I have been in the industry for almost 10 years now and for some reason I haven’t got round to buying a matte box. I live round the corner from another cameraman who has one so it’s always been convenient to nip round and pick his up whenever I need one
However earlier this month I decided to look into buying a matte box and was amazed by all the different options out of there; but had real troubles finding a matte box that would be able to offer me all of the following:
- 4X4 & 4X5.65 Filters & Multiple Trays
- Robust & Lightweight
- Vertical Adjustment
- Clamp On, Rod Mount & Swing away
Everything I could find solved one or two of the issues, but it became increasingly difficult to buy a universal system that would look after all applications.
The main problem that I needed to get round is that I shoot on a variety of different formats with many different lens combinations. It used to be easy when I was starting out as everything I worked on was shot on a digibeta, But nowadays I shoot on 5D, A7s, FS7, F5, F55, Arri Amira and XDCAM.
On top of this the lens combinations have also changed massively – It used to be all on the J11 or J21, but now I’m shooting using EF Primes, PL Primes, Canon CN17 and Canon HJ22 which all have different diameters, have different hoods and of course thread sizes. To buy filters for all of these individually would cost an absolute fortune!
With a long phone call to Lee at BPS in Hampton (Who is brilliant by the way… – I buy all my kit from BPS) and looking at all of the different companies supplying matte boxes we came to the conclusion that a company called Bright Tangerine who I hadn’t heard off making a matte box called “Bright Tangerine VIV” (http://www.brighttangerine.com/).
Luckily BPS had a demo unit in their showroom and I swung by to see Lee who gave me a quick demo – and I was amazed. Finally a piece of kit that could solve all of my problems!
Before I go on I would like to note that I am in no way involved or supported by Bright Tangerine – I simply feel that when you find a product that solves so many issues then it should be shared!
Referring back to my bullet points above and starting with:
– 4X4, 4X6.65 and Multiple Trays.
The VIV comes standard with 2 filter trays – but one of the things that makes the product unique is that its expandable and your able to customize it very easily. One of these accessories available is the expansion pack. With a few twists of an allen key this can be added on letting you use a third filter tray – amazing.
– Robust and Lightweight
The VIV is made out of carbon fibre, not only does this look mean but its also incredibly light. As far as robust goes If you look on their website there’s a picture of someone standing on it – a picture paints a thousand words.
– Vertical Adjustment
Its always important to be able to move the matte box and down depending on what camera, lens and support combination you are using. The Viv can be moved up and down using a little bracket on the bottom of the unit.
– Clamp on, Rod Mount & Swing Away
So earlier on I spoke about different camera, lens and grip combinations and this is where the VIV really stood out above the rest of the competition. I wanted a Matte box that I could use with my 50mm f1.4 on a 5D as well as my CN7 on my F5.
The first issue is that the diameter of the 50mm is completely different to the CN7. On the accessories page you’ll see that you can buy a variety of different adapter rings as well as a rubberized doughnut for smaller EF Lenses, which solves all of these problems.
The adapter rings are perfect for clamp on use with the longer lenses such as the CN7/HJ22 where you don’t necessarily want to use extremely long bars. The doughnut ring is perfect when you stick the matte box on 15mm bars and use smaller EF lenses and is great because it allows you to change lenses very quickly without having to worry about the thread size.
I have had the unit now for a good 3 weeks and don’t know why I didn’t buy one sooner – I was up at Norwich football club earlier this week shooting a promo for the Premier League and the matte box worked a treat!
If you have a look at the photo below you’ll see that the area above the stadium is extremely over exposed – please excuse my photography, this is taken with my iPhone!
With a heavy ND Grad in position, rotated anti clockwise, flag out to stop the light flaring down the lens and camera in time-lapse mode the client walks away with a beautiful dramatic shot that wouldn’t have been achievable without a matte box in the van!
I would thoroughly recommend buying this matte box – at £1123 list price it’s well worth it.