Good quality Neutral Density filters are some of the most sought after products these days, and ARRI wants to have a slice of the cake. The company is creating their own FSND external filters.
To create the new external FSND filters, ARRI did not have to develop new filters, the company only had to look inside their ALEXA Mini and the AMIRA cameras, which come equipped with an internal FSND filter that is highly respected in the industry and purely color neutral. What if we took the filter out and created a family of external Full Spectrum Neutral Density filters? They did!
Now, says the company, “the unsurpassed dynamic range of ARRI’s camera sensors do not have to be diminished or distorted by external filters of lesser quality”. If you need to, you can use ARRI’s own FSND filter.
The ARRI FSND filter comes in 6.6”x 6.6” and 4”x 5.65” sizes. The optical quality, Schott B270i glass used in the ARRI FSND filter is manufactured to a very high standard. The glass is polished completely flat on both sides of the filter with completely parallel surfaces. Plane parallelism is especially important when using a wide-open telephoto lens, as areas of the focal plane can become soft. FSND filters reduce the amount of light entering the lens, allowing the filmmaker to shoot at wider t-stops under bright conditions without overexposure. FSND filters also make it possible to blur moving elements such as water or traffic in bright conditions.
ARRI claims that their new filters are “different from most competing external filters which have square, bumpy edges” and adds that “the edges of the ARRI FSND filters are perfectly c-shaped. This curved edge reduces glass chipping and makes for easier and safer mounting. ARRI’s FSND filter edges have also been colored black to prevent the scattering of light. Close to the filter’s edge, the glass surface also features an engraved unique Direct Product Marking (DPM) which will improve inventory security at rental houses and with individual owners. This GS1 bar code, which is readable by most camera-based bar code 2 readers around the world, makes rental check-ins and check-outs easier, provides proof of ownership, and eliminates the need for stickers that can fall off or leave residue on the filter.
The company states that “not only have the filter materials and shape been expertly selected”, but ARRI “has devoted a great deal of time and energy to the various coatings of the ARRI FSND Filters. Multiple layers of ND coating, anti-reflective (AR) coating, hydrophobic coating, oleophobic coating, as well as a final “hard” coating have been applied to both sides of the filter (a feature only offered by ARRI). The normal air-facing filter has a 4% – 6% reflectivity rating at each air-glass surface, but ARRI has been able to achieve 0.2% reflectivity. Since crews often stack filters together and reflectivity is cumulative, reducing this aspect down by a factor of 20 is a sensation. Reducing reflectivity maximizes contrast, allowing the full dynamic range of the sensor to be captured, facilitating HDR workflows. The additional coatings, hydrophobic and oleophobic, keep water and grease, respectively, from adhering to the surface of the glass, thereby cutting down on cleaning time dramatically. The hard coating, used to prevent scratches on the filter, is extremely durable and resistant to wear and tear. In tests, competitor filters were far less able to withstand repeated rubbing or cleaning in the same area without leaving a mark. This coating makes the filters more robust and extends their life, prolonging the return on investment.
Protection to these filters when not in use was also a main concern when developing the family, so the pouches provided with each ARRI Filter are also high-quality items designed to provide the best possible protection throughout the filter’s operational life. The outer fabric is durable and water-resistant CORDURA while the lining is made of a microfiber-like material called MICRODEAR. Anti-static MICRODEAR is not only silky to the touch, but it also cleans the surface of the filter every time it’s taken out of the pouch or put back in.