The One Tool You Will Need To Make Your Videos More Cinematic

It’s an Arri camera…

Okay, great blog! We can all go to lunch now! Thanks for stopping by!


Ok thank you! You’re still here! The one thing that you will need to make your videos more cinematic is a Neutral Density Filter.

“A nah-who-what?”

Yes. Neutral Density Filter. Or more simply put. ND Filter. What is it? What does it do?

How ND Filters work

These filters essential have two layers, and two pieces of glass. As you turn the outer glass, it begins to cut out stops of light. The particular one I use is the Peter McKinnon 2–5 PolarPro edition. *not sponsored by them*

This filter will cut 2–5 stops of light which is very helpful when shooting video! Why? When you’re shooting video to get that cinematic look, you shoot at 24fps (frams per second), and by rule of thumb, your shutters speed should always be double your frame rate. This will give you a natural motion blur that feels very familiar, because movies are shot at this frame rate typically. There are scenarios where you would shoot at other frame rates, but we’ll save that for another time.

If you’re at 24fps, that means your shutter speed is at 1/48s, or more likely 1/50s. Okay? But, why do you need an ND filter? With 1/50s being a very slow shutter speed it is going to let a lot of light in, so you have to compensate it some how to make sure you have a proper exposure. You always want to the lowest ISO setting you can, depending on the video profile you’re shooting with it will vary what the lowest will be, and you will not want to change the shutter speed of the video will not look right.

That leaves aperture to adjust. Aperture as you know controls the depth of field. If you want a shallow DOF, you’re going to have to use the f1.4, f1.8 and other very wide apertures. Again, this lets a lot of light in?

You can do two things. Either use a smaller aperture, losing that cinematic DOF touch, or use an ND filter to cut out 2–5 stops of light to get a proper exposure. This is how it’s done in Hollywood. They use ND filters to get the proper exposure, so they can retain the cinematic settings that they chose to get the shot the way they were envisioning it.

Lance, those are so expensive!!!

Yes. You will spend good money, on good filters. You will spend no money, on s****y filters. When you get cheap filters, you risk a huge loss in video quality, technical issues, and massive disappointment. Save your money, and buy the quality lenses! This PolarPro lens is excellent, and well worth the money! Again, I’m not sponsored or supported by them…but if they wanted to…I wouldn’t say “no.” haha

Check out the video below for more information:

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