How to Make Your Own ND Filters For 4k Action Cameras

4k_action_cameraA neutral density (ND) filter is excellent for wearable 4k action cameras. They block off a large amount of ambient light to prevent overexposure without compromising the quality of the image.

This allows your 4k action cam to capture fine details in environments that reflect light all over the place (e.g. snowy terrain, wet foliage, brightly painted structures etc.), which is especially useful with wide-angle lenses that cover much of the background. You can even use ND filters to pull still images out of the videos with blurring effects to reflect motion, like flowing water or walking pedestrians.

The problem is that not all 4k sports cameras come with their own official ND filters. Fortunately for everyone, it’s relatively easy to create your own ND filter – especially if your 4k sports cam has a waterproof case that you can snap on and off.

Step 1: Obtain An ND Filter Gel Sheet.

All you need to do is hop on Amazon or eBay and hunt around for ND filter sheets. You can even find them in your local camera and photography shops. These sheets have different filter ratings. The darker the sheet, the higher the rating – which means more light is reduced and the more blur they’ll produce. Sheets with ND ratings of 0.3 and 0.6 are good all-rounders to start with, but it’s a good idea to grab an ND 1.2 for when you need to work in really bright environments or if you want a lot of blurring in the stills.

Step 2: Cut Out A Template For Your 4k Action Camera Lens

Prepare a pencil, a sheet of stiff cardboard paper, a pair of scissors and a sealed packet of cotton balls. Remove your 4k sports cam from its case. Lay the cardboard paper flat on a hard surface. Open the packet of cotton, take out a clean cotton ball and gently put it on the lens of your camera and hold it in place with a finger. Now gently lower your UHD action camera lens-down on the paper; making sure that the cotton cushions the lens so it doesn’t touch the rough paper.Trace the outline of the lens of your camera using a pencil. Cut out the outline using a pair of scissors and you now have your template for aND filter that fits your camera’s lens.

Step 3: Cut Out A Filter For Your 4k Action Camera

Prepare a pair of scissors, a cutter blade with a sharp edge and enough cardboard paper sheets to protect the surface you’re working on. Don’t remove the protective plastic shell from the gel sheet just yet.Use your scissors to cut out a square from the ND filter gel sheetlarge enough to cover the template you made earlier. Place the cardboard paper sheets on top of your work area. Place the square of ND filter gel on top of that cardboard, and place the template on top of the ND gel. Use your cutter blade to slice off a section of the ND filter gel so that you end up with a piece that matches the exact size of your 4k action camera’s lens.

Step 4: Attach The ND Filter To Your Camera’s Lens

2k_action_cameraPrepare a microfiber cloth and two sets of tweezers. Use the microfiber cloth to thoroughly clean the lens of your action camera along with the lens of your camera’s waterproof case. Once everything is cleaned, use the tweezers to remove the protective plastic sheet covering the ND filter gel you cut out earlier. Point the lens upward and use the tweezers once more to gently lay the gel sheet over the lens of your 4k action camera. Gravity will help the gel sheet stick better to the lens, so keep the camera pointed up. Now put down the tweezers and place your ultra HD action camera in its protective case. Snap the case shut to seal the filter in place, and you now have a customized ND filter for your 4k action camera!

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