The Lindsey Optics Brilliant² Rota-Pol 4 x 5.65″ Rotating Polarizer fits in 4” x 5.65” cine matte boxes and allows for easy rotation of the included 138mm Round Circular Polarizer. By mounting the 138mm polarizer in a filter tray, you can use a matte box that doesn’t provide rotating stages which are usually smaller and more compact.
What is a polarizer for?
A polarizing filter is placed in front of a lens to saturate blue skies, increase color saturation, manage reflections, or suppress glare from shiny surfaces such as water or metallic objects. A circular polarizer comprises of a linear polarizer, followed by a quarter-wave plate which further transforms the now-linearly polarized light into circularly-polarised light before entering the camera.
Polarizing filters can be rotated to maximize or minimize the amount of polarised light. Rotating the polarizing filter will make reflections, and other polarized light stand out or nearly disappear depending on how much of the light is polarized and the angle of polarization.
Why would you need a tray mounted polarizing filter?
If you are using a digital cinema camera and are running larger cinema lenses having a rotatable 138mm polarizer in a 4 x 5.65″ filter stage comes in handy. Having a rotatable 138mm polarizer filter in a 4 x5.65″ filter stage allows you to quickly dial in the exact amount of polarization that you require. Sometimes using a 138mm filter will require that the filter be placed in another rubber donut which requires rod support. By having it in a fiter stage, the matte box can still be used as a clip on.
The Brilliant² Rota-Pol features an all-aluminum main gear in which the 138mm Brilliant Pol Circular Polarizer filter is mounted. The main gear uses internal Delrin rollers so the filter won’t slip when it is being rotated. The main gear is driven by aluminum thumb wheels that have standard 0.8 pitch gear teeth for use with motorized wireless remote systems.
With the Brilliant² Rota-Pol you can have a rotating polarizer in your matte box, even if your matte box does not have a rotating filter stage. In matte boxes with a rotating stage, the Rota-Pol is quick to insert and once installed, it’s fast and easy to adjust, by hand or with a motor on the geared wheels. It does not cause any interference with rods in a rod mounted matte box.
Rotation of the polarizer can be done by spinning either of the two geared thumb wheels by hand or with a motor mounted on the 1/4–20 thread in the handle.
What is the filter made out of?
Lindsey Optics Brilliant-Pol Polarizing Filters are constructed using Schott B270 “water white” optical glass and are neutral grey in color. The filter uses a broadband multi-layer anti-reflection coating (MC Coating) that is claimed to dramatically reduces flare, stray light and ghost images caused by filter to filter reflection. This is said to increase contrast and color saturation. The coatings used are water and oil resistant and easy to clean. Fingerprints can be removed quickly and easily.
The filters are ground and polished double-sided lappers. They are flat to the highest industry standard, confirmed by the companies Zygo Phase Shift Interferometer. According to Lindsey Optics, they will not cause distortions or focus shifts, even with long focal length lenses.
As with all circular polarizers, the Brilliant Pol Circular Polarizers are constructed with two internal components, a linear polarizer that will reduce reflections and increase color saturation when rotated and a “quarter-wave plate” that spins the light entering the camera lens, preventing any cross polarization inside the camera and lens system.
The Brilliant² Rota-Pol is marked with “This Side Out” to correctly orient the filter when used as a Rota Pola.
Large Diameter Clear Aperture
The included 138mm diameter Brilliant-Pol circular polarizer gives a large 5.1″ clear aperture. The filter is masked top and bottom, preventing stray light from entering the matte box. The large size of this rotating polarizer is useful even with wide-angle lenses and large zoom lenses. It is dramatically more useful than other rota pola filters that use 4.5″ (114mm) polarizers.
No Accidental Cross Polarization
The Brilliant² Rota-Pol comes fitted with a Brilliant Pol 138mm Circular Polarizer. This filter has a 38% transmission, which results in a 1.5 stop light reduction. This translates to a neutral density value of ND 0.45.
Optional Motorized Control
As I mentioned earlier the 0.8 pitch gears on top of the filter allow for motorized control. This is useful if you want to change polarization to shift attention in a scene. This is especially handy if you wanted to hide or reveal story elements behind window glass or windshields. If you use a wireless remote with a motor you can do nice repeatable moves. Having a motor mounted would also add the ability to adjust the rotation while the camera is on a tracking vehicle or drone.
Use it as a Variable Neutral Density Filter
You can also use the Brilliant² Rota-Pol as a variable ND filter by combining it with another linear polarizer in a matte box. When you do this, the Rota-Pol must be reversed so that “This Side Out” points toward the camera lens. This puts the Quarter Wave Plate in the Circular Polarizer on the front side of the filter, which prevents accidental polarization effects.
This makes a 138mm rotatable polarizer a very versatile product, as it can do more than one job. The results you can obtain when using a circular and a linear polarizer to create a variable ND will really depend on the quality of the filters you are using.
Serial Numbers on Every Filter
In a nice touch, all Lindsey Optics filters have serial numbers for inventory control, warranty support, theft reporting, and insurance claims.
What matte boxes will it work in?
The Brilliant² Rota-Pol Rotating Polarizer works with Arri, Bright Tangerine, Chrosziel, Vocas, and other 4 x5.65″ professional matte boxes. It does not work with Red Rock Micro matte boxes or with the Tilta Studio matte box.
How does it perform?
I used the Brilliant² Rota-Pol Rotating Polarizer on a couple of recent jobs and I was very impressed by the results I obtained. The filter does a great job of reducing glare as well as increasing color saturation.
Above you can see a typical shot where a polarizer comes in handy. I was shooting a very bright scene with a lot of reflections coming off the ocean. The first shot is when just a small amount of polarization is being used, and the second is with a lot more polarization dialed in.
The Brilliant² Rota-Pol Rotating Polarizer also came in very handy when shooting in environments with lots of snow.
I was impressed with the performance of the Brilliant² Rota-Pol Rotating Polarizer. It is a very versatile and useful filter to have with you at all times.
Above you can see two examples of the Polarizer set at its minimum amount and at its maximum amount of polarization. All I did was shoot through the filter with a TV screen turned on in the background.
Competition comes in the form of the Tiffen Multi Rota Tray with 138mm Circular Polarizer ($770.40 USD), and the Revar Cine ROTA-TRAY 4X5.65/138MM with circular polarizer ($599.95 USD). The Lindsey Optics Rota-Pol looks very similar to the design of the Revar Cine which was introduced 6 years ago.
The Lindsey Optics Brilliant² Rota-Pol 4 x 5.65″ Rotating Polarizer retails for $599 USD. This makes it very attractively priced compared to its competition.
The Lindsey Optics Brilliant² Rota-Pol 4 x 5.65″ Rotating Polarizer is well made, easy to use, and most importantly, it produces very good results. If you don’t use or own a polarizer you really should. There are so many shooting scenarios where a polarizer allows you to capture scenes that would otherwise be difficult. If you are in the market for a tray mounted 138mm polarizer, the Lindsey Optics Brilliant² Rota-Pol 4 x 5.65″ Rotating Polarizer is a very good option.