I’ve always been a big fan of Tiffen optical filters, and many of our clients have a large selection of them in their kits. They offer a wide variety of effects, many of which have become very essential. It came as a surprise to me that they have taken their wide variety of filters and made a full digital effects library as well. This was particularly interesting to me because I’m accustomed to certain optical filters and gels and I can now apply them digitally. I’m not suggesting anyone give up an optical filter set, but there are so many options in this software that I wouldn’t normally try on camera. Also, they have some very cool effects that go far beyond the filter world. Tiffen makes a stand-alone version of the software as well as plugins for many applications including Final Cut Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, and many more. I’ve been playing with the FCP plugin and have had good results.
They break down the different filters into several sections including Gels, Diffusions, Grads/Tints, Film Lab, and Special effects. Each section contains a number of different effects. For example, in the Gels section you’ll find Cine Filters, Naked Cosmetics, and a whole color wheel of Rosco gels. In FCP you can apply these effects on a clip in a Sequence and see the result right away. The Diffusion section contains all the popular softening filters, including Pro-Mist and Glimmerglass, and the effect is spot on. I liked this particularly because I often shy away from extreme optical effects in fear of being unhappy with the result. I prefer to keep my camera original and as clean as possible and do the effect in post.
There are also some other big advantages over an optical filter. Each filter is very adjustable. Fine adjustments are provided for each filter to get exactly what you are after. Also several filter effects can be limited to a specific section of the screen with a mask. The mask can be animated to follow one object in your clip – a person’s face for example. Check out some examples of different effects here – DFX Image Gallery - and here is a full list of the available filters - DFX Filter Categories
They have also released a small iPhone app called PhotoFX which has many of the same features in a scaled down form. This is a great on set application to see what different looks might work in post.
Finally, here are some of my own examples as well. Thanks again to Kerry from our service department.