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Help choosing filter for GoPro2 video


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#1 hiapnea

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 07:24 AM

I'm looking to get some advice choosing a gel filter to WB my Gopro Hero2 HD camera for video. I'm freediving in the 30-80ft range in Hawaii (clear blue water) and wanted to put a Lee gel filter in front of the lens to lessen the blue cast. I'm a photographer on land so i have a bunch of Lee gels for my flashes as well as a Lee sampler kit that has 100's of 2x3 filters in it. I'm sure i can find one in there, but which one? I was thinking somewhere around a CTO instead of a straight Red but i'm not sure. I even read of "Bastard Pink" in one of my searches here. Problem with the Gopro is no manual WB so I need one that would work best for all-around depths. I know i can't get close to an all-around at 30-80ft ranges underwater, but whatever works best. Anything would be better than nothing as footage is super blue w/o any filters on it. I was also concerned about the Red cutting too much light for the Gopro's sensor. Any advice on this? Thanks guys.

#2 Nick Hope

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 08:03 AM

You could take a look at Magic Filters. They are more expensive than just using regular lighting gel but the colours are optimised for underwater use, and the gel is "optical quality". Not sure exactly what that means though (Alex???). You'll find loads about them in the Wetpixel forums.

#3 hiapnea

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 09:55 AM

You could take a look at Magic Filters. They are more expensive than just using regular lighting gel but the colours are optimised for underwater use, and the gel is "optical quality". Not sure exactly what that means though (Alex???). You'll find loads about them in the Wetpixel forums.


"optical quality" just means its meant to use in front of lenses and anything else that has to do with optics. They're usually free from anything that will degrade overall quality (ie: "waves", blurriness, color casting etc). I looked at Magic Filters, but honestly $30 for a 2" piece of Poly Gel filter is not for me. I was just wondering which color to go with for an all-around 30-80ft dive that will cut down on the harshness of the blue cast. I have almost every Poly Gel color from Lee so picking one from the pinks, reds, and oranges with a dozen in each shade is tough decision! The thing with my Gopro is I don't have the LCD backpack (nor do i plan to use it because of battery life) so I can't get immediate results. I have to video, go home, check footage, go back, video again. Its a long process that i was hoping to cut down by getting an answer here. I searched the forums but didn't find what i was looking for. I was thinking of a lightened red, but i saw some posts and pictures of actual filters that looked more on the orange side for blue water (like the FL light filters) so I'm kinda confused as to which to go with. Once i put it in my case, I can't take it out because it will be sealed in between my flat lens modification and gopro housing.

#4 RWBrooks

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 04:38 PM

Every grade of filter, be it a light or heavy red will have an optimal depth range at which it's best suited, considering that you can't adjust the white balance as you change depth, the camera does it's best in auto mode. Magic Filters are designed for this.

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#5 Nick Hope

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 07:11 PM

"optical quality" just means its meant to use in front of lenses and anything else that has to do with optics. They're usually free from anything that will degrade overall quality (ie: "waves", blurriness, color casting etc). I looked at Magic Filters, but honestly $30 for a 2" piece of Poly Gel filter is not for me. I was just wondering which color to go with for an all-around 30-80ft dive that will cut down on the harshness of the blue cast. I have almost every Poly Gel color from Lee so picking one from the pinks, reds, and oranges with a dozen in each shade is tough decision! The thing with my Gopro is I don't have the LCD backpack (nor do i plan to use it because of battery life) so I can't get immediate results. I have to video, go home, check footage, go back, video again. Its a long process that i was hoping to cut down by getting an answer here. I searched the forums but didn't find what i was looking for. I was thinking of a lightened red, but i saw some posts and pictures of actual filters that looked more on the orange side for blue water (like the FL light filters) so I'm kinda confused as to which to go with. Once i put it in my case, I can't take it out because it will be sealed in between my flat lens modification and gopro housing.

You're largely paying for the research and development that went into the Magic Filters, not for the actual piece of gel. $30 is hardly expensive when you think you can get that back in a single sale of an image or clip.

I think you're going to have to trial-and-error it, since the water colour, the camera model, and your own taste all come into play. Rosco sample swatch books have gel swatches 38x82mm, and I assume Lee's are similar. Possibly big enough to make a couple of filters for a GoPro. #108 "English Rose" looks pretty similar to a URPro filter (a popular rigid, underwater-specific filter). If the water is very blue then you should tend toward the orange side of red rather than the magenta side, which is better for green water. Maybe even try something like #204 Full CT Orange.

#6 hiapnea

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 08:03 PM

thanks Nick, thats the reply i was looking for! I appreciate your input. Yes the Rosco filters are just like Lee filters. I think this is what all the aftermarket gopro assy resellers are marketing as CC filters. I'm almost 100% sure thats what it is (as is Magic Filters). Its the only optical polyester film you could get in colors from a manufacturer. I just needed a general color w/o cutting too much light. I agree on the CTO. Thats what I was going to try if nobody replied. Thanks again!

#7 ronscuba

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 08:23 PM

Here is my GoPro with a small piece of Lee Bastard Pink filter sheet in between the GoPro and the housing port. Shot in Bonaire around 65 feet deep. Forgive the camera shake. In addition to my un-steady hands, the damsel fish kept bumping the camera.

Since you already have the sample pack why not give it try. I guess you could try something slightly different, but this color works well for me.

[vimeo]22812197[/vimeo]


Edited by ronscuba, 16 December 2011 - 08:31 PM.


#8 hiapnea

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 10:16 PM

thats awesome Ron!! Just what i was looking for! I have the "Bastard Pink" too. Looks excellent to me and if it varies any from yours I can just fix it in post. Thats awesome. Thanks again. Oh btw- did you have any problems getting to fit ok against the convex lens? I kinda thought i might crinkle because of the curve, but if it doesn't that would work out even better than sandwiching it under my flat lens mod. That way I can take it out as needed and its not sealed in there permanently rendering the case useless out of the water.

#9 ronscuba

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 09:05 AM

thats awesome Ron!! Just what i was looking for! I have the "Bastard Pink" too. Looks excellent to me and if it varies any from yours I can just fix it in post. Thats awesome. Thanks again. Oh btw- did you have any problems getting to fit ok against the convex lens? I kinda thought i might crinkle because of the curve, but if it doesn't that would work out even better than sandwiching it under my flat lens mod. That way I can take it out as needed and its not sealed in there permanently rendering the case useless out of the water.


If you make the filter a little too large it will crinkle. However, you can't see it in the footage. The only problem if it's a little to large is getting it out of the port. Not so easy. The Lee filter sheet is so cheap, I just cut another piece a little smaller. I paid $7 for a 20x20 inch sheet. I could probably make 400 filters with it.