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"The Prestige" Lens Flare


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#1 Josh Holland

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 01:45 AM

I was watching The Prestige the other day on DVD and about 20 minutes into the movie I noticed this interesting lens flare. It was a strobing oval coming from a stage light. It's the scene where Jackman and Bail are on stage together for the first time starting their magic careers.

What really caught my attention was that it was oval shaped and that it was strobing towards the camera with a rapid pulse.

How did Pfister accomplish this?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 01:49 AM

It was shot with anamorphic lenses, which tend to create a blue horizontal line when flared by a bright point source. Any circular rings of flare (reflections along the edges of the glass, often reddish rings) become horizontally flattened oval rings once the anamorphic image is stretched out to normal. Out of focus points of light become vertically stretched ovals.

If the bright light is on the left edge of frame, it may start strobing from glancing off the spinning mirror shutter.
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#3 Nick Mulder

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 05:22 AM

If the bright light is on the left edge of frame, it may start strobing from glancing off the spinning mirror shutter.

I aint heard that one before. I love learning this stuff ! Cine nerds unite !

Most people baulk at the level of understanding that cinematographers can get to, because to them and thier undiscerning eye there is no difference... 'We' (if I could claim to be one of yer crowd) should make a secret language of lens flares, shadows and freaky bokeh with which only we can decipher...

Like cockney rhyming slang but with refractive indexes and the like.

Let me guess, there already is one ?
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#4 Tony Brown

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 01:19 PM

There is in Cockneyland but if we told you lot it would be no fun.....

Terminology differences across the water are always amusing......

Get me some fags....

Fanny pack

Innocent until proven guilty (couldn't resist that - sorry)

Bush (actually..... probably means the same thing now :rolleyes: )
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#5 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 01:58 PM

Any circular rings of flare (reflections along the edges of the glass, often reddish rings) become horizontally flattened oval rings once the anamorphic image is stretched out to normal. Out of focus points of light become vertically stretched ovals.


This due to the lens having different horizontal and vertical focal lengths, thus different horizontal and vertical depths of field.

---El Pedante
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#6 Nathan Milford

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 02:06 PM

I noticed this too. It isn't the normal thin blue flare, but blue rings that would grow like smoke rings. Was absolutely bizarre and it happens quite a bit during the movie.

I was thinking it was some sort of filter... sort of like the filter for Hawk lenses meant to recreate the Panavision blue flare... but wildly different.
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#7 Jon Kukla

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 04:08 PM

This due to the lens having different horizontal and vertical focal lengths, thus different horizontal and vertical depths of field.

---El Pedante


Don't forget that the anamorphic power also is aligned with the plane of focus. That's the original Panavision concept.
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#8 Josh Holland

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 01:02 AM

I understand that this type of flare would be created by anamorphic lenses, but this was a totally different experince. The oval flares strobed in timed intervals towards the camera ending in the same position on the frame. I hope I'm explaining this correctly, if not watch the movie because it's excellent.

I understand how flares are created, but I still don't understand how to control them in order to get a perfect strobing pattern??
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 01:33 AM

You can't -- it's somewhat accidental although if the light is bright enough and it's on the left egde, it will probably strobe, especially it seems with the placement of the mirror shutter in a Panaflex. The strobe pattern itself is steady.

They could have shot a test though to get the effect they wanted. But considering that most of the movie is handheld, unique flaring from the stagelights, lanterns, etc, was probably somewhat random, lucky accidents. You point a camera with an anamorphic lens into a bright light and make an arching movement and get unusual effects.

I just looked through all of those scenes in the first third of the movie and can't find any particularly dramatic strobing flare, just the typical anamorphic flares as the handheld camera moves around.

Here is a rainbow flare as the camera moves behind the water tank:

Posted Image

Posted Image
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#10 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 01:43 PM

Here is a rainbow flare as the camera moves behind the water tank:

Posted Image

Posted Image


I love all the characteristic abberations of anamorphic optics. I find them strangely beautiful just like I find the massive uncorrected coma in 19th century portrait lenses beautiful:

Posted Image

B)
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#11 Paul Bruening

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 07:07 PM

Hey gang,

I wonder how many times someone has added flares in post, digitally, only to leave everyone guessing what lens event caused it? It makes me think of doing that. You know, some kind of completely impossible flare effect.
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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 07:11 PM

Most DP's, especially if they had shot anamorphic, are pretty good at spotting flares added in post, unless it is a flare from an off-camera source. Often post flares are added because nothing in the frame caused a real flare, so by their very existence, they are somewhat artificial, hard to make real. But a lot of audience members are not going to be able to tell the difference.
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#13 Kim Sargenius

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 07:30 PM

I love all the characteristic abberations of anamorphic optics. I find them strangely beautiful just like I find the massive uncorrected coma in 19th century portrait lenses beautiful:

Posted Image

B)



AKA 'Cat's Eye' Bokeh :D - which a function of mechanical vignetting in the lens.

That's probably the most extreme example I've ever seen! Must be talking f1.0 or Kubrick's infamous f0.7!!

Where'd you get that photo from? Flickr?


cheers,

Kim
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#14 Hal Smith

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 10:13 PM

Where'd you get that photo from? Flickr?
cheers,
Kim

If your using a Windows computer, right click on the image, select properties and you'll see the URL of the photo link listed. In this case it is a Flickr image.

http://static.flickr..._9cc3d73d07.jpg

All I had to do was highlight the link in "Properties", copy, then paste into this post
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#15 Keith Mottram

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 11:24 AM

if not watch the movie because it's excellent.


i suppose if you think scooby doo is the height of storytelling...
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