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Challenges of Shooting Anamorphic


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#1 James Mann

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 03:23 AM

Aside from the need for a fatter stop what are some of the challenges (and pitfalls) associated with shooting anamorphic?

Thanks

James Mann
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#2 Max Jacoby

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 03:52 AM

In general the lenses have a less good close focus than spherical lenses, unless you can get some Hawks V-Series or Close Focus Primos. The C-Series that use E-Series glass (which were used on 'The Island' and 'The New World') seem good in that aspect also. But don't forget that the optical performance of a lens drops when you focus very closely.

Also anamorphic lenses, especially the newer ones, are heavier that spherical lenses and they breathe more when doing focus-pulls.

If you are shooting on older anamorphics such as the C-Series or the Technovision/JDC Cookes you need to keep in mind that these lenses are not color matched and you need to test several of them to find a set that matches in sharpness and contrast.
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#3 James Mann

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 03:54 AM

So I should add a few details before this gets out of hand...

I am shooting a commercial that is not intended for theatrical release/projection.

We will be transfering the project to digibeta and/or uncompressed data files.

three scenes are day exterior, three scenes are sunset time lapse (plus a few hours on each end), three scenes are night exterior (two of which are landscapes that will be shot by the light of the moon, which is a whole other can of worms).

The location is the desert and it lends itself beautifully to the aspect ratio...I just thought that the added detail of anamorphic would make the picture jump off the screen (even the small ones).

What do you all think...

James
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#4 Freya Black

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 06:16 AM

three scenes are day exterior, three scenes are sunset time lapse (plus a few hours on each end), three scenes are night exterior (two of which are landscapes that will be shot by the light of the moon, which is a whole other can of worms).

The location is the desert and it lends itself beautifully to the aspect ratio...I just thought that the added detail of anamorphic would make the picture jump off the screen (even the small ones).

What do you all think...

James



Matte box. I assume you wouldn't be shooting without one anyway, but I once did and I got strange flares weird refllections, all kinds of phenomenom, some of it somewhat unexplainable. I was shooting with a preety cheap and nasty anamorphic lens, even so I think you should use one as a proportion of my footage was beyond use. Worst comes to worst you can make one from black cardboard.

love

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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 08:53 AM

Anamorphic lenses are like spherical lenses with a wide-angle attachment built-in that "sees" more horizontally. So barrel distortion on the ends of the wider-angle anamorphic lenses is an issue, but also that you really have to check your matteboxes / filters (including Polas on rings) to make sure that nothing vignettes. It's easy shooting at night to not notice that the mattebox has crept into frame because you didn't push it back enough on the rods. I've had to get parts of the mattebox shaved down or get smaller 2-stage ones when using the wide-angle anamorphic lenses (mainly the 35mm, 40mm). And a mattebox may clear when shooting wide-open, but vignette once you stop down, so check for that as well. Basically you'll find yourself shoving the mattebox tight against the rods all the time.

Check the minimum focus on all the lenses -- some don't focus very closely.

Some are physically big, which may be a problem with Steadicam or shooting in a small space, like handheld in a car. Bigger lenses means more cases for primes to be carted around.

Anamorphic zooms tend to be slow (T/4.5 minimum often) and not very good. Plus you don't get all the cool anamorphic lens artifacts with a rear-anamorphic-adapted lens like a zoom or telephoto prime.

If there is a bright light in the frame, make sure that the anamorphic flare (the horizontal line) that forms doesn't cross through something important, like the actor's eyes.
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#6 Mike Kaminski

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 10:30 PM

Your depth of field is also much shallower, making hiting those focus marks all the more critical. Most lenses go to about a T-4 or so, and focus is still critical at that but Panavision now makes the E and C-series anamorphic primes that open up to T-1.3 i believe. You can see these used in the low-light interior scenes in Memoirs of a Geisha. Poor focus pullers!!
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#7 Dan Goulder

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Posted 11 April 2006 - 01:27 PM

So I should add a few details before this gets out of hand...

I am shooting a commercial that is not intended for theatrical release/projection.

We will be transfering the project to digibeta and/or uncompressed data files.

three scenes are day exterior, three scenes are sunset time lapse (plus a few hours on each end), three scenes are night exterior (two of which are landscapes that will be shot by the light of the moon, which is a whole other can of worms).

The location is the desert and it lends itself beautifully to the aspect ratio...I just thought that the added detail of anamorphic would make the picture jump off the screen (even the small ones).

What do you all think...

James

Since this project is for a TV commercial (with digibeta finish), and isn't intended for theatrical projection, you may want to reconsider the decision to shoot it anamorphically, especially since most of the shots you describe will probably be done at infinite depth of field. If it's mainly the aspect ratio that attracts you to that format, then you can frame for it, and matte out the image in post.
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#8 Hans Kellner

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Posted 11 April 2006 - 03:41 PM

three scenes are sunset time lapse (plus a few hours on each end)

Just a thought but for the time-lapse shots you might consider using a good digital camera along with a laptop/desktop and interval recording software. This will allow you to capture very high resolution images and at at the interval you decide. I've done this for a few time-lapse shots and it's worked very well.
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#9 Michael Nash

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Posted 11 April 2006 - 07:14 PM

Since this project is for a TV commercial (with digibeta finish), and isn't intended for theatrical projection, you may want to reconsider the decision to shoot it anamorphically, especially since most of the shots you describe will probably be done at infinite depth of field. If it's mainly the aspect ratio that attracts you to that format, then you can frame for it, and matte out the image in post.


The flip side of that is if he does want the unique distortions of anamorphic lenses, then he could possibly use older, cheaper lenses. Many mismatches of color and contrast can be smoothed out in telecine (within reason, of course).
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#10 Keith Mottram

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Posted 12 April 2006 - 05:32 AM

if anamorphic is being chosen primarily for the horizontal flares, then maybe Hawk Blue-Vision filtres could be used with a spherical kit. never tried it personally, has anyone on the site?

keith
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#11 Max Jacoby

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Posted 12 April 2006 - 07:44 AM

Besides the flares what to me is the typical anamorphic look is the way the background falls into out-of-focus on close-ups. This cannot be replicated with spherical lenses, since the background is not just very soft and painterly, but is also slightly squeezed, with elliptical bokeh.
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#12 Keith Mottram

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Posted 12 April 2006 - 08:30 AM

Besides the flares what to me is the typical anamorphic look is the way the background falls into out-of-focus on close-ups. This cannot be replicated with spherical lenses, since the background is not just very soft and painterly, but is also slightly squeezed, with elliptical bokeh.


Max, couldn't agree with you more, its one of the reasons why I talked to Arri about options for using the D20 with anamorphics- these lens based artifacts are for me one of the most attractive aspects of shooting in 'scope' ratio and on film for that matter. These 'imperfections' are obviously something that can never be replicated in a post effect and these days lens distortions are about the only thing that cant. If you are not going to embrace these artifacts and are delivering for tv, then budget wise it can be worth thinking of ways to achieve similar aims.

Keith
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#13 Max Jacoby

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Posted 12 April 2006 - 10:58 AM

Is there a problem with using anamorphic lenses on the D20?

The sensor is 4/3 so one could put anamorphic lenses on the camera and use most of the chip area. I am not sure how close exactly the chip area is to that of 35mm film, but since the picture information is electronical anyway one could easily extract a squeezed scope frame for postproduction and later transfer to film. The optical viewfinder can be outfitted to unsqueeze the anamorphic picture as well. So is this just an issue with monitoring on set?
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#14 Stephen Williams

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Posted 12 April 2006 - 01:11 PM

Is there a problem with using anamorphic lenses on the D20?


Max,

I think there could be a problem with many anamorphic lenses. I know an 18mm Cooke series III lens looks very bad on a video assist on a 435, but works perfectly on film. From my understanding the light has to be very accurately collimated when it hits a sensor. Film does not care about the directon of the light hitting it! I know Geoff Boyle wanted to test his Cooke Speed Pancro's on the D20. He sold his lenses before he got a chance.

Stephen
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 April 2006 - 01:19 AM

You'd have to use the D20 in data mode in order to record the 4x3 pixel area of the CCD -- otherwise, you normally just record a 16x9 section of the CCD in HD mode. I've heard that Arri is still working out the bugs of shooting in data mode.
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#16 bucknall

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 05:03 AM

-Verticle lenses-, if the lense or anamorphic element are slightly twisted in relation to camera a distorted image will be seen (like a parallelagram). if subtle this will only be seen later when cutting from one lense to another. Ever used a mesmeriser!! jb
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#17 Max Jacoby

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 05:18 AM

-Verticle lenses-, if the lense or anamorphic element are slightly twisted in relation to camera a distorted image will be seen (like a parallelagram). if subtle this will only be seen later when cutting from one lense to another. Ever used a mesmeriser!! jb

I don't see why this should be any more of an issue with the D20 than with any 35mm camera.
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#18 bucknall

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 07:16 AM

it isnt but that wasnt the original question.
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