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I want to try and recreate a filter effect similar to this. It's a partial nude, so potentially NSFW:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-zWtPvzfTE9I/T2752kGAH-I/AAAAAAAAADQ/WYKtq1lfLmE/s640/scan012.jpg

(The photographer is Nicolas Bossard and is featured in the Polaroid Book from Taschen, although there does not seem to be much more work by him online).

I have looked at Cokin filters, thinking they would be called vignette filters, but I've also seen mention of GND radial filters (although I can't find any) and centre spot filters. I assume that the 060 - Incolour 1 mentioned here might work although it doesn't have the gradient some of the others have, actually it looks like that is used for blurring not actually masking off the image.

I want to do this in preproduction as it will be shot on polaroid type pack film.

Normally a vignette achieved in photoshop would look like this (with a dark border around the edge): http://www.fmwconcepts.com/misc_tests/source_vignette_100x65000.png

I am looking for a filter which will vignette to white. Like so: https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3879/15011371735_d07d0aeed4_b.jpg

  • I am actually wondering if I can make something. – lharby May 6 '16 at 13:55
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Use the Punched Paper Technology: the setup

The hole should be placed close to the lens so its image becomes blurred, creating the vignette effect. Different lens and apertures might need different placement. Of course the color depends on our diaphragm color and lighting.

the effect

  • I love this, lo-fi is the way to go. Will be trying this out at some point soon. – lharby May 8 '16 at 9:29
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The traditional method would be to vignette the enlarger during printing. Since dark becomes light in that process, the result is a white border in the print. You can adjust the hardness or softness of this border by varying distance (or by moving it during the process, as one might for dodging). An article on this from Shutterbug mentions creating dark vignetting in the print by doing a double exposure, with the center masked out in the first.

But since you're shooting direct positive (a.k.a. Polaroid) film, that's out.

A center ND filter (as opposed to a center spot filter, which as you note are used for a blurring effect) might work, but these are really designed to compensate for the vignetting of wide and ultra-wide angle lenses, so they tend to be only a couple of stops. That might be sufficient for the effect you want. (Do note that you'll need to be stopped down quite a bit for it to work.)

However, "not cheap" is an understatement for some of those medium-format filters. You could try getting a budget UV or skylight filter and using Vitrea glass paint to make your own. (I have not done this, but I'd love to see the results of someone trying.)

  • Thanks mattdm needed to know what the name of the filter was. They don't seem to be cheap. – lharby May 6 '16 at 14:38
  • Yeah, that's an understatement. Added an idea for a DIY approach. If you try it, I'd love to hear how it works for you. – mattdm May 6 '16 at 15:16
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  1. Spread a thin layer of Vaseline/petroleum jelly around the edges of the lens. Smooth it to as uniform a thickness as possible.
  2. Shine a bright light directly at the camera from just out of the field of view.
  3. Adjust the distance/brightness/angle of the light until you have the amount of the effect you want.

If you're concerned about having to clean the lens afterwards you can use a piece of plastic wrap (Saran Wrap) held on the end of the lens by a rubber band and apply the vaseline to that.

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