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Distinguishing Anamorphic


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#1 Peter Egan

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 08:43 PM

What are the tell-tale signs of a film being shot in Anamorphic?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 01:20 AM

If they use anamorphic primes below 200mm, they mostly have front-anamorphic (cylindrical) elements. Anamorphic zooms and telephotos lenses usually have rear-anamorphic elements.

Front-anamorphic primes shot at wider apertures (like for interiors, night scenes, etc.) cause out-of-focus points of light to become stretched vertically, ovals instead of round blobs of light:

Posted Image

Bright lights flaring the lens will cause a blue horizontal line; on older lenses with uncoated spherical elements, there will also be a red circular ring on the film that when stretched horizontally for projection, looks like a flattened oval red ring (this is a shot from "Logun's Run", shot on Todd-AO 35 anamorphics):

Posted Image

When you rack-focus, the image will breathe as the amount of squeezing changes (the background gets over-squeezed as it goes out of focus, hence why the lights become ovals.)

It's harder to see these artifacts when the movie is mainly shot on an anamorphic zoom though, like John Seale used to do ("Perfect Storm" for example).
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#3 freddie bonfanti

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 02:02 AM

ive got a question now....

when you choose to shoot anamorphic instead of super 35, you do it because you can afford it and because anamorphic is fancier and a great cinematography tool or for other reasons? a part from the effects that david posted what is the other big difference (in the way it looks) with super 35?

thanks
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 02:38 AM

The anamorphic format uses almost twice as much negative to create a 2.35 image compared to shooting in Super-35 and cropping to achieve 2.35, plus you can contact-print anamorphic photography for making sound prints, just like standard 1.85 photography -- whereas Super-35 requires an optical printer conversion to anamorphic thru an IP/IN step, or a digital intermediate.

Because anamorphic uses more negative area, well-shot images tend to be clearer, more detailed, and finer-grained.
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#5 Max Jacoby

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 03:15 AM

You can see some anamorphic flares in action at Claudio Miranda's website:

www.claudiomiranda.com/Alpine.html
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#6 freddie bonfanti

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 03:48 AM

interesting,

thanks max. at the beginning of the second clip you can notice the breathing as david was saying. by the way i love miranda´s work, i used the heineken commercial´s top ally shot as a reference for my last short
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#7 freddie bonfanti

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 04:24 AM

woah, im still in a shock state...

if i had any slight doubts about anamorphic they have been erased by watching miranda´s long format advert ALPINE on his website (http://www.claudiomi...m/longform.html)
now i understand...and it looks absolutley stunning...
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#8 Peter Egan

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 02:01 PM

Thanks guys, very informative.

I remember an interview snippet with David Fincher saying how, basically, Anamorphic is pointless and no good, and it got me thinking there is probably like a clan division of pro and against Anamorphic shooters, but what I'd like to know is what are the reasons for being pro or against? Is it just those artifects David mentioned or is it also something else? Ease of use, cost maybe?

Also, can sombody give me a list of several classic films shot on Anamorphic? I've got All the President's Men here with me, is that Anamorphic? Parallax View? Some European examples would be nice also.

Cheers,
P.
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#9 Max Jacoby

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 02:33 PM

I remember an interview snippet with David Fincher saying how, basically, Anamorphic is pointless and no good, and it got me thinking there is probably like a clan division of pro and against Anamorphic shooters, but what I'd like to know is what are the reasons for being pro or against? Is it just those artifects David mentioned or is it also something else? Ease of use, cost maybe?

Also, can sombody give me a list of several classic films shot on Anamorphic? I've got All the President's Men here with me, is that Anamorphic? Parallax View? Some European examples would be nice also.

Anamorphic gives you a better picture quality than Super35, more resoluiton and less grain. But it is harder to shoot, unlike sperical lenses, anamorphic needs to be shot at at least T4 for the lenses to look their best. Also the lenses are bigger and bulkier.

Some of my favourite anamorphic films are 'The Thin Red Line', 'Snow Falling on Cedars', 'Andrei Rublev', 'Heat', 'The Yards', 'Apocalypse Now', 'Alien'
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 07:11 PM

David Fincher used anamorphic for "Alien 3" but Super-35 since then. He likes to shoot in really low light levels, wide-open, which is not what anamorphic is good at.

But the argument of people like him and James Cameron are basically that Super-35 looks just as good and is much easier to shoot, and less restrictive. There is some validity in that argument although if you shoot anamorphic in enough light, the picture quality tops Super-35 generally. But considering those guys like to shoot action scenes at night, etc. Super-35 is probably the right call.

"All the President's Men" is standard 1.85. Gordon Willis shot anamorphic for "Klute", "The Paper Chase", "The Parallax View", "Manhatten", "Devil's Own", some others.
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#11 Max Jacoby

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 07:52 PM

David Fincher used anamorphic for "Alien 3" but Super-35 since then. He likes to shoot in really low light levels, wide-open, which is not what anamorphic is good at.

I suppose that's one of the reasons he used the Viper on the upcoming 'Zodiac'.
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#12 Scott Bullock

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 11:28 AM

If I'm not mistaken, John Carpenter shoots anamorphic on virtually everything he does.
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