Frequently Asked Questions – Matte Boxes

Welcome to the frequently asked questions about ARRI Pro Camera Accessories (PCA).
This FAQ pertains to matte boxes. Directions given are always from the operator's point of view. This FAQ supersedes any earlier versions. For questions, suggestions or comments regarding this FAQ, send an email to bmatt@arri.de

 

For more information's please also visit our matte boxes-section

Studio Matte Box SMB-2
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What is the difference between the SMB-1 and SMB-2?

The SMB-1 is a matte box for 6.6" x 6.6" filters and below, while the SMB-2 is optimized for 4" x 5.65" filters.

What are the special functions of the SMB-2?

Main features:

 

  • Built-in Tilt Module
  • Stackable filter stages
  • Anamorphic conversion set available
What is the difference between the SMB-2 Tilt and the SMB-2 Basic?

The SMB-2 Tilt has an integrated Tilt Module that tilts and extends; the SMB-2 Basic includes only an extension module similar to those of the MB-18, without tilting function.

What is the difference between the Tilt Module and Basic Module?

The Tilt Module can tilt the whole matte box assembly and also integrates the extension feature; the Basic Module is just an extension module, similar to those of the MB-18. It has no tilting feature.

Can I upgrade an SMB-2 Basic to an SMB-2 Tilt?

Yes. You only need to add the Tilt Module itself, which can be done easily and quickly.

Can I use the SMB-2 Basic Module with an SMB-2 Tilt?

Yes. You can replace the SMB-2 Tilt Module with the SMB-2 Basic Module. It can be done easily, and within minutes.

What is the tilt range of the SMB-2 Tilt?

15° down and 10° up.

What degree of tilt do I need when experiencing double imaging from filter stacking?

This is dependent on many factors, although most situations will be solved by tilting down 2-7°. The SMB-2 Tilt is capable of tilting downwards 15° and upwards 10°.

Do I need a specific filter ring for tilting?

When greater angles of tilt are required, it is necessary to use the dedicated Tilt Filter Ring to allow the ring to follow the movement of the matte box.
Any R2 rubber filter ring can also be used, up to a certain degree of tilt.

Why can the SMB-2 tilting filter ring be split into two parts?

You have the choice of using the full tilting filter ring or just half of it, depending on what kind of tilt you want to achieve. You can split the unit in half and put it back together within seconds.

Are current ARRI R2 rings compatible with the SMB-2?

Yes. However, there are limits to the degree of tilt achievable using these existing R2 rings.

Can I use the SMB-2 as a clamp-on matte box?

No. The SMB-2 is designed as a studio matte box for 15 mm or 19 mm standard studio rods or for 15 mm lightweight support.

Can I use the SMB-2 with 15 mm lightweight support?

Yes. There is a specifically designed arm available, allowing the SMB-2 to be used on 15 mm lightweight support rods.

How many filter stages can I use with the SMB-2?

The SMB-2 has a stackable filter stage system (1- and 2-filter stages), so you can add as many stages as you want. However, you should always test the camera, lens and SMB-2 together to avoid vignetting.

Are current MB-18 filter frames compatible with the SMB-2?

Yes. Any generation of MB-18 filter frames, geared or non-geared, will fit the SMB-2.

Can each filter frame (on 2-stage or 1-stage) be rotated individually?

Each filter stage can be rotated individually…

 

  • Two filter frames at a time with the 2-stage module
  • One filter frame at a time with the 1-stage module
Can polarizers be used with the new stackable stage system?

Yes. Polarizers and grad filters can be rotated, as with the MB-18.

Will I achieve the same wide-angle lens coverage as the MB-18?

The wide-angle coverage of the SMB-2 exceeds that of the MB-18. Suitable testing is required.

When using the 4:3 sunshade, can I put the top/bottom flag on either the top or the bottom as well?

You can fit the top/bottom flag to the top or bottom of the matte box with the 4:3 and 2:1 sunshades, providing you fit the optional bottom flag holders. Please note, for the 2:1 sunshade, special anamorphic mattes and side flags are required.

What is the difference between the SPH and SPH/ANAM matte sets?

Both are compatible with the 4:3 sunshade, which is included with both SMB-2 modules. The SPH (spherical) mattes are for spherical lenses, while the SPH/ANAM (anamorphic) mattes are required when using anamorphic lenses with the 4:3 sunshade. You can customize the SMB-2 with the Anamorphic Upgrade Set, making it perfect for anamorphic work.

What is the weight of the SMB-2 compared to the MB-18?

The weight of the SMB-2 is very similar to that of the MB-18. The SMB-2 is around 5% heavier when fully equipped, due to its new features and solid build quality.

What are the advanced flag adjusters?

The top and side flags have new adjusters, allowing the flag angle to be adjusted very quickly by pressing a small button. More precise adjustment is still possible via the big screw.

Studio Matte Box SMB-1
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What are the special functions of the SMB-1?

Main features…

  • Built-in Tilt Module
  • Stackable filter stages
  • Anamorphic conversion set available
  • Ready for ALEXA and 12 mm Master Prime
  • Ready for ALEXA and Angenieux Optimo 24-290 mm
  • Special donuts optimized for tilt available

Configuration Overview SMB-1



What is the difference between the SMB-1 Tilt and the SMB-1 Basic?

The SMB-1 Tilt has an integrated Tilt Module that tilts and extends; the SMB-1 Basic includes only an extension module similar to those of the MB-14 and MB-28, without tilting function.

 

 

What is the difference between the Tilt Module and Basic Module?

The Tilt Module can tilt the whole matte box assembly and also integrates the extension feature; the Basic Module is just an extension module, similar to those of the MB-14 and MB-28. It has no tilting feature.

Can I upgrade an SMB-1 Basic to an SMB-1 Tilt?

Yes. You only need to add the Tilt Module itself, which can be done easily and quickly.

Can I use the SMB-1 Basic Module with an SMB-1 Tilt?

Yes. You can replace the SMB-1 Tilt Module with the SMB-1 Basic Module. It can be done easily, and within minutes.

What is the tilt range of the SMB-1 Tilt?

15° down and 10° up.

What degree of tilt do I need when experiencing double imaging from filter stacking?

This is dependent on many factors, although most situations will be solved by tilting down 2-7°. The SMB-1 Tilt is capable of tilting downwards 15° and upwards 10°.

Do I need a specific filter ring for tilting?

Any R1 rubber filter ring can be used, up to a certain degree of tilt. When greater angles of tilt are required, it is necessary to use the dedicated Tilt Filter Ring to allow the ring to follow the movement of the matte box.

Configuration Overview Rings

Why can the SMB-1 tilting filter ring be split into two parts?

You have the choice of using the full tilting filter ring or just half of it, depending on what kind of tilt you want to achieve. You can split the unit in half and put it back together within seconds.

How do I use the SMB-1 with an Optimo 24-290 and 28-340 mm?

No ring is needed. The tilting filter ring has a maximum diameter of 150 mm and will not fit the Optimo 24-290 (which is 162 mm). You can still fit the lens directly on the back of the SMB-1 (diameter of 165 mm) and use the tilt function; with a difference of only 3 mm, flares will not be a problem.

Please note that at the long end of the zoom only minimal tilt angles will often be required. Experience shows that film crews tend to favor self-made neoprene rings between the lens and the matte box, which would suit this situation perfectly. Depending on the filter and filter stage being used, there might be some vignetting.

Are current ARRI R1 rings compatible with the SMB-1?

Yes. However, there are limits to the degree of tilt achievable using these existing R1 rings.

Configuration Overview Rings

Can I use the SMB-1 as a clamp-on matte box?

No. The SMB-1 is designed as a studio matte box for 15 mm or 19 mm standard studio rods.

Can I use the SMB-1 with 15 mm lightweight support?

No. The SMB-1 is designed as a Studio Matte Box for 15 mm or 19 mm standard studio rods.

 

rod standards

How many filter stages can I use with the SMB-1?

The SMB-1 has a stackable filter stage system (1 and 2 filter stages), so you can add as many stages as you want. However, you should always test the camera, lens and SMB-1 together to avoid vignetting.

Are current MB-14 filter frames compatible with the SMB-1?

Yes. Any generation of MB-14 filter frames, geared or non-geared, will fit the SMB-1.

 

Configuration Overview Filter Frames

Can each filter frame (on 2-stage or 1-stage) be rotated individually?

Each filter stage can be rotated individually…
Two filter frames at a time with the 2-stage module
One filter frame at a time with the 1-stage module

Can polarizers be used with the new stackable stage system?

Yes. Polarizers and grad filters can be rotated, as with the MB-14.

Will I achieve the same wide-angle lens coverage as the MB-14?

The wide-angle coverage of the SMB-1 exceeds that of the MB-14. Suitable testing is required.

When using the 4:3 sunshade, can I put the top/bottom flag on either the top or the bottom as well?

You can fit the top/bottom flag to the top or bottom of the matte box with the 4:3 and 2:1 sunshades providing you fit the optional bottom flag holders. Please note, for the 2:1 sunshade, special anamorphic mattes and side flags are required.

What is the difference between the SPH and SPH/ANAM matte sets?

Both are compatible with the 4:3 sunshade, which is included with both SMB-1 modules. The SPH (spherical) mattes are for spherical lenses, while the SPH/ANAM (anamorphic) mattes are required when using anamorphic lenses with the 4:3 sunshade. You can customize the SMB-1 with the Anamorphic Upgrade Set, making it perfect for anamorphic work.

What are the advanced flag adjusters?

The top and side flags have new adjusters, allowing the flag angle to be adjusted very quickly by pressing a small button. More precise adjustment is still possible via the big screw.

What is the weight of the SMB-1 compared to the MB-14?

The weight of the SMB-1 is very similar to that of the MB-14. The SMB-1 is around 5% heavier when fully equipped, due to its new features and solid build quality.

Lightweight Matte Box LMB-6
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What is the difference between the LMB-6 and LMB-4A?

The LMB-6 is the successor to the LMB-4A, a wide-angle lightweight matte box with expanded features. 

What is the difference between the LMB-6 and LMB-25?

With the LMB-6 the largest filter frame that can be used is 6.6"x6.6".

With the LMB-25 it is 4"x5.65".

Can I use LMB-6 accessories with the LMB-25?

There are some accessories that can be used for both LMBs and are already known from the LMB-25: tray catcher, 3/8" accessory attachment, top/bottom flag holder.

Can I use LMB-6 filter stage guides with the LMB-25?

No. They are not compatible. The LMB-6 has larger filter stage guides.

Can I use the LMB-6 clamp adapter with the LMB-25?

They are not compatible, though they have the same concept. LMB-6 clamp adapters are larger at the back.

What is a ‘securing loop for crane use’?

On the bottom right of the LMB-6 is a hole where you can secure the matte box to the camera body, for example with a karabiner, when working on a crane or car mount. If the clamp mechanisms come loose because of heavy vibration, the matte box will be caught before falling and causing damage or injury.

What is the widest lens covered with a 2-filter stage and a 35 mm gate?

The ARRI/ZEISS Ultra Prime UP-8R.

What are the focal lengths of the mask set?

Due to the wide range of cameras with numerous sensor sizes using different types of lenses, ARRI no longer prints focal lengths on the masks. We suggest that you test the mattes with your camera and the lenses you are using for a project prior to filming. The mattes are simply numbered from 1 (widest) to 5 (smallest).

What if I cannot find a clamp adapter with the right diameter for a lens I have?

Please check
Configuration Overview LMB-6 or/and
Configuration Overview Rings.

 

All listed clamp-on rings can be used with LMB-6 clamp adapters. If you still do not find the proper ring for your lens, please let us know. We can then consider making an additional one. 

Are filters rotatable with the LMB-6?

The LMB-6 is a clamp-on matte box, so filters cannot rotate.

 

 

Lightweight Matte Box LMB-25
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What is the difference between the LMB-25, LMB-15 and LMB-5?

The LMB-25 is a clamp-on matte box that expands the feature set and creative possibilities of the LMB-15, while retaining the low price tag and weight of an entry-level LMB-5. 

For further information please visit the product page of LMB-25.

Can I use LMB-5 and LMB-15 masks with the LMB-25?

The lightweight matte boxes LMB-5, LMB-15 and LMB-25, and also the matte box MB-19 can use the set of mattes K2.0000069 (optimised for spherical filming) and the set of mattes K2.0007992 (optimised for anamorphic filming).

Can I use LMB-15 filter stage guides with the LMB-25?

No. They are not compatible. The LMB-25 has its own dedicated filter stage guides.

Can I use LMB-5 and LMB-15 accessories with the LMB-25?

Yes. All filter frames, clamp adapters and the light shield from the LMB-5/LMB-15 are compatible with the LMB-25.

Can I use LMB-25 accessories with the LMB-5 and LMB-15?

No. New accessories like the tray catcher, 3/8" accessory attachment and top/bottom flag holder are not compatible with the LMB-5 and LMB-15.

Can I use the LMB-5/LMB-15 clamp adapter with the LMB-25?

Yes. The clamp adapter, with different diameters, fits LMB-25, LMB-15 and LMB-5. 

Can I use the LMB-25 clamp adapter with the LMB-6?

No. They are not compatible. The LMB-6 is a 6.6"x6.6" matte box and requires a bigger clamp adapter.

Are filters rotatable with the LMB-25?

No. The LMB-25 is a clamp-on matte box, so filters cannot rotate.

Mini Matte Box MMB-2
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What is the difference between the Basic and the Double Module?

The basic version is for one 4"x4"/4.5" round filter frame and one 4"x5.65"/4"x4" frame, with the 4"x4"/4.5" round filter frame allowing full rotation.

The double version provides two 4"x5.65"/4"x4" filter frames, one of which can rotate.

 

For more informations click here

Please see also Configuration Overview MMB-2

What is the back diameter of the MMB-2 Basic and Double?

Both the MMB-2 Basic and Double have a back diameter of 114 mm.

Can I modify the Basic Module version into a Double Module, or other way around?

No, this makes no sense, since the filter stage which has to be changed is the most expensive part from the whole MMB-2 module.

Can I use the MMB-2 on rods?

Yes, with a specific 15 mm lightweight console you can use this matte box on 15 mm lightweight support standard.

This matte box is not meant to be used for 19 mm or 15 mm studio configuration.

 

rod standards

Can I use the MMB-2 as a clamp-on?

Yes, with specific clamp-on rings. Lenses with a diameter of 114 mm can be used without any rings.

Please see Configuration Overview MMB-2

Can I use ZEISS Compact Primes 2 with the MMB-2?

All Compact Primes 2 (besides the 50 mm Macro) with a front diameter of 114 mm can be used. This is the same as the back diameter of the MMB-2, so you can use the MMB-2 directly with CPs, without an additional ring.

What do I need the flexible light protection for?

For still photo lenses where lens elements move forward and back during operation, you need the flexible light protection. The MMB-2 in combination with the flexible light protection does not work in clamp-on mode (only with the 15 mm LWS console on rods).

What is the difference between reduction clamp-on rings and still lens clamp-on rings?

The reduction clamp-on rings clamp on the outer diameter of the lens. The still lens clamp-on rings have a thread on the inside and can be screwed onto the filter thread of still lenses.

What is the difference between the MMB-2 and MMB-1?

The MMB-2 has a smaller back diameter (114 mm) than the MMB-1 (143 mm or 138mm). It is lighter, more affordable and more compact than the MMB-1.

Further Resources & Online Tools
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FAQs - Discontinued Products

Mini Matte Box MMB-1
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What is the difference between the MMB-1 top load and side load version?

The top load version takes one filter frame from the top and one from the side. The side load version takes two filter frames from the side to avoid problems when using cameras with a top-mounted microphone, which would get in the way when pulling filter frames from the top of the matte box. 

 

For more informations regarding MMB-1 please click here

What is the back diameter of the MMB-1 top load version?

There are two versions: 138 mm and 143 mm. 

What is the back diameter of the MMB-1 side load version?

138 mm.

Can I use the MMB-1 on rods?

Yes, with a specific 15 mm lightweight console. We do not recommend using the MMB-1 on studio rods; ARRI does not offer studio adapters for this matte box.

 

rods standards

Can I use the MMB-1 as a clamp-on?

Yes, with specific clamp-on rings.

For more details please see Configuration Overview MMB-1

What is the difference between the MMB-1 and MMB-2?

The MMB-1 has a bigger back diameter (138 mm or 143 mm) than the MMB-2 (114 mm) and can therefore be used with lenses of a larger diameter.

The MMB-1 is available in both top and side load versions.
The MMB-2 is smaller and weighs less.

Which filter frame sizes can I use?

Please see Configuration Overview MMB-1 – there you will find the listed filter frames.

Compact Matte Box MB-14
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Which ring do I need to use with the MB-14 for an Optimo 24-290 and 28-340 mm?

No ring needed. The front diameter of the Optimo 24-290 is 162 mm, so it fits directly into the back of the MB-14, which has a diameter of 165 mm. With a difference of only 3 mm, no light leak is possible. Depending on the filter and filter stage being used, there might be some vignetting.

Compact Matte Box MB-20
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What is the difference between the MB-20 System I and MB-20 System II?

Like the MB-20 System I, the MB-20 System II is a matte box designed to accommodate even wide-angle lenses like the Fujinon 13x4.5, while still being lightweight enough to be used handheld. ARRI's innovative, patent cage design allows for the use of videography-style light shields without sacrificing durability, and gives full protection of the sunshade against shocks.

 

Configuration Overviews:

MB-20 System I & II
MB-20 System I
MB-20 System II

Is the MB-20 wide angle 16x9 matte box a different matte box?

Yes. There are three MB-20 systems: MB-20 system I, MB-20 system II, MB-20 wide angle 16x9.

Why is the MB-20 wide angle 16x9 matte box not in the optical center?

A little black plate (marked red in the picture) is delivered with the MB-20 16x9 basic module with sunshade. This plate has to be mounted between the swing-away module and the console for the matte box to be optically centred. 

 

Can I use all MB-20 accessories with System I and System II?

Only the basic modules and the specific light shields are different. The MB-20 wide angle also has specific accessories.

Can I use all MB-20 accessories with the wide angle 16x9?

No. The MB-20 wide angle 16x9 also has specific accessories (filter stage, filter).

Can I use MB-20 System I or System II as a clamp-on?

Yes. There is a specific clamp-on adapter available, although we recommend lightweight matte boxes like the LMB-6 or LMB-25 for clamp-on operation. 

Can I use the MB-20 System I or System II as a lightweight matte box?

Yes. There is a specific console for lightweight support available. 

Can I use the MB-20 System I or System II as a studio matte box?

Yes. There is a specific console for 15 mm and 19 mm studio support available. There is even the possibility to use the lightweight support and a specific adapter for 15 mm and 19 mm studio configuration.

Compact Matte Box MB-28
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Which ring do I need to use with the MB-28 for an Optimo 24-290 and 28-340 mm?

No ring needed. The front diameter of the Optimo 24-290 is 162 mm, so it fits directly into the back of the MB-28, which has a diameter of 165 mm. With a difference of only 3 mm, no light leak is possible. Depending on the filter and filter stage being used, there might be some vignetting.