IRND Filters

I recently shot a movie of the week in Vancouver and was lucky enough to get some early samples of the new Panavision IR ND filters.  I tested them here on both the Alexa and the Ursa Mini 4.6K.

You can see the Ursa Mini 4.6K is much more susceptible to IR pollution in this torture test under tungsten lighting.

I also compared the Schneider IR filters and you can see in the above link they really don’t measure up, whereas the Panavision IR’s look really great and were very consistent across their range.  I went onto use the Panavision IR ND filters for the movie and I thought they were great and really consistent.

Up until using them on this film, I’ve pretty much only used the wonderful Mitomo TRUE ND’s, but as some will know these are obscenely expensive and hard to come by.

Well, I recently discovered, much to my pleasant surprise, that you can now BUY the Panavision IRND filters, because they’re made by Lee, and Panavision own Lee.  And they’ve just started to sell them to us the general public !

Lee call these “ProGlass Cine IRND filters”.

Here’s the official page from LEE.

And here’s the official Panavision page.

And just to make sure they’re the same filters I checked by camera testing them!

So here’s a quick exterior IR filter test.  I shot using the Alexa Mini, shooting ProRes 4444 Log C 1920.

I shot the Panavision IR filters, my new LEE IR filters (which should be the same) and some Tiffen IRND’s as a comparison, along with the Alexa Mini’s own internal ND.

Below is a little edit of the 2.1 ND in all situations, so you can compare.  I was surprised how well the Tiffen did actually, as I’ve seen them be a lot worse.  The 2.1 ND is a real test because at that density you generally see lot’s of variation in colour and consistency.  As an extra check I’ve also shot using no filters at all.

Here’s the Digital Pigeon preview file (faster load)

Or watch here on Vimeo.

All I’ve done here is apply the Resolve / Arri default REC 709 LUT and I just used a curve to open the blacks up a little bit more.  I then applied this grade to all the clips.

I used shutter angle / shutter speed to regulate light levels and used false colour on the grey chip to maintain exposure.  It was all shot over about a 40 min period with very little cloud, so it should be consistent.  All the exposures are noted on the slate.

As expected, there are little variations in exposure and most surprising to me was that I found the Arri Alexa Mini internal ND’s to be a little green and differing in density on this default grade.

But if you want to check for yourself, go ahead and download the original camera files here courtesy of my friends at Digital Pigeon.

I’d be really interested to hear if anyone sees anything different, feel free to leave a comment if you do.

There are some tiny differences in the way the edges are finished on the LEE filters compared to the PV filters but the glass is the same, as are the pouches. I really like the little notches on the PV filters to let you know by touch how many stops they are.  I would pay extra to have my filters engraved with my name the way the Panavision ones are, I wonder if that’s hard to do?



About johnbrawley

Director Of Photography striving to create compelling images
This entry was posted in Equipment, General and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to IRND Filters

  1. Ron Coker. says:

    Most interesting. Thanks for sharing, John.

  2. Ben Mart says:

    Many thanks for sharing the test!

  3. Dan says:

    I’ve been in production in LA for years, thought about Canada but isn’t it freeeeezing cold up there?

  4. Thierry Brouard says:

    Hi ! Really interesting test ! The LEE and Panavision are really amazing, no color shift what so ever… I wish you compared with the Schneider, you say they were not as good as the Pana, but they’re definitely better than the Tiffen, so to me it would have actually been a much fairer comparison, as Tiffen is probably one of the worse brand out there for ND… that being said very useful to have it in the video to see how dramatically bad ND can impact your image !

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