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jeremypayne

Magic Filters with Strobes

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Curious if anyone has ever brought down strobes when they had a magic fliter attached ...

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I'm curious if anyone has used their strobes underwater with magic filters on ... would love the flexibility to shoot with both filtered ambient light as well as strobes.

I've done it by accident; you would have to adjust your white balance accordingly.

Here is an example where I forgot to remove my filter from my 10.5, and then the version that was color corrected in post, shifted down about 1800 degrees K (5000 to 3200)

Remember you will lose a couple of stops as well.

post-5478-1199324149_thumb.jpg

post-5478-1199324175_thumb.jpg

Edited by loftus

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Yep, i do it all the time. The key is to make sure you have the flashes on and they are able to fire when you do the white balance. Usually just on 1/4 power or less.

 

Still gives a nice blue background and fills in some of the shadows in the foreground that come about from using the sun as the source of illumination

 

I have merged your 2 topics to one

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Yep, i do it all the time. The key is to make sure you have the flashes on and they are able to fire when you do the white balance. Usually just on 1/4 power or less.

 

Still gives a nice blue background and fills in some of the shadows in the foreground that come about from using the sun as the source of illumination

 

I have merged your 2 topics to one

 

Sorry about the double post, I thought I thought I had closed the first one before I posted it, but apparently not ...

 

Good to hear it works well. Psyched to try it out next week!

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I've done it, but it didn't really work out. You definitely have to balance the WB setting to get ambient exposure and foreground colors (lit by strobe) to match.

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I've done it, but it didn't really work out. You definitely have to balance the WB setting to get ambient exposure and foreground colors (lit by strobe) to match.

 

Were you shooting JPEGs or RAW? I would imagine that shooting RAW (and fortunately I am) would make this much easier to pull off - especially if the "as shot" WB is "off" at the time of capture.

 

I've got 5 days of diving to figure it out ... will let y'all know how it goes ...

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As my pictures show in my earlier post, there is about an 1800K warming introduced by the Magic Filter- I can tell by the amount I have to move the slider in the White Balance adjustment in Aperture, to get the type of result shown in the second picture. No question you should shoot RAW. I would recommend setting your WB to about 3200K when you are using the filter with strobes - this would be a starting point. If Alex is reading this, he may have other suggestions.

Edited by loftus

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Alex might say not to do it as I've never read any post by him regarding it other than to say that you don't use strobes with the MF. Is there an advantage to doing it or is the idea that it can be corrected if we forget and leave the filter on?

 

Mike, are you saying you do it all the time because it helps fill in the shadows, or do you do it all the time because you forget to remove the filter.

 

I'm always looking for something new to try.

 

Andy

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Maybe I'm missing something but I fail to see the logic in fitting a filter on to correct for the loss of red light at depth and then introducing a white light source. Surely whichever way you white balance, you've got two different colour light sources. And anyway shooting raw just records what the sensor sees.

 

Put me right guys.

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Most people I know who shoot strobes while using a filter put complementary filters on their strobes.

 

Craig Jones has done this a lot, as has James Wiseman. Maybe one of them can chime in? There are also probably lots of old posts here on Wetpixel that talk about complementary filters.

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or do you do it all the time because you forget to remove the filter.

 

Andy

 

 

He he, yep, done that a few times too... :P

 

Well, lets change the word always to often... :D

 

When i use filter i still leave my strobes attached. No need to take em off as it is easy to turn on or off.

And then it depends on what the results look like. I always start without strobe, and then if there is a bit of shadow i will hit it with a bit of flash, obviously requires a new WB. Its not for the big, big picture of reef scenics, but more when i am doing close focus wide angle when the foreground needs a little more light and the background doesn't.

 

I am not saying i am going out to specifically shoot filters with strobes, what i am saying is that if i find a subject that needs a bit more light i never hesitate to use the strobes in conjunction with the filter.

 

I will see if i can find some examples on the other computer and get back to ya.

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Were you shooting JPEGs or RAW? I would imagine that shooting RAW (and fortunately I am) would make this much easier to pull off - especially if the "as shot" WB is "off" at the time of capture.

 

I was shooting RAW. The issue is that if you adjust the WB for the whole image in the RAW converter. If you adjust the RAW image to get the background correct, then the area lit by the strobes is incorrect.

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I did that once in a while... you'll get some interesting blues as well.

 

Attachement is from autumn '06 in egypt.

 

post-7360-1199673172_thumb.jpg

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The formula for the magic filters isn't published and no complementary filter recommendations are made either. Alex doesn't recommend using magic filters with mixed light. It can certainly be done but some legwork would need to be done to determine the best approach. I am capable of doing this but I think it's more appropriate that Alex offer this if he thinks it's appropriate.

 

We always white balance to the dominant light source when we shoot. For ambient photography, there is only one light source and the magic filter helps bring the light closer to a good white balance before the camera records it. For flash photography, however, it is the flash that we balance to. The situation is much different in these two cases.

 

When I combine flash photography and filters, the most important filter I use is the one I put on my strobe. The filter I use on my lens is generally complementary to the strobe filter but does not have to be. In fact, the lens filter itself is optional and is there to improve the performance of the camera. The effect of filters with strobes is to change the color balance of the background lighting. The foreground balance will ALWAYS remain white (unless you are looking for an artistic effect).

 

Considering this, the only reason to combine magic filters with strobes is if you want your background to have as close to natural white balance as realistically possible. The right way to accomplish this is add filters to the strobe to offset whatever green removal the magic filters provide and then optionally add a strobe cooling filter to offset the warmth of the magic filter. Without knowing the formula of the magic filters I can't offer specific advise. The key thing to understand, though, is that the filter on your lens does NOT control the effect you will ultimately achieve in mixed light, the filter on your strobe does.

 

If it were me and I wanted to use magic filters for ambient photography, I would probably use a strong green strobe filter for those times when I need some fill light. The effect is probably not exactly right, but most filters don't have exact complements anyway. I believe that one can shoot with a magic filter and an unfiltered strobe provided the strobe power is carefully controlled, but using a minimum of a CC30G filter on the strobe would be much more effective. In the past I've tried filters similar to the magic filter with plain strobes and found acceptable results difficult to achieve.

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The formula for the magic filters isn't published and no complementary filter recommendations are made either. Alex doesn't recommend using magic filters with mixed light. It can certainly be done but some legwork would need to be done to determine the best approach. I am capable of doing this but I think it's more appropriate that Alex offer this if he thinks it's appropriate.

 

We always white balance to the dominant light source when we shoot. For ambient photography, there is only one light source and the magic filter helps bring the light closer to a good white balance before the camera records it. For flash photography, however, it is the flash that we balance to. The situation is much different in these two cases.

 

When I combine flash photography and filters, the most important filter I use is the one I put on my strobe. The filter I use on my lens is generally complementary to the strobe filter but does not have to be. In fact, the lens filter itself is optional and is there to improve the performance of the camera. The effect of filters with strobes is to change the color balance of the background lighting. The foreground balance will ALWAYS remain white (unless you are looking for an artistic effect).

 

Considering this, the only reason to combine magic filters with strobes is if you want your background to have as close to natural white balance as realistically possible. The right way to accomplish this is add filters to the strobe to offset whatever green removal the magic filters provide and then optionally add a strobe cooling filter to offset the warmth of the magic filter. Without knowing the formula of the magic filters I can't offer specific advise. The key thing to understand, though, is that the filter on your lens does NOT control the effect you will ultimately achieve in mixed light, the filter on your strobe does.

 

If it were me and I wanted to use magic filters for ambient photography, I would probably use a strong green strobe filter for those times when I need some fill light. The effect is probably not exactly right, but most filters don't have exact complements anyway. I believe that one can shoot with a magic filter and an unfiltered strobe provided the strobe power is carefully controlled, but using a minimum of a CC30G filter on the strobe would be much more effective. In the past I've tried filters similar to the magic filter with plain strobes and found acceptable results difficult to achieve.

 

Alex did respond to me - although I think it was via email - and said it would work ok as long as I set the white balance with the strobes firing ... and I did and it did work quite well. With two custom white balances, I always had one set for ambient light and one set with the strobes firing.

 

My principal motivation was the desire to shoot filter-corrected video (G9 shoots terrific 1024x768 15fps video) as well as strobe-based stills on the same dive.

 

For my purposes, it worked great ... here are some examples of strobes + magic filter (I moved stuff around on Flickr so those links above busted and I deleted the post):

 

2189994207_b0869833c9.jpg

 

2190006759_295f2b5591.jpg

 

2191067296_4f30d653a3.jpg

 

Link to U/W Pics Hosted on Flickr

Edited by jeremypayne

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As long as your camera/raw converter has the white balance range to work with a strobe through the filter you should be fine. The background will not be influenced by the magic filter though. The images you've provided don't really demonstrate ambient background lighting so the effect isn't shown here.

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As long as your camera/raw converter has the white balance range to work with a strobe through the filter you should be fine. The background will not be influenced by the magic filter though. The images you've provided don't really demonstrate ambient background lighting so the effect isn't shown here.

Is this what you mean?

2190916381_86140a7062_b.jpg

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Yes. The background in that image has a color balance similar to what you would have gotten had you not used the filter. It essentially means that you can have the filter for ambient photography but still use strobes and get similar results to what you would without the filter.

 

If you had added green filters on your strobes, the water in that image would appear noticably more blue. That may, or may not, be appealing to you. If you had a true complementary filter on your strobe (although one probably doesn't exist) then the background would be as colorful as it would have been had you shot the scene with only ambient light. The foreground subject, regardless of filters, will appear the same since you are adjusting white balance to make it so.

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Yes. The background in that image has a color balance similar to what you would have gotten had you not used the filter. It essentially means that you can have the filter for ambient photography but still use strobes and get similar results to what you would without the filter.

 

If you had added green filters on your strobes, the water in that image would appear noticably more blue. That may, or may not, be appealing to you. If you had a true complementary filter on your strobe (although one probably doesn't exist) then the background would be as colorful as it would have been had you shot the scene with only ambient light. The foreground subject, regardless of filters, will appear the same since you are adjust white balance to make it so.

Thanks for that ... totally get it.

 

My hunch is that in the future, I'll be less likely to bring both with me on any one dive. This was my first trip with my own underwater camera and the first time I had ever used strobes underwater. I was only doing one dive a day and I wanted to be able to "do everything".

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