DSLR’s are hugely popular these days. A contributing factor of that is their ability to give you a very shallow depth of field. A lot of shooters love achieving film like videos that speak to us artistically and visually. When shooting with DSLRs, the basic rule of thumb to achieving a film like look to your videos is setting your shutter speed to about twice the value of your frame rate. If you’re shooting 24p then you’ll have your shutter around 1/50th. If you’re shooting at 60p, then your shutter will be around 1/120th.
Your shutter speed plays the key role in achieving this look and will make or break the simulation of film like quality. A slowed shutter speed is desired but in daylight this will overexpose your shots when your aperture is wide open. Since keeping a shallow depth of field means that you will need to stop down to a wide aperture, attaching an neutral density (ND) filter onto your lens will cut out the amount of light coming in and allow you to keep your aperture wide open. If you adjust the aperture to accommodate the slowed shutter speed in daylight, you’re going to lose the shallow depth of field which is often associated to the film look.
Check out our neutral density filter video here to learn more about what they are and how they work. (click here) . Below is a list of recommended ND filters that should provide you with clear, sharp Photos with no odd color casts.
There’s also a long list of very very cheap ND Filters, some ranging under $4 dollars. These ND’s can still help block out light, but usually will introduce a color shift. If the color shifts are not very extreme, they can usually be corrected and color balanced with Photoshop or similar software. These cheap ones are perfect for those who just shoot for a hobby and want to experiment with long exposure photography in mid-day without having to give up a days salary.
With an ND4, ND6, and ND8 densities in your bag you should be able to control a variety of bright lighting conditions. There are also Variable ND filters that allow you to dial in the amount of density up to 9 stops in a single filter.
The more expensive versions like LightCraft Workshop and Singh Ray Fader Filters will give you sharper images and less color casts (sometimes magenta-ish). There are also some other cheaper ones that don’t have as much color cast like Genus, Nicna, and Nature brands. All found below.
Variable ND FIlters Fader Filters