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Mixing anamorphic and spherical lenses on a shoot


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#1 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 10:39 PM

Can you mix anamorphic and sphereical lenses on a shoot and have the cropped scope standard lens footage squeezed by an optical printer in post or is this a really bad idea? B)
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 10:48 PM

Can you mix anamorphic and sphereical lenses on a shoot and have the cropped scope standard lens footage squeezed by an optical printer in post or is this a really bad idea? B)


If this is for digital or video finish, there's no reason to convert the spherical footage to anamorphic, just letterbox it to match.

Trouble with mixing formats for a film finish, is that the spherical footage will have be cropped and blown-up to anamorphic using an optical printer, so not only will that footage be an enlargement from a smaller negative area, but it will also be third generation (a dupe neg made off of an IP made off of the original negative) and this dupe negative will be intercut with original anamorphic negative. So the quality difference will be pronounced, unless you want a difference. It's a little like mixing Super-16 footage into a 35mm movie using an optical printer. If there is a lot of footage or a lot of intercutting, it creates a lot of neg conforming issues since you'd have to deliver just the cut spherical footage to be blown-up, and then conform that into the anamorphic negative.

For a digital finish (a D.I.) it's not so much of an issue but you do have the costs of renting both a spherical and anamorphic lens set, plus switching out groundglasses unless you are also carrying separate camera packages for the spherical and anamorphic material. And if the spherical format is Super-35, you also have the fact that the lens is centered differently than anamorphic. But if it were for a D.I. anyway, you could just shoot the anamorphic stuff with the Super-35 gate, you'd just be losing the ability to make a straight contact print for projection with a soundtrack on the print -- you'd have to do a D.I. at that point.
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#3 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 11:12 PM

I believe Babel mixed anamorphic, spherical, and Super 16. They did a DI of course.
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#4 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 12:06 AM

I know it's kinda a weird question, but the reason I'm asking is I have a chance to pick up a couple of anamorphic lenses but it's not a full package. There's a 75mm and 50mm but no 35mm so unless I could find a 35mm somewere, I might be forced to use a combination of bent glass and standard or limit my shots or just go with standard lenses. The problem is I plan on doing my own processing and printing sense I have the machines to do it. I guess I'll stick with spherical unless I'm able to complete the package before production. That brings up another question, how inportant is having a set of anamorphics in being able to get work for yourself and camera package out? Does it make a big difference in most cases?
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#5 Dan Goulder

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 12:11 AM

Can you mix anamorphic and sphereical lenses on a shoot and have the cropped scope standard lens footage squeezed by an optical printer in post or is this a really bad idea? B)

Mission Impossible 3 had some super 35 footage, the majority of which was shot anamorphic. However, the master was struck from a D.I., which would probably give more consistent results than intercutting anamorphic with optically blown-up spherical footage.
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#6 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 12:50 AM

Was the reason some of these larger pictures are using a combination of lens types and formats because they're using smaller MOS packages for 2nd and 3rd units?
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 01:08 AM

Was the reason some of these larger pictures are using a combination of lens types and formats because they're using smaller MOS packages for 2nd and 3rd units?


It used to be quite rare to mix in spherical footage with an anamorphic picture because of the quality loss from duping & blowing up. It happened more often when shooting efx plates that were going to be duped or scanned anyway for compositing. Usually they used a larger negative format with spherical lenses (VistaVision or 65mm) to counteract the increase in grain. One reason is that it is hard to shoot miniatures with anamorphic lenses. "Lost in Space" (the movie) used Super-35 though to shoot the model work, even though the feature was in anamorphic.

Now with D.I., converting is less of a problem and grain can be managed better. "Mission Impossible 3" used Super-35 for a night aerial scene involving helicopter flying around windmills, in order to shoot at wider apertures in low-light, same reason they shot some HD for nighttime plates in Shanghai.

Otherwise, 2nd Unit, etc. shot anamorphic just like first unit. It's hard to mix two formats in the same scene, especially if you're trying to make your 2nd Unit footage blend seamlessly with the 1st Unit work. But an entire sequence, especially if it involves some visual efx work anyway, can handle being shot in a different format. Or a shot that is unique to itself, or will be processed heavily, etc.

A MOS camera can use either a spherical or anamorphic lens.
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#8 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 01:27 AM

Do anamorphics require a lot more light when filming? What elements with reguards ti shooting, lighting and staging are different in the setup when shooting anamorphically? Do boom mics have more of a problem getting good sound and do boom operators have to constantly watch where the top of the frame is?

A MOS camera can use either a spherical or anamorphic lens.

No what I meant was, I thought they might be using MOS cameras with a spherical lens package instead of a anamorphic lens package (IE the one with the cheaper rental costs) to save some on production costs.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 02:39 AM

Do anamorphics require a lot more light when filming? What elements with reguards ti shooting, lighting and staging are different in the setup when shooting anamorphically? Do boom mics have more of a problem getting good sound and do boom operators have to constantly watch where the top of the frame is?
No what I meant was, I thought they might be using MOS cameras with a spherical lens package instead of a anamorphic lens package (IE the one with the cheaper rental costs) to save some on production costs.


Generally the cameras and lenses all come from the same rental house -- the lenses are not tied to the camera itself. So you rent numerous sync-sound and MOS cameras, and you rent enough lenses for those cameras to share or have their own set.

Yes, anamorphic lenses are more expensive to rent, but if you can't afford them for the second or third cameras, then you would just get spherical for everything so it all matches.

Anamorphic is probably the best format for sound because it uses almost the entire height of the 4-perf 35mm negative, so there is no "outside" the theatrical frame on the negative -- the top & bottom framelines of the projected area are the framelines of the negative, so the boom op can put the mic just above the frameline.

With formats that involve neg cropping, like 4-perf 35mm 1.85 or Super-35 framed for 2.35, then often there is extra space on the negative above the theatrical framelines, and a decision has to be made as to how far to keep the boom out of this extra space if you want to use it for the TV version. So the boom op may be told to keep it above both the theatrical frameline and also the higher TV headroom line. And even if you tell him that he can just keep above the theatrical 1.85 frameline for standard 35mm, forget TV, then you always run the risk if the movie projectionist misframes the print, the area above the 1.85 frameline comes into view on the screen and you start seeing the mic in half the shots.

Since an anamorphic lens is like a spherical lens with a 2X wide-angle adaptor that only sees more horizontally, doubling your view only along the horizontal, the lenses "feel" more wide-angle. A 40mm anamorphic lens "sees" horizontally what a 20mm spherical lens sees, but it only sees vertically what a 40mm spherical lens sees. So it feels more like a wide-angle lens. Thus the tendency is to use longer focal lengths on average when shooting in anamorphic -- you may use a 40mm for a wide-shot, a 75mm for an over the shoulder, a 135mm for a close-up, compared to say favoring a 25mm spherical for a wide-shot, a 50mm for an over, a 100mm for a close-up, etc. It's not an exact conversion since you're talking about different aspect ratios.

But even though a 40mm anamorphic lens feels more like a wide-angle lens than a 40mm spherical, it still has the depth of field of a 40mm lens, spherical or not. Thus anamorphic photography tends to have less depth of field because on average, you pick longer focal lengths than if you were shooting a spherical movie. So shooting at night at T/2.0 in anamorphic will look more shallow-focus on average than when shooting in spherical at the same f-stop. This is one reason people say anamorphic needs more light -- you need to use more light in order to stop down a little more to get more depth of field. Shooting in anamorphic at T/4, for example, "feels" like you're shooting at T/2.0-ish, it feels like you're shooting two-stops more wide-open. Focus-pulling is harder, etc.

So while there are some fast anamorphic lenses that even go to T/1.4, they are hardly used because they aren't that sharp at that aperture, the depth of field is ridiculously low, and all the optical artifacts of anamorphic get exaggerated the more you open up. Hence the feeling that you need more light with anamorphic. You don't "need" it but it helps make the picture look better.

Many anamorphic primes are a little slower than spherical, some only open to T/2.8 when many spherical primes open to T/2.0 -- and the anamorphic zooms definitely tend to be slower, maybe T/4.5 at the widest compared to some T/2.8 spherical zooms.
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#10 Max Jacoby

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 03:43 AM

What anamorphic lenses are you thinking of getting?
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#11 Arni Heimir

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 05:13 AM

Some filmmakers mix and match spherical and anamorphic for an dramatic effect. In "swordfish", Paul Cameron used spherical lenses in the scene, which was in and out of focus, when John Travolta talks about "A dog day afternoon".
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#12 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 03:24 PM

What anamorphic lenses are you thinking of getting?


I have a Kinor 35H so they'd be Lomo round front with an OCT-19 mount which is all I could probably afford at this point.

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 30 November 2006 - 03:26 PM.

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#13 Christian Appelt

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 04:45 PM

James,

why don't you get a square front Lomo f=35mm anamorphic lens that fits your Kinor?
Some people say the SF 35mm is actually better than the RF 35mm, although I never had the chance to compare it.
That would be a much better option than mixing spherical & anamorphic footage, I feel that they give a totally different rendition of space.

Just saw this on eBay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/...1QQcmdZViewItem
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#14 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 11:00 PM

The problem with square front anamorphics other than some minor optical problems at the corners of the frame under certain situations, is that they were designed for Konvas 2m cameras and with the odd shutter angle of the Kinor 35H (fixed at 180* I believe) The mirror hits the back of the square front anamorphic lenses so they won't work on a Kinor. At least that's what I've read every where I've checked. Perhaps the square front 35mms are different and will work on a kinor 35H but I'd have to get some kind of conformation that they do before buying one. Have you tried them on a Kinor 35H before? I would love to get lower cost anamorphics if I can get away with it, although from what David said, a basic set of anamorphics actually wouldn't be a 35mm, 50mm and 75mm but a 50mm, 75mm and 100mm so maybe I should look for a 100mm instead of a 35mm unless the square front would work. In that case, go ahead and get the 35mm because of cost but still look for a 100mm to complete the workhorse set. If it does work are the optical properties different from the round fronts and would that difference (if it exists) be noticable in a scene cut together using the 2 differrent types of anamorpic designs? B)
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#15 Max Jacoby

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 03:31 AM

The 50mm is already plenty wide, the 35mm will show noticeable barrel distortion. I have never used an anamorphic lens wider than 50mm. A 100mm in my opinion would be more useful, it's a nice close-up lens.
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#16 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 04:17 AM

What would be the recommend commercial amamorphic package then, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm and what else or is that going to cover most situations?
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#17 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 10:19 AM

What would be the recommend commercial amamorphic package then, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm and what else or is that going to cover most situations?


You could shoot a whole movie on those three focal lengths if you wanted to, but if shooting in small interiors, you may find a need for a 40mm, and if you need to grab a close-up across the room, you may need something in the 135mm-to-180mm range.
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#18 Christian Appelt

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 11:04 AM

James, I have seen a number of f=35mm SF lenses, and some had a longer back lens, parts of the metal ring had been filed away to make sure the lens would not hit the mirror shutter.

I recommend you ask one of the reliable dealers in Kinor/Konvas/Lomo equipment, they should be able to tell you whether a particular lens will work with your camera.
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#19 Max Jacoby

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 03:59 PM

The 50mm and 75mm are workhorse lenses in anamorphic. The 50mm is the widest lens where the distortion is not really noticeable, unlike the 35mm and 40mm lenses. The 75mm is a typical over-the-shoulder lens. I also like the 60mm and Vantage Film have a new 85mm (with a close-focus of 2 feet) that I'm longing to try out. The 135mm and 180mm are good close-up lenses. The 250mm is on the long end for close-ups and nicely compresses the backgrounds.
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#20 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 10:27 PM

You could shoot a whole movie on those three focal lengths if you wanted to, but if shooting in small interiors, you may find a need for a 40mm, and if you need to grab a close-up across the room, you may need something in the 135mm-to-180mm range.

It would have to be a 35mm. Lomo and the other Russian factories never made a 40mm Here is a list of Russian anamorphic from Olex's site:
22mm 35 BAS-26-1
22mm F2.0 35 BAS-39-22-1 F2.8
30mm F2.8 35 NAS-12-1
35mm F2.5 35 BAS-10-2
35mm F2.0 35 BAS-27-1
35mm F1.4 35 BAS-36-35-1
50mm F2.0 35 NAS-4-10
50mm F2.0 35 BAS-4-13
50mm F2.0 35 BAS-4-15
50mm F2.0 35 BAS-22-1
50mm F1.2 35 BAS-35-50-1
75mm F2.0 35 NAS-4-10
75mm F2.0 35 BAS-23-2
75mm F1.4 35 BAS-38-75-1
80mm F2.0 35 BAS-4-14
100mm F2.8 35 BAS-25-1
150mm F3.5 35 BAS-2-2
300mm F4.0 35 BAS-13-1
400mm F4.0 OKS5-300-1A
500mm F5.6 35 BAS-14-1
500mm F4.0 OKS2-500-1A
500mm F5.6 OKS6-500-1A
750mm F4.0 OKS2-750-1A
750mm F6.3 OKS3-750-1A
1000mm F4.5 OKS2-1000-1A

Now some of these are square front anamorphics designed for Konvas and some others were designed for
a veriety of other Russian cameras. Many are impossible to find. Would a 35mm work as a substitute for a 40mm under the circumstanses you discribed?
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