Walters uses NDs for Stand-out Interior shots in his Shutterstock Collection

Publish date:

New York, New York, December 27, 2013 –

Cinematographer Ryan E. Walters travels the world in pursuit of visually compelling stories. His projects range from films to documentaries and commercials -- for clients including Nike, Comcast, Oxygen Network and The Travel Channel. Along the way, he has built an incredibly diverse array of stock footage available through Shutterstock.   “Shooting stock footage helps me to push myself creatively,” he explains. “And to experiment. I find it to be a very valuable learning experience that lets me fine-tune my look.”   Walters feels impressive imagery results from working with talented people, choosing the best time of day to shoot, and finding the right tools for the job. That’s how he discovered that quality Neutral Density Filters (NDs) add real production value to his look.   “Yes, everyone loves these filters for exteriors. But, I’ve found them invaluable on interiors”, Walters explains. “For me, creating a strong image in camera is about the proper use of camera filtration. One of my biggest frustrations with digital cameras these days is the limited overexposure range.   “Even though cameras can record 12 to 14 stops of dynamic range, most of that range is dedicated to underexposure,” he continues. “Practically speaking, that means when I am shooting an interior scene that includes a window, I have to bring up the interior light levels to match the window. If I expose only for the window, then the talent is underexposed. And if I expose for the talent, the window will blow out into a white blob. After I light the space so that it is balanced with the window, I most likely will not be at the T-stop that I want. But, by dropping a Schneider Optics ND filter in front of the lens, I can uniformly bring down the exposure of the entire shot so that I get to the stop I want.” Take his shot of an African-American man working out in a gym. (

). “I wanted to control my depth-of-field and place the lens at an ideal f/stop,” Walters adds. “For the workout shot, the window was over exposed and I wanted to retain detail in it. My first option was to stop down the lens until I had an exposure that captured everything I wanted to see. In this case, that would have been an f/8. However, I also knew that the lens I was using performed best between an f/4 and f/5.6. So, in order to reach that f/stop and to get the most out of my lens, I added a Schneider 0.3 ND filter, which meant that I had to open up my exposure to f/5.6. By doing so, my lens was now in its sweet spot, and I still had enough depth-of-field to work with the fast movement of the subject.” For a simple scene of a couple dining out for cocktails (

) the same concept went into the shot. “However, this time, since the subject was not moving as much, I wasn’t worried about having a deeper depth-of-field,” he points out “Instead, I wanted a shallower depth-of-field to draw attention to the subject, but I didn’t want the background to turn into a complete blur. I wanted to be able to feel the environment. So, if I had depended on the lens to get proper exposure, I would have been at f/11 and that would be too much depth-of-field. So, I added Schneider Optics .9 ND to get to f/4 and got just the look I wanted.” # # #  

About Ryan E. Walters

When not shooting projects for his own company, Bleeding Thorn Films — which seeks to tell visual stories of people and organizations who follow their hearts and make a difference in the world around them, Ryan E. Walters is shooting footage for Shutterstock. His footage has been seen on the WB, ESPN, MTV and HBO – among others.

About Shutterstock

Shutterstock is a leading provider of high-quality, royalty-free digital footage to production, post-production, media, advertising and marketing agencies worldwide. With over one million files currently available, Shutterstock adds thousands of new licensable video clips to its collection each week.   Headquartered in New York City, Shutterstock also owns Bigstock, a value-oriented stock agency that offers both credit and subscription purchase options.   For more information please visit

, and follow Shutterstock on Facebook and @ShutterstockVid on Twitter.


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