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Jerry Hofmann reviews Digital Film Tool's 55mm Plugin for NLEs

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Jerry Hofmann reviews Digital Film Tool's 55mm Plugin for NLEs



A Creative COW "Real World" Product Review



Jerry Hofmann reviews Digital Film Tool's 55mm Plugin for NLEs
Jerry Hofmann
Jerry Hofmann
jlh productions
Denver, Colorado USA
©2002 Jerry Hofmann and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.

Article Focus:
There's been a lot of 'hype' surrounding Digital Film Tools' new 55mm Plugins for NLE's. In this article Jerry Hofmann, one of CreativeCOW's Final Cut Pro forum leaders lets COW members know whether the description of the tools is hype or if this set of filters deliver on the promise.


According to Digital Film Tool’s description of just what these filters are about, their web site says:

55MM is a unique set of filters from Digital Film Tools meant to simulate popular optical glass filters as well as specialized lenses. Color Grad, Mist, Fog, Warm/Cool, Skin Smoother, Night Vision and Infra-Red...to name just a few. Instead of fumbling around with glass filters when shooting, you can now precisely treat your images in a controlled digital environment.


Gee, I wonder if this is just hype or does this set of filters deliver on the promise?

One of the things I found interesting about this set of tools is that they actually give you more control over the look you end up achieving than the actual glass filters might have had you shot with them in the first place. Not only that, they cost a lot less than the same set of glass filters would have in the first place and these filters don’t get scratched! So many video shooters want the look of film, and this set of inexpensive filters goes a long way toward achieving more of the look of film because so many film shooters use these glass filters and lenses when they shoot film. Yes, mom, there is more to the look of film than 24fps and these filters are a step in the right direction. You can make a video look, well, a lot less like video.

But there’s more to it than just getting the look of film. How about cheering up a gloomy day’s sky, or cheering up your subject by removing wrinkles and blemishes? Or, one of my favorites, Selective Soft Focus, really begins to add much of what makes film look like film. There is typically a narrower depth of field achieved with film shoots, and you can simulate that very thing, or even defocus areas of your video that you may want to hide something in.

This set of filters is easy to use and each filter creates mattes for what is to be affected by the filter, which you can view separately from the finished video. Very quickly and easily, I put together the shots below to begin to give you an idea of what can be done with these very cool filters. If you visit Digital Film Tool’s web site you can view more before-and-after images of each of the filters in this set. There are 13 of them in all and include things like an ND grad, a very cool Fluorescent lighting correction filter, Defocus (and its very much unlike a blur, and much more like what a real defocus would do. Make no mistake; these filters are not a rehash of the filters that come with the software at all. These filters are very unique, and very effective indeed.

Here are some examples of the use of these filters but do click here for more:


Color Grad

In this example, the day the shot was made, there was a completely overcast sky. Dull looking pictures resulted. Couldn’t afford to wait around for one, so yep, I fixed this in post! Even simulating a brighter sun on the subjects with the same single filter. Notice the NTSC legal selection right there for you to keep things broadcast safe. Very nice. These shots were taken from Final Cut Pro, and notice the controls are very familiar looking.
Before


After




Skin Smoother


Sorry guys didn’t have a lady to show this with, but our wizened miner here could use a bit of a face-lift. Notice this is not just a blur added, his hair and other features of the shot like his hat and shoulder stay in focus! When you forget the powder, you can rest assured there’s help from your Skin Smoother filter. Think just how much better you can make that middle aged person feel about being on camera. Wish I could do this to myself in real life. Pay close attention to the area around his eyes.

Before


After
Plastic surgeons aren’t going to like this one!




Selective Focus

In the shot example below, the two miners are supposed to be trekking in the Klondike in the middle of nowhere. When it was shot, repeated takes of the snowy ground left repeated instances of tracks in the snow. Sort of kills the look that they are alone. Not to worry, we’ll fix it in post! This one filter alone is worth the price of admission. Notice the tracks in snow where the mouse pointer is. Also notice that the trees and our heroes stay in focus in the after shot.

Before


After


System Requirements needed to use these very cool filters:


Apple Final Cut Pro (all versions including FCP for OS X)
Avid Macintosh
Avid Media Composer 7.0 or higher
Avid MCXpress 1.5 or greater
Avid Xpress 2.0 or higher
Apple OS: whatever Avid Recommends for your system
Avid Windows NT or 2000
Avid Symphony 1.0 or higher
Avid Media Composer XL 8.0 or higher
Avid Xpress NT 2.0 or higher
Avid Xpress DV
Avid DS 4.0 or higher

Adobe After Effects 4.0 or above,

Discreet Combustion
All Windows & Apple OS 8.6 and above

Pinnacle Commotion
All Windows & Apple OS 8.6 and above



Yes, mom, there is more to the look of film than 24fps and these filters are a step in the right direction. You can make a video look, well, a lot less like video.

I give it 4 cows.


Click right here: http://www.digitalfilmtools.com Click now, click often. I really like these and you will too. (There’s a freebee filter for just visiting the site too.) Totally a fresh approach to what your NLE should do for you and priced very right at $145 for the set. Wonder if I could swallow that Skin smoother…

Jerry



Click here to visit Creative COW's user forums and many other articles if you got here by a direct link to this page





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