the matte box and clip-on filters are interchangeable from camcorder to camcorder, even if the lenses vary in size. If you decide to go with the round screw-in filters, make sure to purchase the appropriate dimension. Check around the front of your camera for the diameter specifications in millimeters. The most common sizes include 37mm, 43mm, 46mm, 49mm, 52mm, 55mm and 62mm. Once you’ve figured out which style and size are best for your needs, it’s time to determine which effects you desire. The sidebar describes the most popular filters, the visual effects they produce and their applications.

Now that you have an overview of how lenses can enhance your video productions, it’s time to experiment. Because lenses are relatively inexpensive, low-tech, no-hassle accessories, they’re a fun and handy way to invigorate your videos. Whether you are shooting for the appearance of sophisticated special effects or simply aiming to preserve the health and longevity of your lense, there’s a filter that will fill your bill. So go out prepared to tame the sand and the sun and many other situations with a video camera outfitted in the filter(s) of your choice.

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