Home of Professional Cinematography since 1996

L L – D Filters (2) - Continued

Published : 18th November 2003

Greetings everyone,

If the LLD is to "replace" the 85 in low light situations where no compensation is needed, so avoiding changing to higher ASA film type, then why not use the LLD at all times? To what extent can I use the LLD? I know that it is an in-between filter solution but ...

Thanks beforehand.


Emmanuel SUYS
Kamera-Assistent, Focus Puller, Assistant Camera
European based, Munich

It's best to think of the LLD filter as a "super skylight / UV filter" with partial correction for excess blue rather than a full 85B correction. It was designed to filter out the excess UV that results from pulling the 85B filter outdoors, plus cancel a little of the excess blue to help you use closer-to-normal printing lights. It was particularly needed in older stocks that were more prone to UV haze in daylight if no filters were used.

David Mullen
Cinematographer / L.A.

The LLD is really only required for film that will be printed ... if you don't use it ... the added 85 equivalent will add a slight bit of yellow, noticeable in your neutral tones.

It isn't required for film that will be transferred to video ... unless you need to ... in order to justify your filter rental ... which happened on last nights shoot ...

Mako Koiwai, Glendale, CA

I personally use an LLD filter when I want that "cool-blue" look in exteriors and interiors (HMI's) when shooting tungsten film to protect the integrity of skin tones.

Florian Stadler
D.P., L.A.

Mako Koiwai wrote :

>The LLD is really only required for film that will be printed... It isn't >required for film that will be transferred to video...

Here's an odd thing I've been trying with the LL-D - using it on '45 stock all day/ ext's as a poor man's UV filter. Specifically on daylight stocks because there's no #85 filter to block UV. I wonder what level of UV is blocked or absorbed by a given daylight stock?

While you can color-correct anything, my guess is the UV brings out in some actor's a certain "vascularity" (for lack of a better word - dark rings under the eyes or blue veins in the hands for example). It really seems that with the transparency of certain skin, this is not as visible to the eye, but more visible on film (being that we don't perceive the effects of UV the same way film does - same with UV haze).

I also stopped using the True-Pol on those types of faces since it seems to "cut through the skin" and the gloss & sheen to show any veins or dark eyes. Polas aren't always the most flattering CU filter.

I've only recently been experimenting with this, and it does seem to help on certain actors under strong sunlight. I know it sounds strange - but so far so good.

Sound like I'm attributing a solution to the wrong fix ? Anybody have the same UV hunch ?

I really must try swinging the matte-box open on a CU to do an A/B check.

Mark Doering-Powell
LA based DP

Mako Koiwai wrote :

>The LLD is really only required for film that will be printed...It isn't >required for film that will be transferred to video...unless you need to...in >order to justify your filter rental


First let me say I respect your contributions to CML. I worked on a commercial recently where the DP had one of your charts. Very nice!

This may be nitpicking but recommending shooting Tungsten film outdoors without any 85 or LLD correction seems to me asking for trouble. I seem to recall that shooting any Tungsten stock without the 85 or even a LLD causes the Blue layer to become severely over exposed and thus causes grain and noise problems in transfer. I have discussed this with colorists over the years and all agree that the closer you start to zero correction the more electronic range they have with the image.

Colorist's I have talked with also say even though the transferred film may look normal after taking out all the blue, comparing that to a roll shot with the 85 will show a noticeable skew in color rendition and flesh tones. I still use a 85 or LLD depending on my needs. I do tend to shoot in a more documentary off the cuff style than most. Not having to bother with the 85 would save me time. I guess I need to experiment more and see what results I would get. Just color me old fashioned.

Tom McDonnell
New Orleans, La

>This may be nitpicking but recommending shooting Tungsten film >outdoors without any 85 or LLD correction seems to me asking for >trouble.

There have been a number of films to shoot outdoors on tungsten stock without the 85B filter for that slightly desaturated look in the flesh tones -- "Barry Lyndon", "Heat", and my own "Northfork" (and a few others my mine). I let the final print be a little cool, but "Barry Lyndon" was printed to neutral for most of the day scenes. It certainly is not optimal for printing or telecine but if you have a good reason to not use the 85B, then you don't need to be afraid of getting decent results as long as you are aware of your limitations (for example, it would be harder to print or color-correct the scene to extreme warmth if your original photography was very blue.) There's no free lunch but certainly it's interesting to explore the possibilities of working with an "uncorrected" negative.

I remember reading in "Image Control" that Alex Thomson preferred using Coral filters instead of 85's, but starting with a more or less unfiltered or barely corrected image as "white" in daylight and increasing warmth with the Corals (i.e. he didn't start with a Coral 5 as a base correction). Of course, this was back before high-speed daylight stocks were around and as many high-speed options, so perhaps he no longer does this. I remember reading that Steven Lighthill used Decamirids as balancing filters, but again, I don't know if he started with the equivalent of the 85B or something lighter.

Not all these warming filter substitutes like Corals have the same degree of UV filtration as the 85B (I think the Decamirids do) though.

David Mullen
Cinematographer / L.A.

>This may be nitpicking but recommending shooting Tungsten film >outdoors without any 85 or LLD correction seems to me asking for >trouble.

As long as it's the look you want, you've got nothing to worry about.

I remember being an assistant and watching a DP shoot with uncorrected HMI's indoors with tungsten film. I asked him about it; he said that every time you bounce a light or put it through diffusion it warms up a bit, so it ends up being half-corrected before the light even hits the film. I was sceptical, but he showed me how his color meter read the bounced light as 4300K.

Then I saw the final film and noticed that it had a blue cast, with blue highlights and shadows. Maybe he liked it, but there was a dance scene in it that was supposed to be light and lively and instead it looked like it was shot in the most depressing club on the face of the earth.

So it's a definite option but don't think you're going to get the same look as if you just used an 85/85B in the first place.

The coral technique interests me. Don't corals have more red in them than 85's? That must have a slight and subtle effect on the look.

Art Adams, DP
Mountain View, California - "Silicon Valley"

You can find some more info here, from IRA TIFFEN :


Click on Light Balancing Filters ...

I agree that the LLD would probably make a decent UV filter ... I'll see if I can get IRA to give us some data. If my footage needed to end up on the warm side ... sure I would use at least an LLD. I've found that almost anything warm can be used as a daylight correction filter ... but I tend to be more practical then perfect ...

Mako Koiwai, cameraman, Glendale, CA

Art Adams wrote :

>The coral technique interests me. Don't corals have more red in them >than 85's? That must have a slight and subtle effect on the look.

Corals vary enormously between manufacturers, I've got Tiffen, Harrison, and some custom ones from both VD and Formatt.

The custom ones have extra “extra” amount of magenta in them, increasing with filter grade, I've found that this helps with skin tones in our grey light


Geoff Boyle FBKS
Director of Photography
EU Based

Our experience with tungsten film shot without daylight correction does have an "ultraviolet cast". It is possible to correct back to nearly normal, but the shadows will have a bit of purpleish blue to them. I always surmised that the blue layer was very overexposed by both the blue light and the ultraviolet as well. We have seen a lot of film shot with an 85, which is pulled as the sun sinks and the light goes, and it is very difficult to match exactly the uncorrected footage.

There is a blue contamination that creeps into the skin tones and the shadows. When an LLD is used, it does eliminate the UV and gives a bit of correction. Just enough to bite into. It is, of course, far easier and you have a greater range of correction when the film is properly exposed. Now if you are going for that look, that is a different story.

(I have heard that even a pane of plain glass will absorb much of the UV radiation. Seems worth a try.)

Ed Colman - SuperDailies
Cinematographer Supervised Video Dailies

Ed Colman writes :

>(I have heard that even a pane of plain glass will absorb much of the >UV radiation. Seems worth a try.)

I order all of my filters from Tiffen with additional UV correctors built in; All ProMists, Glimmer Glass, Polarizers have it built in. It costs a bit more. But I find it very helpful even though I'm told that Kodak's new stocks are less UV sensitive. Couldn't hurt...

Steven Poster ASC