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Rosco View: New Frontier Tools

While I was walking the CineGear floor this year trying to take it all in, which is literally sensory overload for me, I came upon a product demo that was off to the side, a booth less traveled. I saw my friend Jeff at the booth, and he showed me his new light pads, an old science made new. I bought them the next day.

 

“Balancing the inside with the outside”

As a cinematographer, one of the challenges of shooting on location is dealing with Mother Nature, and she can kick your butt. Especially with the new digital age, balancing your inside light with your outside light has become even more important. Nothing gives away a digital looking image more than clippy, blown out windows.

Sorry for all the suspense here, but I want you all to see how important and extraordinary this tool is. On Deadfall, I had to shoot on location in a house as we did not have the budget to build on stage. The light had to be late afternoon, dusk, dawn, twilight and night for 28 pages. This was a daunting task for my amazing grip crew lead, Michel Périard.

 

“Bring out the Gel and the Staple Guns”

To create twilight in the middle of the day, my team had to put layers of Rosco Neutral Density along with RE 117 Steel Blue to bring the daylight outside down to a 1.4. Then I would shoot around a 2.0 to 2.8. We had tons of windows. We spent thousands of dollars, along with hours and hours of overtime, and added crew to do this.

When the light would drop outside, we would have to start taking some ND off to keep the 1.4 balance — time consuming and wasted energy. SMASH CUT to Rosco View, which is the use of two polarizing filters, one on the windows and the other on the camera. Imagine if the sun goes into the clouds. With the old way, we would have to wait until the sun came back out so that our stop remained the same. Sometimes this can take 20 to 30 minutes. With Rosco View, all you do is rotate the pola on the camera, which syncs up with the polarizing filter that your grip team has affixed to your windows, and VOILA!! BAM!!!! You are ready to shoot. Just like an ND fader, you are cross fading the two polas and either bringing the outside up in stop or down with the ease of just turning the pola on your camera. THIS IS HUGE!!!!!! This single device has increased my speed on location tenfold.

 

Rosco View

Rosco View not dialed in with blown out "video" looking exterior

Rosco View not dialed in with blown out "video" looking exterior

Rosco View used to balance the left window

Rosco View used to balance the left window

Rosco View at full ND for a night exterior look on left window

Rosco View at full ND for a night exterior look on left window

This is a game changing device for balancing day exterior and interior shots. Notice in the example how I took a blown out exterior and dialed it in to be balanced or completely dark for a night exterior look with the skin tones unaffected. You only lose roughly 1 stop of light from the gel and 1 stop from the filter which isn’t a problem shooting day interiors and exteriors.

Their pola is essential for this process to work. Please do not try this with others. The effect could change colors as well as affect people’s face reflections. This one does not. I cannot wait to employ this one on my next project. Whoa, wait a minute. I just did, but in a way that I think Rosco never imagined.

 

“Out of the box use of polarization”

I was just up in Seattle working on a Boeing project, and we came across an effect that will be in the new 787 Dreamliner. The effect is double polarization, where you touch a button and instead of pulling down your shade to go to sleep or watch your favorite film, the window dims to black. Impressive!!!! Telling this story was complicated. Visual effects wanted green screen, then light changes, then shooting the kid on black. You name it, there was a laundry list of shots to do.

Then the LIGHTMARE happened in Seattle. I remembered back to that Rosco booth off to the side at CineGear and that Rosco View demo. Yeah baby!!!! I asked myself, what if we put the polarizing hard plexi on the kid’s window? Then we add the Rosco View pola onto the camera. When the boy pushes the button, my assistant will rotate the pola and the window will go black. Wow, it worked like gangbusters.

 

Rosco View pola

Rosco View pola

But we had a second issue to deal with. I was able to make the window go black, but the setting sunlight that we created was still on his face. Obviously, if we made the window go black, no light should be hitting his face. Well, I thought, if it worked for the window, why would it not work with the light as well? So I had our key grip take two 4 x 4 pieces of the Rosco View polarization gel and mount it on two 4 x 4 frames. I put one in front of the light, while the other would need to be rotated.

Now this is where it gets fun. Using the same process that I had with the pola on the camera and the pola on the window, I was able to take any light and dim it out without a color shift. Do you understand how huge this is? HMIs, which can never dim, have a way to dim now, without a color shift. Engineers have been working for decades to dim Kino Flos without color shift, LED lights, you name it. So what my grip team did was to place one frame in front of the light, and then placed the other in a grip’s hands next to the kid’s window.

 

“All Together Now”

As we dollied in, and the kid pushed the button, my assistant rotated the pola on the camera at the same time the grip rotated the 4 x 4 frame, which dimmed the light out perfectly and the window went dark. MAGIC!!!! When the director, client and visual efx’s saw this, it blew their minds. Innovation, creation. I love what I do.

 

Notice in the monitor that the window is green

Notice in the monitor that the window is green

The grip is at the ready to rotate.

The grip is at the ready to rotate.

My assistant rotates the pola on the camera. Notice the window has gone dark and the light on their faces is gone as well.

My assistant rotates the pola on the camera. Notice the window has gone dark and the light on their faces is gone as well.

Grip rotates the second layer of Rosco View and dims the light completely off of our kid and mom.

Grip rotates the second layer of Rosco View and dims the light completely off of our kid and mom.

 

You can find more info on the Rosco View at www.rosco.com and purchase it at B&H.

How would you use the Rosco view on one of your projects? I would like to open up a forum for sharing ideas around this revolutionary tool.

Author: Shane

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60 Comments

  1. Wait, so Rosco has an on-camera polarizing filter that does NOT cut the reflections off of people’s faces? What?

    Post a Reply
    • Jesse Brauning. That is correct, the Rosco view filter is matched to the gel so it doesn’t affect anything else like skin tones.

      Post a Reply
  2. Loved seeing Angie in the photos, she’s a great gal! Also, appreciated the article, thank you

    Post a Reply
    • Lincoln, yes, she looks great. LOve the action shots. All together now. You are very welcome. Thanks for your support

      Post a Reply
  3. As always Shane, you are communicating precious information that can be found no where else. Thank you so much for this! It’s obvious once you’ve thought of it…and it’s revolutionary once you did.

    Two Questions:
    1. Where can you buy Rosco View? B&H only carries the filters.
    2. I couldn’t understand where all the lights were coming from and therefore why you also needed a grip in addition. I read your blog 3 times but I am still confused. I guess a drawing of the light set up would have been really helpful.

    Post a Reply
    • Noah.

      1. You can buy the Rosco view gel and filter at http://www.filmandvideolighting.com/rovigelwifi5.html.

      2. I used the filter and one layer of gel to darken the window. Then I had the grip rotate a second gel to Dim the light outside of the window simultaneously. Making the second gel work as a variable ND for the HMI shooting through the window which would not of been possible otherwise.

      Hope that helps and thanks so much for the comment and support. You can find more info and where to buy the Rosco view here https://www.rosco.com/FTVP/roscoview.cfm

      Post a Reply
    • James Nation, yes and no, lighting interior car shots is always a daunting task to make it look real and natural. By putting this onto your car windows you will lower the light level inside 2 stops, then the Rosco View pola takes an additional 2 stops, so you are loosing 4 stops. I will test.

      Post a Reply
      • Technically speaking, the RoscoVIEW panels and camera filters are “1-stop” polarizers at zero rotation. I would also mention that this is a Linear polarizer rather than a Circular one.

        Post a Reply
  4. Wow, this is huge! I remember for a a scene we had to build wood panels with translucent plastic sheets and keep stacking, unstacking them as the sun kept moving to keep the exposure consistent, such a time-consuming process. also the fact that you could use this technique with any light to dim it is amazing.
    Thanks for sharing Shane, as always your generosity is much appreciated.

    Post a Reply
    • Andy M, Yes it is, that is why I am so excited about this. I don’t think people are understanding the power of this post. Thank you for the kind words.

      Post a Reply
  5. Amazing post as usual
    thank you very very much Mr Shane

    Post a Reply
    • Aksel, thank you so much for your kind words.

      Post a Reply
  6. Hi Shane, nice to see you posting again. Keep it coming!

    Post a Reply
    • Baron, Thank you for your support. I have been posting since I started this blog. This is done by me, not others pretending to be me like others.

      Post a Reply
  7. This is such a damn smart solution. When some one calls me brilliant for doing it, I’ll do my best to say it’s Mr. Hurlburt idea.

    Thanks

    Post a Reply
    • Keith Lanpher, ha ha, thank you so much, make it your own my friend.

      Post a Reply
  8. That is SO legit. Definately going to give this a try next time I have something involving a car. Thanks for the tip ;)

    Post a Reply
    • Seth, no need for a car. This is for every day interior you ever have to shoot. Thanks for the support

      Post a Reply
  9. Great idea Shane! Smart thinking, and I’m sure the client loved you for it and the FX guys hated you. What matte box is that with the marked and groved rotating filter holder? I often use the ARRI MB20 or similar and if you want to rotate the circular pola is a bit more of a task.

    Post a Reply
  10. Shane,

    Holy shamoley!!! This is awesome. I’ve been trying to get something that would allow me the flex and speed this will allow me. Thank you for telling us of this little gem, and thanks to Rosco for producing this.

    -Don

    Post a Reply
  11. Wow this is amazing. Even just today I battled exposure changes non-stop for day interiors and struggled. So when you’re adjusting the pola is there a way to effectively meter the light levels that are reaching the lens or do you just need to dial in by eye? Definitely would love to play with some of this stuff! Thanks for your continual advice and support.

    Post a Reply
  12. Hi Shane, I work for the Rosco Markham office in Canada. I would like to put an ad in the CSC magazine November issue. Would it be ok if I pulled a few quotes from your article, as well as your photo from Twitter? Feel free to contact me regarding this at chanda.mclean@rosco.com

    Post a Reply
  13. Shane,

    This alone is worth a trip to here.. Wow! The question is how soon does some one make a complicated rig that costs thousands of dollars to do this. I remember shooting a commercial where we put up maybe 10, 8×4, sheets of ND.9 gel on windows. This goes into my reference file.

    Thanks for sharing

    Be well

    Laurence

    Post a Reply
    • Laurence Zankowski, thank you for the kind words and this is what sets us apart.

      Post a Reply
  14. Can I curse? Holy shit this is real magic. Thank you Shane, you can’t believe how excited I am about this product thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. You are an inspirational person,
    I never found people like you who enjoys with pleasure sharing your knowledge. Knowledge comes with experience and learning from others but in the production world that I was in, I didn’t find many people like yourself

    I graduated from film school 10 years ago, ever since I worked in the field in everything from PA, AC, Grip, Electric, Gaffer, DP, music videos shorts, features, commercials. Then I moved on TV news photographer, and news entertainment stuff. I always wanted to learn more, new tricks and technology out there to improve and be the best i could be at what I do. This may just be me but sometimes I felt like people that i wanted to learn from and pick their brain gave me and others crew members a vibe of you could become to good if i share all my knowledge with you.

    Shane, you are the internet filmmaker mentor to many young filmmakers.

    I am stablished shooting and editing videos at a Ivy League University Communications Department. Most of the thing i absolve from reading your blog I try to employed as much as possible on my work and plan to use on Larger freelance projects.

    Thank you for teaching filmmaking techniques via your blog.

    Post a Reply
    • Rudy Diaz, these are the comments that inspire me to continue. Thank you for all of these kind words and for your support of our blog. This means a lot. Thank you for sharing.

      Post a Reply
  15. Mind.. blown. This is amazing! I had never even heard of this before now. Thank you so much, Shane! – And great going on the innovation.

    Post a Reply
    • Tom Riseth, thank you so much for your kind words and all of your support

      Post a Reply
  16. Deadfall
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1667310/

    I will see this movie for one reason – Shane’s cinematography. Shane sets the bar high. Treasure chest of ideas and techniques on this website. Quick question, any more updates coming on the Canon 1DC in the near future? Cheers.

    Post a Reply
    • Ron, Thank you so much for your kind words and continued support.

      Post a Reply
  17. This is huge…

    I spoke today about it with Mr. Luj Todorovic (one of judges for IABM Peter Wayne Award for Design & Innovation at IBC) and he couldn’t belive that product like this wasn`t noticed (either nobody nominate Rosco or they being tucked behind “shinie” booths at exbition) or awarded. This is easy, according to Luj aswel, biggest inovation shown this year. So simple concept and so effective on many layers. Just imagine dimmable softbox or 4×4 rotating double frame (heck, we even did some sketches how system can be implemented…B)). Real revolution without a single piece of silicon or electricity…B)

    Post a Reply
    • Stevo,

      Exactly what i was thinking, the rotating kaleidoscope approach to this, multiple planes even rotate the planes at different speeds. How to scale, do you use some sort of boom arm and hang the planes from it. Or do you create a lightweitght truss to do this. My years as a roadie are showing up. Getting it….

      Be well

      Laurence

      Post a Reply
      • Laurence,

        Basicly 2x circular rail-rings that can rotate around each other with diametar of fixed frame from one side and from another side frame whos side equal to diametar fixed one so he can cover full plne of fixed diametar in every roatation position. Offcourse thats theory, neef to get my hands on one sheet of filter first to figure does it need some distance betwean each other to depolarise.

        Post a Reply
      • Laurence Zankowski, thank you so much for sharing your ideas. SOunds very cool

        Post a Reply
    • Stevo Vasiljevic, I could not agree more. So simple but the possibilities are endless. I am using on my next feature with DreamWorks on multiple levels. Thanks for the support

      Post a Reply
      • Shane,

        did u had chance to test effective distances betwean 2 sheet of filter (not lens filter) in which they can function as fader-ND filter?

        I`m not realy fan of variable density filters as exposition control tool due fact that they heavily and prety erradicaly depolarise reflected light. But if there is way (which i belive that Rosco system is capable of doing) to apply same light control concept on incident light, before distance and subject pollution, it will possible to develope intesity control that is indipendant of light source and by that very cost and time effective.

        Post a Reply
        • Stevo Vasiljevic, I put one at the light and the other was through a 12 x 12 of light grid cloth and the other piece of Rosco View was about 20 feet away and it worked perfectly.

          Post a Reply
  18. Wow. Being able to dim the light through a window is massive, but doing the same thing with gels for the lamp itself is crazy! Imagine if those gels could be set to rotate in one stop increments as opposed to guessing the amount, that could make for some really specific effects. The future’s bright, or not so bright, or anywhere in between! ;)

    Post a Reply
    • Oli Kember, Thank you so much for your support my friend. Yes, that is a great idea. Scrims are much easier and less expensive when it comes to the big HMI, but to dim in shot which cannot be done with an HMI that is what I found very unique. As well as big soft sources, it didn’t matter that I put it through a big 12x of Light Gridcloth.

      Post a Reply
  19. Now someone needs to come with a 4′ diameter circular filter holder that mounts on a C-stand and rotates easily.

    Post a Reply
  20. wow that just wow ……..incredibly powerful tool …thanks shane

    Post a Reply
    • visualmed, you are very welcome. Thank you for your kind words

      Post a Reply
  21. This is fantastic! How does it behave when you are tracking or moving handheld though?

    Also looking at the test, I can see a legion of short films etc happening where the actors look heavily rim lit because they have darkened the windows down way too much! ;)

    Cheers,

    Toby

    Post a Reply
    • Toby Angwin, I will be testing this exact thing for Need for Speed. Thanks for the kind words.

      Post a Reply
      • The Polarization effect with 2 separate elements happens from a 0 – 90 degree rotation. You may see a minimal change when using handheld or Stedicam. Extreme tilts or Dutch angles will create a definite change.

        RoscoVIEW prevents only one stop of light from entering through the window. If there is a 6 stop difference from your exposure and the light falling on the talent then yes, there will be a serious, crispy critter, rim light. You can control the exposure outside the windows from the cameras viewpoint but the majority of the light is still entering. Be cautious how much direct light falls on the set and talent when compared to your exposure.

        Post a Reply
  22. It’s semi off-topic but I had a question for a while when it comes to “outside and inside” exposure:

    Is there a difference between putting filters on the windows and putting an ND on the lens ? (assuming we expose for the outside in both cases)

    Which leads me to the second part of my questioning: exposing for the windows makes the entire room underexposed.. unless we light it like crazy ? Is that the good way of doing it if I hate blownout highlights ? (I only have a 60D at my disposal so the dynamic range isn’t that great).

    Anyway this polarizing filters combo looks superb, so thanks for telling us about it !

    Post a Reply
    • Tom, Yes you have to light the HELL out of it to balance your exposure except if you use this Rosco View which balances your outside while you are able to use the ambient light inside and not light the beJesus out of it. This product would be perfect for your 60D.

      Post a Reply
  23. I’m setting this up for TV studio with live window to the street. If somebody starts to misbehave on the street, I rotate the filter on the camera and the window goes dark :). They can still see inside, but the camera doesn’t see out :)

    Post a Reply
    • palisady, ha ha, that is one way to use the power of the Pola.

      Post a Reply
  24. Wow!! Amazing, this was a great idea! Thank you so much for the article. I don’t know if I’ll need this at the moment for any of my projects, but I’m sure it’ll become useful later! Great idea again!

    Post a Reply
    • Bailey McAlister, thank you for your kind words and support

      Post a Reply
  25. Hi Shane. I came across your website while looking for some info about this Roscoe system, as I thought it may work for an upcoming project. Have you tested the effects of tracking, panning, handheld yet? My shoot will involve multiple handheld moving cameras, and obviously normal polarisation is very much dependent on angle to the glass. Thanks

    Post a Reply
    • Jezza, like everything with polarization, you just have to test it and see if you like the effects, especially when it comes in and out of polarization. I did not do extensive tests with that.

      Post a Reply
  26. RoscoView: great idea…fantastic product….REALLY expensive sadly.I’ve only been able to use it a couple of times because of enormous cost.I bought some of my own; must guard and protect it savagely! I wish they could make it less expensive, but it sounds like that is impossible.

    Post a Reply
    • doug, I know. It is a bummer. I have asked them many times to bring the cost down but they say it is so expensive to begin with. Thanks for the support

      Post a Reply
  27. Sorry for being so late to the party, but I just found out about this process, and I was googling to find out how others were using it.

    One question – I’m not sure why you need to rotate the filter on the camera. It seems to me that if you keep the filter on the camera steady, when you rotate the gel outside the window, the light would be cross-polarized from the camera because of the middle gel, making it appear to go dark. You would have the filter polarized in-line with the gel on the light. If you only had to rotate the one gel, it would keep the reflections on people and objects in the frame consistent throughout the shot, and there wouldn’t be the potential for one filter rotating at a different rate than the other, which would cause the light level to fluctuate.

    Nice idea

    Post a Reply
    • Mark Bulla, the reason we rotated both of them was to increase the speed that the effect happened out the window. It was a commercial and the grip outside the window could only rotate it 90 degrees, this was the reason for both. But yes you are absolutely correct. Thanks for your support and comments

      Post a Reply

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