Introducing the NiSi Black Mist Filter

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Over the past few years NiSi have been introducing new products in our Cinema range that are designed to compliment and enhance the workflow and content production styles of professional cinematographers. And we are very happy to be launching the latest filter in this growing range of products – the circular Black Mist Filter – our newest diffusion filter designed not just for cinematographers, but also to compliment the creativity of portrait and street photographers.

The NiSi Black Mist Filter is a circular filter for standard screw threads available in 49mm, 67mm, 72mm, 77mm and 82mm thread sizes. Effect densities are available in 1/8, 1/4 and 1/2 for varying levels of diffusion and contrast reduction. A layer of “black specs” is introduced during the filter manufacturing process which is designed to diffuse and reduce the impact of highlights, while slightly brightening shadows to balance the overall tonal range. The brass frame ensures the filter is strong and easy to remove from lenses. Our proprietary NiSi Nano Coating is applied to glass to make cleaning the filter glass easy, and for an extra layer of scratch resistance to help protect your filter investment.

What does the Black Mist Filter do?

The NiSi Black Mist Filter is designed to lower overall contrast, while softening and enhancing highlights to create a more “cinematic” feel to videos and still imagery. The effect of the filter can be best seen when a subject is backlit with a strong light source such as studio lighting, bright street lights, natural light though a window or late afternoon sun. Flaring of bright light sources creates an ethereal glow and softness that can be used to soften wrinkles and blemishes on skin, making it a useful addition to a portrait or wedding photographers, cinematographers, street photographers and even landscape / cityscape photographers.

Overall tonal ranges will appear more balanced as shadow detail is lifted and highlights are diffused. This reduction of contrast is reminiscent of film photography in days gone by where camera sensors were not producing such high resolution and sharp imagery. While certain elements with light cast across them may appear “soft” or “ethereal”, overall detail is maintained when compared to many diffusion filters, ensuring a high quality of video or imagery for post production.

The level of diffusion depends on the strength of the Black Mist Filter, with the 1/2 stop variation having the highest level of diffusion and the most impact on the “spread” of light. Highlights become filtered and much softer, with light seemingly being distributed across the whole scene and introducing a glow and lower overall contrast.

NiSi Black Mist Filter for cinematography

Until recent years with the advancements of digital sensors in high end cinema cameras, diffusion filters were generally designed for use on film cameras. And prior to the popularity of diffusion filters, techniques such as the use of vaseline or face nets to soften skin and enhance the beauty on actors was common in Hollywood film productions. With the high resolution and clarity of modern day camera sensors, film producers often use diffusion filters to reduce some of this sharpness, or to create a stylised effect reminiscent of nostalgic “period pieces”, fantasy scenes or dream sequences. The NiSi Black Mist Filter will allow today’s digital cameras to produce high clarity images, without the sharpness that highlights every minute detail.


NiSi Black Mist Filter for portrait photography

Over the years as technology has advanced and the resolution of camera sensors has improved, so too has the level of detail being captured with each shutter press. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. Having the highest resolution files to work with, and the sharpest possible level of detail means the potential for maximum image quality. But in some situations like portrait photography, that level of detail also means blemishes and wrinkles on subjects are also more noticeable. In creative portrait photography, soft light can create a great effect on skin tones and give the effect of smoothing skin. This can be useful both for creativity and for reducing post-production work to create these effects.

NiSi Black Mist Filter for street photography

The NiSi Black Mist filter is perfectly suited for night street photography, particularly in scenes where there is a bright light source such as street lighting. A “halo” effect is created from the streetlight, effectively spreading the light and softening the glow, diffusing the light and slightly brightening shadow areas for reduced overall contrast. Highlights across the entire scene will appear softer and vary based on the density of Black Mist Filter being used, creating an atmospheric film-like appearance to the image.

Light and reflections from bright sources such as reflections off glass or other reflective elements can be controlled to lessen their impact and potential distraction. When shooting in outdoor situations it can be difficult to shoot in situations where a bright light source is hard to look at directly. The NiSi Black Mist Filter allows you to creatively use this light rather than avoiding it!

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