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Simulating a Tiffen Black Pro Mist filter in post

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I quite like the look of the Tiffen Black Pro Mist filter, and thought that I could simulate the effect in Resolve.  (This conversation started in another thread but I think it deserves its own)

My theory was that if you can simulate it in post then it's more flexible, so you can mix it in to taste, and its also cheaper, applies to all your lenses, can be applied to historic footage, etc..

Here's the video showing what these filters do thanks to @heart0less :)

 

I've had an attempt and I'm now convinced that a completely accurate simulation is not possible.  

To explain why, here's an unmodified screen grab:

322593677_TiffenBlackProMist1-0vstiffen_1.4.1.thumb.jpg.0a2b8d1e875641e1dedf421830a39b62.jpg

and here's the waveform of that shot:

607616314_ScreenShot2018-07-22at10_20_57am.png.cb5042fa57559352e36f02e389187142.png

Here are the reasons you can't do a completely accurate emulation:

The Tiffen doesn't "clip".
The flare from the light globe is much brighter than the flare from the hair light on the blond lady, but in the "no filter" waveform you will note that these have very similar values because the globe is clipped.  Also, the flare from the globe is coloured, which presumably is from the tint of the globe, however because the waveform is clipped that colour information is lost.

The Tiffen has a very wide flare pattern and will include lights outside the field of view.
There don't appear to be any flares from off-camera lights in the above shot, however we can tell that the Tiffen has a very wide pattern because the level of the dark background is raised for almost the entire width of the frame but the exposure seems to be the same (by comparing the levels of the grey cards at the left of the shot).
If you are using this filter and it is being hit with sunlight from any angle I think you'll get the influence of that everywhere in the shot, because although it might be very off-angle the sun is practically an infinitely bright light.

However, I think we can probably make a passable attempt that might work in some situations.

Here's the original of lady #1:

1484431872_TiffenBlackProMist2_2.5.1.thumb.jpg.f8685a0f43b503aa73bdc4bba08cb490.jpg

and my simulation:

1537080078_TiffenBlackProMist3_2.5.2.thumb.jpg.cd5da488bad559001a35f05884e5a825.jpg

Lady #2:

823046024_TiffenBlackProMist4_1.8.1.thumb.jpg.5c400a028035fae2a9268396c08b3bd0.jpg

Same simulation as above applied to lady #2:

966507740_TiffenBlackProMist5_2.4.1.thumb.jpg.12c87fa1117e7bc307ad635cd7f50664.jpg

The logic of this preset is this:

1886159839_ScreenShot2018-07-22at11_20_00am.png.9bec16485df0b5b47bce36d94f30fa8b.png

The Tiffen has a non-linear rolloff, so I have simulated it using blurs of two different sizes, one smaller size applied to the Highlights and a larger one applied to the Mids and Shadows.  If I really wanted to get serious about it I might try converting to a Log colour space and doing the blur in there before converting back to REC709, but that's something for another day.

I think that preset looks pretty good for both of these shots, but unfortunately, if we apply that preset to the main shot then we see that it definitely isn't suitable for all shots:

1477470842_TiffenBlackProMist6_2.3.1.thumb.jpg.d2b08deeff9997666c73356ded0183aa.jpg

If I play with the levels and add a third blur that is highlights only and is even smaller radius then we get a better result, but it highlights the issues I mentioned earlier:

759863434_TiffenBlackProMist7_2.3.2.thumb.jpg.df23d0ca8ed08ad2ee74157a798d7b53.jpg

If you're going to try and use this effect in post then I would suggest a number of things:

  • Shoot in Log and don't clip any highlights from any colour channel
  • If you move the camera don't have any lighting going in and out of the frame (because the effect will start and stop when it does which will look very un-natural)
  • Experiment with applying the effect before you convert from log to any other colour space (after all, a Tiffen filter gets applied before the conversion)
  • Experiment with different blur types - I used Gaussian Blur in the above, but maybe other types will look nicer?
  • The Mids and Shadows processing chain is the kind of "beauty" element, and the Highlights processing chain is the "flares" element, so you can mix these to your taste

I hope that is useful, and that Tiffen don't object to me using clips from their video!!

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Tiffen themselves actually made a piece of software to simulate all of their filters including Diffusion, Pro Mist and Glimmer Glass and Ultra Contrast. 

I mentioned on here a while ago how I saw them being sold off cheap in a camera store in London.

They're now even cheaper ;)

https://www.cameraworld.co.uk/tiffen-dfx-v3.html

That version is the standalone one but has batch processing so could be used in a DNG workflow.

They did a (very expensive) plugin version for NLE's that would be more useful but it would be a bit of a treasure hunt trying to track that one down.

 

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@kye - I really dig all the work and explanation you put into it.

 

I, too tried to mimic the Pro Mist's effect, but took a different approach and relied mostly on Resolve's Glow effect.

Here are my results:

Black Pro Mist 1/8 - https://imgur.com/a/Hz1lRPe

Black Pro Mist 1/4 - https://imgur.com/a/z36OnC5

 


What really bugs me is the fact that really hot colors will glow, as well, since everything is based on thresholds..

https://imgur.com/a/x9gN59x

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There are many things baked into an image when filming (composition, lighting, subject, performance etc...). While adding things in post is a great option, I lean towards the idea that the less you need do in post the better. As Tiffen BPM filters can be found pretty affordable on eBay, why not just pick up a used set? 

Tiffen BPM filters are still used today on many, if not most major productions. If they get thrown on Cooke, Panavision etc lenses they must be good enough to “risk” baking in. I say the bigger risk is trying to add them as an effect in post. It’s pretty easy to make an image look artificial in post. And with the subtle nature of the BPM look, it is very difficult to pull off in post... as everyone here is quickly learning.

Let’s suppose you somehow manage to pull off the look on a static image... great work indeed, but how pray tell do you continue this deception once the camera moves?... You don’t... End of story!

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Evidently, the Tiffen Black Pro Mist filters are derived from the Harrison & Harrison Black Dot series.  In other words, they are diffusion filters with a bunch of embedded black particles (dots) that reduce side scattering within the filter.  Consequently, one gets a diffusion effect with more contrast and less of the "milky" look.

 

Also, the black particles and the diffusion affect exposure, sometimes up to one stop on the thickest filter grades.  So, when removing such a filter after shooting with it, keep in mind that the exposure might need to be reduced to prevent clipping.

 

I would guess that such black dot diffusion filters have been mostly used in the thinner grades (1/8, 1/4) for complexion smoothing, and not for adding glow.

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On 7/22/2018 at 11:20 AM, BTM_Pix said:

Tiffen themselves actually made a piece of software to simulate all of their filters including Diffusion, Pro Mist and Glimmer Glass and Ultra Contrast. 

I mentioned on here a while ago how I saw them being sold off cheap in a camera store in London.

They're now even cheaper ;)

https://www.cameraworld.co.uk/tiffen-dfx-v3.html

That version is the standalone one but has batch processing so could be used in a DNG workflow.

They did a (very expensive) plugin version for NLE's that would be more useful but it would be a bit of a treasure hunt trying to track that one down.

 

What are the differences between the 3(cheap) and 4(new and expensive) version?

Can the 3 be found for NLE's too? Or no way?

For photographers the dead cheap 3 version would be great.

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16 minutes ago, Kisaha said:

What are the differences between the 3(cheap) and 4(new and expensive) version?

Can the 3 be found for NLE's too? Or no way?

For photographers the dead cheap 3 version would be great.

As @buggz says, you can get all the versions new from http://www.digitalfilmtools.com/dft/ who originally developed it for Tiffen.

They do some upgrade packages from the Tiffen version so you could buy the £5 one and upgrade to the latest version 4 for an additional $45.

The plug in one for the NLE's is available as a $195 upgrade from the NLE version of the Tiffen but I wouldn't hold out much hope of finding that version, although eBay might throw one up occasionally.

The standalone does batch processing so could be used in a dng workflow for video but it would be a bit painful.

They do a fully functional 15 day trial though so its worth having a look and see if it does enough to be worth springing for the full version.

And it does do a lot of very cool stuff aside from the filter emulation.

http://www.digitalfilmtools.com/dft/index.php?tab=4

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Very interesting. What I mind about the filters is they reflect the light back from the sensor so I end up with strong and harsh reflections which are soft and pleasant without bpm filter.

DFT sounds interesting, but I don’t see support for resolve.

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You did a pretty good job, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. The glow effect works nicely too.

I've heard a lot of people advise against using the filters as if you decide against the look its too late. That said its certainly easier if you know for sure that is the look you want. I do love the look in general.

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Magic Bullet Looks also has a variety of diffusion filter emulations that are really good. I’ve done comparisons against my Tiffen Black Pro Mist and they’re very close.

I think the reason most DP choose to use diffusion on the glass is bc they want to lock-in a “look”. They’re most likely handing off the footage to an editor and then a colorist.

If you’re handling post yourself it might be worth wild to tweak diffusion looks in the coloring stage.

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4 minutes ago, AaronChicago said:

Magic Bullet Looks also has a variety of diffusion filter emulations that are really good. I’ve done comparisons against my Tiffen Black Pro Mist and they’re very close.

I think the reason most DP choose to use diffusion on the glass is bc they want to lock-in a “look”. They’re most likely handing off the footage to an editor and then a colorist.

If you’re handling post yourself it might be worth wild to tweak diffusion looks in the coloring stage.

I enjoy using the Magic Bullet diffusion filters also. They can add some nice character to the imagery. That said, I wouldn’t consider them a replacement for the real McCoy. 

I sort of don’t understand this thread. Why not just use a real BPM? That’s what they do in Hollywood. They are not that expensive. And if you need to go with a set for your matte box, they are readily available used on eBay, if the new cost is prohibitive.

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2 minutes ago, mirekti said:

I get a strong reflection back to the sensor in certain scenarios and really hate it. In other 90% is perfect.

That's why you need to use the French flags to control the light... or perhaps a lens hood? There is some technique to using the filter.

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5 minutes ago, DBounce said:

That's why you need to use the French flags to control the light... or perhaps a lens hood?

It would also require reframing, a bulb will show up as a green blownout dot somewhere in the frame.

As said, in controlled environment it is perfect, not so much in low light.

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13 minutes ago, mirekti said:

It would also require reframing, a bulb will show up as a green blownout dot somewhere in the frame.

As said, in controlled environment it is perfect, not so much in low light.

ARRI has a tiltable mattebox SMB-1/2 specifically to address filter glare 

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11 hours ago, DBounce said:

I sort of don’t understand this thread. Why not just use a real BPM?

Reasons that adding the effect in post is better:

  • It's free
  • It works on all your cameras and lenses without adapters
  • It works on all your past footage
  • It works on all stock footage
  • You can control the strength of it shot to shot
  • You can control it within frame (you can have the nice skin smoothing effects on skin and not have it go nuts from a direct light-source also in frame)
  • You can change the colour rendering like the Warm Pro Mist filters, or any other tint you care to make (even ones Tiffen doesn't offer)
  • You can change the characteristics to emulate their other filters (Black Pro Mist is only one of the filters they offer - https://tiffen.com/diffusion/ )
  • You can even have hybrid effects like light sources glow green with a red outer ring around them, all adjustable to taste
  • Real filters can have reflections under certain circumstances

Reasons that adding the effect in post isn't better:

  • It doesn't work properly if any channel is clipped
  • It doesn't work with any light-source that isn't in the frame
  • It isn't an exact match to the look

Things that aren't good reasons for doing anything:

  • That's how they do it in Hollywood :)

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