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    Matte Boxes: worth it OR waste of $$$
    #1
    Senior Member Steve Kahn's Avatar
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    I would guess historically the reason matte boxes were used in film cameras was to facilitate the use of filters. But as the AF100 is blessed with an ND filter wheel there goes that arguement.

    The second reason was to be able to attach huge French flags or barn doors to eliminate stray sunlight or set lights. But, on a set one can erect flags as needed. One can use a lens hood.

    Sure, they look good. People will think you're cool. Actors will think you're important and be more likely ignore your thin 50 page script which still lacks a whole second act because you haven't even written it yet.

    But they slow you down when you need to change lenses. They may not interface well with your lenses. They may vignette. They may attract too much attention when you're trying to be a guerrilla.

    So, then I ask: Matte Box:

    worth it OR waste of $$$
    Last edited by Steve Kahn; 11-02-2010 at 03:12 PM.


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    #2
    Senior Member Jesse Brauning's Avatar
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    What I want is a really cheap plastic matte box that doesn't actually hold filters, just provides the 'look'.


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    Historically filters were used much, much more than they typically are today. Today, about the only filters people seem to use on a regular basis are polarizers and graduated NDs. But for the longest time, when color correction was done optically on the film with printer lights, filters were essential because you had to get the look as close as possible in-camera.

    Matte boxes are not designed to slow you down. In cinema, they can greatly accelerate the pace of work. What slows you down is screwing in individual filters and dropping them and cursing and cleaning the filter off and re-screwing it in and cross-threading it and ... ugh. And, you say erecting flags on set to control spill and flares, yes -- but how much easier and faster is it to NOT have to custom-set a flag every time you move the camera? The mattebox is a moving light shade that's always there with you.

    And slowing down changing lenses? Only if you're using a rails-mounted mattebox that doesn't swing away. If you're using one of those on a cinema shoot, you're using the wrong product for the job. Those things are appropriate for fixed-lens video cameras, but in cinema you want/need a swingaway (which is one reason why the Redrock mattebox was so exciting, it was the first decent swingaway mattebox at a cheap price).

    Matteboxes exist for many reasons, and none of them are "to impress the actors" or to have people "think you're cool". For a no-budget shooter, who's shooting on stills lenses, no they're not necessary; just get appropriate lens hoods for your glass and you're probably set. For a cinema shooter working in a conventional cinema-style workflow, they're as desirable now as they've always been -- except that we don't use as many filters anymore.


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    #4
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    you might want to use another filter besides ND, Polarizer for instance (needs a circular moving mattbox frame) or maybe something to soften the HD image, such as a pro-mist or soft FX.
    And your enemy is always light falling in the lens in a wrong way, not a nice diagonal circle pattern but a nasty lift in blacks.
    Maybe you want to keep the rain out, sounds crazy but I'm very happy my mattbox does that as well.
    And last but not least, protection against bumping your front lens into things.
    Money well spent.


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    There are more filters then ND that someone might want to use, like polarizers, gradient nds, ect. One matte box saves you time because you dont have to screw filters on the front of a lens, and you can change lenses and have the same filters, also attatching french flags to a matte box saves a lot of time over setting up flags on the set/location if all you are trying to do is reduce lens flare why bother setting up a flag...

    They are very expensive though, and if you aren't willing or able to invest in a set of filters then they aren't doing much more then making the camera look better. And if you don't have much of a kit there are things more worth the money then a matte box in my opinion.


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    Senior Member Steve Kahn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry_Green View Post
    (which is one reason why the Redrock mattebox was so exciting, it was the first decent swingaway mattebox at a cheap price).
    This one: Redrock Micro microMatteBox Deluxe Bundle ?

    Have you used it? Verdict?

    @Thomas & cgold
    Though I personally dislike polarizers for video I agree gradients would be useful.


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    Two years ago I used a preview/prerelease version of it, when it was a flat-out breakthrough at the price for the quality. Not saying it's the best thing in the world, of course, but considering it was under $600 at the time, you used to have to spend $2,000+ to get the same features.
    http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread...19#post1271819


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    Senior Member Joe Walker's Avatar
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    In your opinion, does it have a sort of flimsy fit/feel to it? I've long been waiting for something to come along and best Chrosziel at half the price and I've been considering the Redrock for a while now. But then again, I love how durable the Chrosziel's are...


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    The Redrock Mattebox is a very solid piece. Not flimsy at all.


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    #10
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    Does anyone use matte boxes for holding mattes anymore?


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