Do you need ND filters

Hi all, I’ve flew a Litchi mission once without ND filter and again with a ND16 filter and put together the raw footage as it came from the Mavic 2 Zoom.

What do you think do I need the filters???


(Teaching Granny to suck eggs time? - if so, apologies)

The filter is solely to bring shutter speed close to 1/50 or 1/60 second to give a cinematic effect - rather than show a staccato succession of sharp images taken at, say, 1/1000 second you see slightly blurred images that blend into one another.

The difference can be seen in the side by side images when viewed full screen. The colour difference is incidental and can be sorted during grading.

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Thanks for the reply Robert, I realise what your saying the best way to describe that is if you videoed a bike upside down with the wheel spinning you would still see the spokes if the shutter speed was high enough and not the motion blur. I have never bothered with filters much but decided to give them a try again but the problem I’m having is although the bright areas are great the dark areas are too dark and hard to correct in post. Whereas without the filters I have the same problem with the light areas. I’m just struggling to see that pros out way the cons of using them. Can you actually see a difference in smoothness of the two videos?

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Just a thought - The ND isn’t affecting the smoothness at all - it just helps combat very harsh light and obviously blown out skies. They can also help the dynamic range of the final image, so the picture looks sharper. In the current bright blue, cloudless skies, and "shiny reflective water, if your filming they are really helpful although colour correction in post can help. Personally I find it easier to enhance/correct colour in post if there has been an ND on the camera lens. Most times very little, if any post work is needed with a ND added. But in truth it depends on the “mood” your looking for so its personal choice really.

The dynamic range of the scene is identical with or without filters.
If you’re losing highlights, adjust the EV down a bit. (The histogram is your friend.)
Likewise with shadows, but there’s far more potential for recovering shadows in post than highlights. Once highlights are blown out the info is lost. It’s amazing how dark shadows can appear that still allow for significant recovery of detail.

Thank you guys for your replies and advice. I will experiment some more. I think I’ve got used to editing without filters so need to play around with it some more to find new techniques. I’m going to try using the filters and keep the 1/60 shutter speed and play around with the ISO for the darker shots. Cheers. :+1:

Viewing on a 24 inch monitor - yes I can. As for reflections and better skies - ND filters do nothing. It;s polarising filters that can be used in sky enhancement… And for preserving detail, if you are being really serious about your filmmaking - expose correctly, shoot in RAW and process in post.

Or else stop worrying and overcomplicating things for a while, enjoy the sunshine, your flying and the results!

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I use polar pro filters ND4,8,16 sometimes hit and miss to be honest, but do get some good results
I also have the ND 32, 32PL 64,64PL that I have never used and would be Interested where and when they would be useable and any suggested settings

Hi Mark, mine are Skyreat polarised and one thing I’ve noticed with the polarised ones is it takes most of the glare off water but not sure it’s a good thing as lakes and ponds just look mat black and I like to see the glittering of water on video.
Mine are only cheap ones maybe I should invest in some better ones.

Hi @Frank it’s a good thing in some circumstances I know @kvetner has some ideas for the 32 & 64 standard and PL I don’t think I will ever use them to be honest so any offers welcome cost new £98

As others have said you use ND filters to be able to compensate for lack of settings (compared to a full camera) and to help ensure you have (ideally) your shutter speed set at double the framerate. Polarized filters (think sunglasses) allow you to get better shots over things like water.

One of the overlooked benefits of an ND filter (Or any filter for this) is that they provide protection for your camera lens. If the event of something happening I would rather just replace a filter than a whole camera lens!

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Bought the Freewell variable filter set. This is the result I’ve got.


ND v No ND