Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Enhancing Filters

What's the deal with color enhancers? I have a Tiffen 4x4 and have used it a couple of times in 16mm. Need to know more. Anybody use them? What's "them" anyway. Is that what makes commercials way punchier, that and cranked up transfer?


I've used both the Enhancer Filter and the 812. First off with the is more of a warming filter than an enhancer but is geared more to flattering the skin tones...especially for black people..highly recommend it.

I used the 812 in combination with a soft f/x 3 on a music video I did for jazz guitarist Norman Brown. We were shooting in the mountain areas of the high desert two hours north of LA and got some great results. There was one scene where I was working with the artist performing next to a cherry red 57' Chevy. And the reds that popped out from that car were unreal...I loved it.

There were other scenes where he playing his guitar and it was made of deep warm wood tones and the metal on it was gold....couldn't have asked for a better combination of colors with the filter I was using. The stop loss is about a 1/3...but I didn't compensate for it as I wanted it to do it's "thing".

Now the Enhancer is even more geared towards the heavy saturation of reds and oranges....with about a stop loss of 1/2 to 1.....and if you want to see colors pop..this is the one.....nice to use outside..which is what it is geared for.....I wish I could use it to shoot something out in New England during foliage season...apparently this is what this filter was designed for when it got created. I've also seen other peoples work with the Enhancer when they do shoots in the Caribbean...pretty nice stuff.

And yes we should not forget the power of Telecine to "Enhance" the Enhancer.

Luc Nicknair

I used to use one a hell of a lot, I probably will again

They seem to give a much added punch to some of the colours, more so than you can get in TK.

Also can give you a hell of a problem with sunburn, even with very dark skins that don't appear to burn.

Geoff Boyle

I now use color enhancing all the time when shooting tape, often in 16 and sometimes in 35. Just did small add that had to look really punchy on 16. The enhancer with 7245 really gives a rich and almost 35mm look under the right conditions.

On previous shoot I did the same product shot with and without the enhancer to compare and the difference was obvious but they were able to crank it up some with the telecine but not getting quite the same.

Beware of fire trucks. On a corporate shoot we had a stand up with a fire truck in the BG and the results were scary. The enhancer had to go for this shot.

Daniel Villeneuve

I assume that we are all talking about "red" enhancers when we speak of enhancers. (Unless they've come up with some others in the last year...)

Is it possible to preview the effect by eye or is there some reason that doesn't work?

I've done some selective lighting enhancement in the past, but I haven't played with the filters. If I want an oak cabinet in the background to really pop, I'll hit it with a small light with 1/2 CTO on it. I recently shot an interview against a painted blue sky+clouds backdrop. Hitting it with 1/2 blue really made it come alive.

Art Adams

Often didymium for red enhancement. Use often for foliage or for exaggerated reds. The majority of the red shift on flesh tones can be extracted in printing or telecine for "normal" fleshtones


I've used Tiffen's enhancing filter many times, especially shooting fall foliage, matches igniting at high speed, the circus, and et cetera. It enhances red hues to an extremely high degree and can give flesh tones an unpleasant magenta cast. Care should be taken with pushing the reds too far if you're finishing on the telecine, of course.


There is an article in an issue of Photo Life Magazine about Didymium filters (enhancers). With this article you will understand a lot of things about the didymium.

A part from what everybody says from the enhancers, I always have one when I shoot with HMI's not to put on the camera but they are very good to use by hand to calibrate your HMI's.

I had a shot of an Olympic skating girl that had to be lit with 4 HMI followspots. I was able to calibrate all of my followspots to the same color just by looking thru the enhancer. My enhancer worked better than my colormeter, since the colormeter wasn't able to see the difference between the HMI's (I own a Minolta colormeter IIIF), the enhancer did.

Surprising but true, I had my gaffer put on some half-green, minus-green, CTO and CTB until all of the followspots where identical thru my enhancer (holding it in my hands).

Serge Desrosiers

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