Starter’s Guide To Polarizer Filters (Camera Lesson 18)

Summary: Ryan covers polarizer filtration.

Length: 3:25 minutes

Video Lesson

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In this video we continue our look at image control filters by learning about polarizers.


Light travels around us in uneven waves. A polarizer filter helps to control what wave of light ends up reaching your cameras sensor and it blocks the rest. The lightwaves that get blocked depend on the orientation of the filter to the light that is coming at it.

Polarizers (Camera Lesson 18)

This is why you have to rotate it to change how effective it is. A polarizer can come in handy anytime you want to remove the glare off of plants, enhance the color of the sky, or remove the reflection from a window.

Windshield Without A Polarizer (Camera Lesson 18)
Windshield With A Polarizer (Camera Lesson 18)

You’ll come across two types of polarizers, linear and circular.…

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Depth of Field, Part 1: How Aperture and ISO Affect Focus
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 6: Five Tips For A Successful Shoot
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 5: Lighting Six High Speed Sets
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 4: Common Lighting Problems
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 3: Camera Operation & Workflow
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 2: Frame Rate
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3 replies
  1. Tim
    Tim says:

    Are you asking if variable ND also removes glare similar to a polarizing filter? Yes it does.

    Our friend Shane Hurlbut wrote an excellent post about the good and bad of pola filters, and briefly touches on variable ND filters having a polarizing effect:
    Polarizing Filters: Powerful Filmmaking Tools

    All aspects of a pola filter should be taken into account before use to make sure that the results are what you want; we’re going to go into these in greater detail in a future lesson, but here is a short list:
    1) Changes in color saturation of reflecting objects
    2) Changes in sky (as we addressed)
    3) Changes in the “life” of a person’s face, especially the reflection in their skin and eyes
    4) Changes in reflecting the environment
    5) Changes in brightness of the reflecting light


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