How to Choose the Right Wooden Camera Matte Box For Your Production
Matte boxes can really come in handy for blocking harsh lights from hitting your lens, especially when you’re shooting under direct sunlight. Not only do they make all of your shots consistently lit, but also prevent lens flares and haziness in the image. In addition, matte boxes hold filters to achieve specific looks or regulate the image exposure. And let’s be honest, it also makes you look like a pro!
When it’s time to go out and shoot, you’ll come face-to-face with the task of choosing which matte box you’ll need, and Wooden Camera is here to help. They come in all shapes, sizes, weights, and addons. From filters to French flags to rod clamps, there’s a lot to consider. Which one should you get? Let’s start with your camera setup.
Here’s a quick guide to choosing Wooden Camera Matteboxes:
Handheld / Gimbal / Run-and-Gun
When you’re handheld, on a gimbal, or on a drone, you want to keep everything as compact and lightweight as possible. For these setups, put down the gaff tape and pick up a Zip Box.
Zip Boxes are designed to be extremely lightweight and perfect for shoots where you won’t be constantly switching filters. The unibody rubber composition makes it durable and, most importantly, weigh nearly the same as any standard filter. Zip Boxes are clamp-ons only and can hold up to 2 filters at a time, but switching will require pulling open the box to insert the filter.
The Zip Box comes in 3 different forms: Round, 4x4, and 4x6.5. All three have various sizes based on your outside lens diameter.
Handheld / Gimbal / Studio
Work with both handheld and studio setups? You’ll want a combination between keeping things simple and having more advanced features. That’s where the Zip Box Pro comes in.
Zip Box Pro also has the same lightweight and compact form factor as the original Zip Box, but comes with some extra tools for adaptability. It holds up to 3 filters that are secured via an adjustable spring-loaded latch on the top of the matte box, which makes it easier to install and remove filters. Also unique to the Pro is interchangeable backs that allow you to either clamp the matte box on your lens, or secure it with rods for swing-away vertical/horizontal tilt.
You can get the Zip Box Pro in Clamp-On or Swing-Away form, but they can also be easily switched via 4 screws on the back. Sizes are based on your outside lens diameter.
Handheld / Tripod / All Productions
The UMB-1 Universal Mattebox is designed for all levels of shooting, and has much more versatility than the Zip Box and Zip Box Pro. Whether you work on documentaries, commercials, or high-end feature films, this matte boxe packs all of the features you need for different shooting styles and productions.
What makes the UMB-1 line exceptional are the rotating 4x5.65 filter stages, which allow you to dial in the perfect look from graduated and gradient filters. It has individual tray filters for easily securing filters in place, cloth donuts or lens adapters to fit almost any size lens, and NATO rails & mounting points on the top, left and right sides of the base. Need to be mobile? UMB-1 can be clamped on for lightweight shooting. It can also be mounted via 15mm & 19mm rods with swing-away for quick and easy adjustments.
The UMB-1 comes in 4 models with unique additions to each one. See the chart below to find the right one for you.