The Formatt Hitech Custom Diffusion Filter Kit was designed to allow cinematographers to find the right filtration for each lens, camera, or project.
With so many different types and strengths of diffusion available, it can certainly be a challenge to come up with ones that work best for an individual’s requirements.
The foundation behind the Formatt Hitech Custom Diffusion filter kit is to isolate and enhance the three essential components of diffusion – Resolution, Halation, and Contrast. I will talk more about these three elements further down in the article.
The kit comprises a full set of fifteen 4×5.65” different Resolution, Halation, and Contrast filters in 2mm thickness, which can be combined in a standard matte box filter tray.
They also fit into matte boxes with clamping/pressure filter mechanisms, such as the Bright Tangerine Atom. If needed the 2mm filters can also be used individually in the Firecrest 4×5.65 Superslim 2mm tray.
Why 2mm you may ask? Well, by using thinner filters you can organize each key variable and put together multiple filters in any combination for testing.
Once you find the right combination, a bespoke 4mm standard thickness 4×5.65” Custom Diffusion filter can be ordered based on the formula.
Up to three individual 2mm Custom Diffusion filter characteristics can be combined into the finished single 4mm filter, which according to the company, can usually be delivered within six weeks.
Conversely, you could just simply use the 2mm Custom Diffusion filters from the set in combination if you wanted to. Users can also specify and build smaller bespoke sets of the 2mm Custom Diffusion filters to order.
Each filter is labeled with a code, which gives you key information about its diffusion characteristics. The edges of each filter are also color-coded to aid identification.
The full kit comes in a dedicated HPRC hard case with foam specifically designed not to scratch the filters. There are 2mm slots for each filter, laid out for easy selection and handling.
Resolution certainly does play a factor when it comes to image quality, and when using filters. The biggest challenge for cinematographers is to diffuse the image while maintaining details. Formatt Hitech’s Custom Resolution filters use microlenses that are claimed to diffuse light while preserving crystal-clear focus on the subject. The filters were designed to ensure the user never has to worry about unwanted fine details or moiré patterns when capturing intricate fabrics.
Halation can usually be seen as a glow around light sources. It normally helps to soften and enhance the allure of candles, or practical light bulbs to create, soft, blooming light. Formatt Hitech filters utilize larger mist particles to create this effect. What you need to remember is that halation and contrast work together hand in hand. Different filter colors can wield varying effects on light dispersion and contrast levels.
Contrast is often associated with images we see when watching films or episodic television. High contrast delivers deep blacks and strong highlights to create a dramatic look. Conversely, low contrast yields a subtle, more nuanced look. Formatt Hitech’s Contrast filters are designed to evenly disperse light with fine mist particles.
Price & Availability
The fifteen-filter Formatt Hitech Custom Diffusion kit is available now and costs $3,039 USD including the hard case. Additional 2mm filters are available at $225 USD per filter.
A bespoke 4×5.65″ Custom Diffusion filter made to customer specification costs $549 UDS and takes approximately six weeks to make from the time of order.
The filters are available to order now via the Formatt-Hitech website.
Yes, this is a fairly niche product, and it is arguably being targeted at mid to high-end owner-operators. It does, however, seem like a good product if you use diffusion filters a lot and want to come up with a formula that works for your requirements instead of just buying an off-the-shelf filter. Personally, if I was going to spend $3039 USD on a set of filters I would probably just be tempted to use the 2mm filters together instead of ordering custom 4mm versions.
Dealers or rental houses could also potentially purchase the full 2mm Custom Diffusion kits, allowing their clients to then determine the exact combination they want in a 4mm filter so they can go on to order it.
According to Formatt Hitech, the filters offer a previously unavailable level of customization, giving cinematographers precise control over their shots.