how does use of the matte box affect a film?

how could i notice its use if im watching a film? is it obvious?

1 Answer

  • 1 decade ago
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    In motion-pictures (professional filmmaking), a matte box is regularly used in front of the lens for two reasons. The first is to provide some measure of lens protection from light flares. If the matte box itself does not keep lens flares out, then an "eyebrow" will be placed on top of the matte box, extending out from the top of the matte box and adjusted appropriately to keep light from directly hitting the lens and creating a flare.

    The other use of a matte box in motion-pictures is to provide a way to place glass filtration in front of the lens. There are various types of glass that are used, such as Neutral Density, color correction, and diffusion. Most motion-picture matte boxes fit either 4x5 filters or 6x6 filters. For very wide lenses, you would use the larger format 6x6 and for 24mm and longer lenses, you would use the 4x5 matte box and filters.

    The point of any kind of filtration is to NOT be obvious, but to provide some kind of effect on the image that is appropriate to the story. It is highly unlikely that you would ever see the effect of a matte box for any reason. You might notice the absence of adequate flare protection when a flare refracts through the lens elements, but you would not likely ever notice when a matte box is being used. And that's the point of it.

    Brian Dzyak


    IATSE Local 600, SOC

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