Video tips: why you should use ND filters when filming


The most important thing videographers want while filming? Footage that consistently works. While moving around filming your subject, an ND filter can help you maintain your ideal settings and chosen aperture, while reducing the light passing through the lens in the process.

We spoke with videographer (and Shutterstock Custom Contributor)  Ben Giesbrecht on why he uses ND filters when he’s filming, and how they’ve made his work seem incredibly effortless.


So- ND filters. Why do you use them when filming?

ND filters are used to help reduce your shutter speed in order to follow the 180-degree rule while maintaining proper exposure. The 180 degree refers to the shutter angle used with film cameras, a 180-degree shutter will equal to double the frame rate (e.g., 24fps @ 1/48). This will allow for the slight bit of motion blur we’re all used to seeing in cinema.

You can imagine shooting at 1/48 with an open aperture on a sunny day would next to impossible, that’s where the ND filters come in. Without following the 180-degree rule, your footage could end up looking jittery, edgy and unnatural. 

Do you always use them? Is there ever a situation where you wouldn’t use one?

I use them as much as possible. The only time I wouldn’t use them would be at night or in any other low light situation. 


Do you have a favorite brand of ND filter?

There are lots of great brands out there, Tiffen is one that I often use. 

You travel a lot for work. What’s your go-to camera kit when you’re filming while on the go?

When I’m traveling and need to pack light, I shoot with a Sony a7s ii, Canon 24-70mm 2.8L lens paired with an 8 stop Tiffen variable ND, making it easy to maintain my proper settings while adjusting exposure on the fly.

Check out a recent video that Ben created to find out exactly why he's an expert on the subject.

Ben is a photographer and videographer based on Vancouver Island. You can find him on his website, Tumblr, or Instagram.

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