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July 2014
Issue: December 1, 2012

Review: Tiffen Dfx V.3 Creative Editing Suite

By: Brady Betzel
PRODUCT: Tiffen Dfx V.3 Creative Editing Suite

PRICE: $599.99 

- One install for multiple applications on same machine
- Simulation of Tiffen glass camera filters and specialized lenses.
- 121 individual filters

One name that is a standard in photography and videography is Tiffen. With their wide array of filters, from circular polarizers to neutral density filters and even infrared filters, people like me who only dabble in photography have definitely heard the name Tiffen. Naturally, when I was scrubbing through my Twitter feed on #Postchat and all other forms of post hash tags like #postdontstop, I found the Tiffen Dfx V.3 video plug-in to be blazing trails on the scene. 

I was curious, I had never heard the name Tiffen within the plug-in ecosphere before and immediately thought, “how are they going to be able to create a top-notch plug-in that will adequately represent their trusted brand name the way their other physical products have done before?” Well, they partnered with the company Digital Film Tools, which offers plug-ins such as Film Stocks, Photocopy and Rays, to name a few. I love the way Rays works without having to go out and get a degree in discrete mathematics to customize an effect, and the results are pretty incredible. I realized Tiffen was in great hands and further found that under the Tiffen Dfx video plug-in hood were many parts that I was familiar with.

New to Tiffen Dfx V.3 is Color Shadow, DeBand, DeBlock, DeNoise, Film Stocks, Glow Darks, Key Light, Rays, Texture and Match. These may sound familiar because the plug-in is basically giving you some of the other Digital Film Tools plug-ins within Tiffen Dfx V.3 for a price that is far below other color tinting and effects products. Not to mention the beautiful Tiffen Filters included, such as HFX Star, Black Pro-Mist, Smoque or GamColor (a gel recreator). 

If you haven’t seen these yet, do yourself a favor and check out digitalfilmtools.com/tiffenDFX and click on the image gallery. They have examples of every plug-in inside Dfx V.3. The ones I mentioned above are a couple of my favorites because they allow you to add as subtle or as striking of a look as you want. Once you take a discerning look you will notice the organic quality and texture that Tiffen Dfx is giving to these images.

VALUABLE SHORTCUTS

As an assistant editor I am always asked if I know of any shortcuts to create unique and specific looks. Tiffen Dfx is a great place to start. Not only does the editor have over 121 filters to start from, the editors and assistants can infinitely customize each one. Layering the Tiffen filters will give stylish yet professional results as each layer works in tandem the other’s. Tiffen’s Dfx interface is a familiar visual environment that any editor will be comfortable with. Whether you are an editor that likes the Instagram-ish way to apply filters with visual examples or you want to technically go through each preset and customize until you create your Mona Lisa, Tiffen and DFT have you covered. 

In my case I use Tiffen Dfx inside of Avid Media Composer and Adobe After Effects. Because I have both programs installed on the same system, the plug-in works within both programs beautifully. If you recently purchased Media Composer 6.5, Tiffen has a fully compatible and downloadable version on their site, tiffensoftware.com. 

The results-oriented interface within Tiffen Dfx is very straightforward. With a great split view and side-by-side comparisons, you can see your original image and your effected image quickly and easily. On the left-hand side you can have the visual examples of the plug-in, in the middle your work area, and on the right all the customizable parameters you could wish for. The plug-in and filters are searchable, including any favorites that you save along the way. You can tag effects with a star to quickly identify the very best filters for your toolbox. You can even sort your filters by favorites.

In the Parameter column on the right-hand side there are all the standard sliders and manual inputs that we are accustomed to —  from hue, saturation, etc. Tiffen Dfx has a useful and interesting feature they call Variations, where you can click multiple parameters such as hue and saturation, and you can auto-generate variations of the effect based on the parameters you have chosen. This is a great idea inspirational tool, even if you don’t like any of the variations Tiffen offers, you are sure to be tipped onto something that is a solution for your situation. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Tiffen Dfx V.3 for video/film is an invaluable plug-in that gives editors a wide variety of customizable effects for a great price. If you have an editor looking for a simple vignette and/or night vision effect, or even a more complex effect with wide-angle lenses and f-stop adjustments, Tiffen and Digital Film Tools have come together to bring you an action-filled plug-in that is as easy as an iPhone photo filter and infinitely customizable.

Tiffen Dfx V.3 gives the end user the ability to create almost any look and color treatment they can imagine, harnessing an enhanced multi-processor acceleration for fast rendering. With Dfx’s built-in Tiffen glass camera filters, specialized lenses, optical lab processes, film grain, color correction, natural light and photographic effects, Tiffen Dfx V.3 hands all the tools to the user without any limitations. 

Brady Betzel is an Assistant Editor with Bunim Murray Productions in Van Nuys, CA. He can be reached at: bradybetzel@gmail.com.