An AC friend called today to ask my opinion on using a rear filter in a 535. His concerns were the alleged focus shift and cleanliness problems. I haven't done it myself, so I couldn't really answer him, it's a very different set up than in the PV cameras. Does anyone use the filter slot regularly on an ARRI? Any troubles? Anything "a" typical to watch out for?
DP ICG, NY
Haven't done it on 535 but have many times on 435, and the gate filter is the same. Never had a problem, but the potential is there. The close proximity to the neg always worries me in regards to cleanliness. the filter must be PERFECT. Also I like to check the gate through the lens port and this cannot be done with filter in place. But I have had no focus problems with rear gels in 435s
Bret Lanius - Camera Assistant
Rear filtering is, in many cases, a great way to filter lenses. Flare control can be a little easier due to the fact you don't have extra glass in front of the lens to increase the possibility of reflections or flare. Panavision kits come with a box of 12 rear filter trays. You can (& should) pre-prepare any of the much used filters & have a double of the #85 in case of a scratch or a crease in the filter. One thing to remember, when the wide angle lenses wide open, the rear gels can change the back focus of the lens.
1st. Assistant Cameraman
It's similar, it slides in with the mask in the gate. You pull the release lever and the gate pops back then you lift it out. Then you pull the mask and filter holder out of the side of the gate. At $23 a pop for 3x3 Gels (price at local camera store) it can be expensive if you go through too many, I keep a full set on hand in case.
Bret Lanius - Camera Assistant - Atlanta GA, USA
I'm a huge fan of BTL filters on Panavision packages, but have never had the guts to try it on an Arri. Had some bad experiences a long time ago on a CP-16 I think it was. My guess is the filters have to be so perfectly clean (since they're so close to the neg on the Arri) that I'd go through so much gel it would be ridiculous. And what type of filter-tray holder does Arri have ? Is it like Panavisions ? Wonder if there's a way to get the static cling off of the gels. Static gun we used ot use on our vinyl records ?
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
Thanks for the replies. Calumet Photo sells very nice polyester 'gel' filters in 3x3 and 4x4 (I think). They are sturdy, fade resistant, less easy to scratch and theoretically cleanable. Last I recall they were a bit less expensive than Lee or Kodak. My friend with the question is working on a feature with ample time for mishaps, I will repost if he finds any filter problems on his shoot.
While on the subject of 3x3 gels, I've been meaning to share this . . . I use Kodak's gels on a Century conversion telephoto, and they are rather pricey and very prone to scratches and dust, so after years of wasting money, I got the people at NegaFile Systems (the company that makes wooden 35mm still negative storage boxes) to make me a nice little wooden case that holds about a dozen 3x3 gels with their metal holders in slots, in a dust-proof (almost indestructible) case that fits in my AKS very nicely. If anyone is using gels with holders, feel free to email offlist for the information.
Director of Photography