During Cine Gear 2019 PVC took the time to visit with Panavision to learn more about their new LCND (Liquid Crystal ND). We wanted to know how Panavision was able to show us one piece of neutral density filter with six separate stops of light blocking ND. Seeing the LCND in action gives an appreciation of new technology that looks so simple to use but probably was incredibly complicated to produce.
Originally announced at Cine Gear 2018, the Panavision LCND (Liquid Crystal ND) is closer to being an item for rental soon. What Panavision has done is make an electronic ND using an electrical charge to adjust the filter neutral density. Electronic means this Liquid Crystal ND needs power. Thankfully, the LCND can run off of an internal battery for 24 hours.
Now, I know what you are thinking, is any of this glass polarized to make the ND work this way. The answer is NO. There should be zero color shift or polarization from the Liquid Crystal ND.
The Panavision LCND can be operated standalone or wirelessly. The control unit looks very similar to some wireless follow focus units, I’m thinking about HEDEN’s in this case. Operators’ can also dial in the ND with fine granular detail when using the wheel on the unit to adjust the density of the LCND.
While it is a standard 4 x 5.65 sized filter you will still need to use a Panavision matte box with the kind of unique side loading filter trays. When talking to Panavision they did mention how they may look at putting the electronics and onboard control unit with LEDs on the top of the filter so it can be used in other Matte Boxes. When that will be I do not know.