The 3 Best Pro-Mist Filters for Creating Dreamy Cinematic Looks
Give your shot soft, atmospheric vibes with the three best black pro-mist filters on the market.
If your search habits are anything like mine, YouTube has probably served you up a few videos with titles like “How to Get the Film Look” or “Make Your Footage Look Cinematic.” It’s been my experience, more often than not, that these videos are about Black Pro-Mist filters.
What Is a Black Pro-Mist Filter?
A Black Pro-Mist filter lowers the contrast and overall highlight intensity of your shot. It creates a dreamy, hazy effect that “blooms” the lighting.
So, if you’re shooting a subject with a big diffused light source (like a window), the light is going to be diffused outward, creating a sort of glowing fog-like effect across your image.
The intensity of the diffusion or “mist” effect is identified by a number assigned by a filter’s manufacturer, and everyone’s naming convention is a little different. Moment CineBloom filters come in 10% and 20%. Tiffen uses fractions—1/8th, 1/4th—and even whole numbers like “2.”
Don’t overthink it—you’ll know which filter is right for your scene (and your light source) when you see it in action. Now, with the info dump out of the way, let’s take a look at the three best Black Pro-Mist filters currently on the market.
1. Moment CineBloom Diffusion Filters
A relatively new addition to the Pro-Mist community, Moment CineBloom filters are often overhyped and understocked, but they’re also pretty much the best deal going right now. Coming in at almost $20 cheaper than the traditional Tiffen option, these filters nail the warm, soft diffusion you’re looking for from a Pro-Mist.
The downside to CineBlooms is that, right now, they only come in two “strengths”—10% and 20%. Personally, I’m not sure you’d need more than 20%, but other companies do offer Pro-Mists at higher strengths. Regardless, I recently purchased a 77mm 10% filter and a 49mm 20% for my Fuji X100V, and I’m getting some pretty amazing results from both.
2. Tiffen Filters
The Tiffen Pro-Mist lineup was the first set I was introduced to, and I’m pretty sure the 1/4 was the first filter I ever bought. Now that I’ve used it for a while, and after experimenting with other strengths, I’ve concluded that the 1/4 simply creates too much diffusion.
The right filter for your shot is the one that works discreetly to create a timeless image. With too much diffusion, a filter becomes a distraction to the audience rather than something that contributes to the story. You don’t get dreamy, hazy atmosphere, you just get an image that looks like it was shot through a fogged-up lens.
3. Prism Lens FX – Dream Filter
Admittedly, I haven’t used this filter. I have, however, heard lots of good things from people who have. The Dream FX filter from Prism Lens FX does what you expect—it creates dreamy effects. It blooms the highlights and softens the overall image.
The Dream FX is priced about the same as Moment’s CineBloom offering, so you’ve got some options if you’re not interested in spending more on the tried-and-true Tiffen brand.
Pro-Mists in Action
While reading lists is definitely a lot of fun, choosing between filters is easier once you’ve seen them all in action. In this helpful clip, Spenser Sakurai offers up a solid side-by-side comparison of the three Pro-Mists covered above.
The Vintage Lens Alternative
I’ve somehow turned buying every single vintage lens I see into a hobby. Camera stores, thrift stores, eBay, doesn’t matter. If it’s old and dinged up, it’s gonna be mine. I just love the old-timey looks created by imperfect glass.
Got a lens body with some dust or fungus in it? Those “flaws” can lead to beautiful light refractions, gauzy vignettes, tiny flares, and light leaks on the sides of an image. And, as you might have predicted, vintage glass is an excellent tool for capturing the blooming light and softened highlights associated with Pro-Mist filters.
Black Pro-Mist filters are a solid way to punch up a boring shot and soak a scene in ethereal atmosphere. In my opinion, they’re definitely worth the investment for videographers, filmmakers, and even photographers. And, again, don’t sleep on vintage lenses. They’re often priced to move, and they’re a fun way to create soft looks.
Of course, rather than stocking up on filters and old lenses, you could just take the steps to diffuse your lights. Sometimes, as seen above, all you need is a shower curtain.
Keep going! Check out these resources for your filmmaking needs:
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