Product Review: Page (1) of 3 - 01/21/02 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at page facebook

Digital Film Tools 55MM Glass Filter Simulation Plug-ins

A versatile set of tools for Avid, After Effects, Commotion and combustion By Paulo de Andrade
The Mist filter softens up the shot just like the real thing.
I love when companies that have developed in-house tools for production work release them to the public. This means that all of a sudden you can purchase a set of tools that will actually solve your problems as opposed to a set of cool-looking plug-ins that will seldom find any practical use.

Digital Film Tools is an offshoot of Digital FilmWorks, a full-service Los Angeles-based visual effects studio. The tools they sell were borne out of the need to fix typical problems and create specific effects as well as implement a few very high-end features into affordable programs such as Adobe After Effects. This is the case with their Composite Suite set of plug-ins, which well review shortly. It adds many advanced compositing and color correction tools to Avid systems and After Effects. Their latest offering, 55MM, frees the videographer or cinematographer from the need to use glass filters in production by re-creating these in post.

The Flourescent filter lets you get rid of those nasty greens in post.
This plug-in package also works with Avid systems, After Effects, discreet combustion and Pinnacle Commotion (Final Cut Pro version coming soon), both on the Mac and Windows. It consists of 13 filters that simulate traditional glass filters plus other effects.

I have always liked the idea of doing things in post as much as possible. Thats because when you can shoot a clean piece of video or film you are not limited by any process or filter that you have applied at the acquisition stage. When you add a filter to your lens, the effect is recorded permanently and cant be removed later. On the other hand, if you record your images raw, you can fine tune your footage in post, adding the best effect for the specific program. And since the original footage is clean, you can also re-purpose it later something you may not be able to due if the image was processed while being recorded.

When Digital Film Tools sent us the announcement that they were releasing 55MM, I knew that it would be a very practical package and I was anxious to test it. Not only is it useful for the reasons I mentioned above but it also lets you fix in post problems that you may encounter in production, especially if you needed a specific filter that wasnt available at the time of shooting.

Many times throughout my career I have received footage for editing that had problems such as the wrong color balance, unflattering close-ups and dull skies. While most of these things can be fixed in post with standard tools, the process usually requires hours of tinkering with settings and combining effects. What 55MM does is make this process much easier, putting specific tools at your disposal that can take just seconds to set up.

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Related Keywords:After Effects plug-ins, plug-in, 55MM, Avid, combustion, filter, filters, optical, special effects, pro mist

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