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Dual Dimension of Anamorphic Lenses.


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#1 Paul Bruening

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 04:25 PM

Max Jacoby brought up an interesting point about anamorphic lenses in another thread that I think deserves further exploration. I had always thought only of the squeeze aspects of anamorphic lenses. Yet, inherently, these lenses function in two focal lengths. I am uncertain how that impacts the aesthetic sense of increased spatiality within the frame. Could some here present their sense of this?
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#2 Max Jacoby

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 05:56 PM

I think it makes the picture more pleasing, because even if you have a wide angle lens (like a 50mm or a 75mm) your vetical angle is a more longer/flattering one and your background falls off faster than with spherical. For medium lenght to slight tele lenses (100mm and 135mm) you have the same effect: a lens that is still wide enough to show you surroundings (but does not distort), yet it has this nice look on faces. Obviously once you go into the long telephoto domain the difference betwen anamorphic and spherical is not that pronounced anymore. Anything longer than 250mm is a rear anamorphot lens anyway.

It's kind of hard to describe it in words, but I can always recognize if a film is spherical or anamorphic by the feel of the medium (over the shouder) and close-ups shots.
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#3 Paul Bruening

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 06:38 PM

C'mon guys. Let's have some opinion on this. Max can't be the only one that has given thought to this.
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#4 Dominic Case

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 07:58 PM

I am uncertain how that impacts the aesthetic sense of increased spatiality within the frame.

Not sure what you mean by this - are you referring to the way in which a long lens is used to compress distance, while a wideangle lens may separate the subject from the background more - - 'increased spatiality'.

But these properties are not so much to do with the focal length of the lens as the distance away from the subject. The way I would think of it is that from the same camera position, a spherical and an anamorphic lens with the same focal length (in the vertical plane) will show the same image in the middle part of the frame - it's just that the anamorphic frame will extend out twice as wide.

As a result of that point, the anamorphic will show more "distortion" than the spherical, especially so with shorter focal lengths. That is, the distortion that comes from trying to fit a segment of a spherical view onto a flat rectangular plane. So I guess there is a different sense of space at the edges of the frame - but none at the centre.
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#5 alexandros petin

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 08:20 PM

Nice topic
i was always fascinated when i watched something shot anamorphic, widescreen in general. my approach to anamorphic is the following
we move most of the time horizontally.i think in general horizontal spatial consiousness is more advanced to vertical.one can estimate easier length and width than hight (todays kids are more 3d oriented ;-) ) so maybe thats the reason it makes picture more pleasing. think of it..
each day how many times do you look or inspect space (throught your eyes, your personal camera) vertically?, unless theres is something that distracts you, a voice, some noise or a very interesting subject.
i also agree to the fact that anamorphic gives wide aspect without distortion, which comes closer to eyes perception.
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#6 Paul Bruening

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 09:13 PM

Hey Dominic,

Max's previous thread implied that each anamorphic lens functioned in two focal lengths. I know that the squeeze and de-squeeze aspect of shot-to-projection corrects that dual dimension. Yet, it had fascinated me what two focal lengths in one image might do to DOF and bokeh. I am still trying to wrap my brain around the idea of horizontal DOF being different than vertical DOF in the same image. If this is the case, then anamorphic is significantly different aesthetically and therefore more than just a way to pack a wide image into a 4:3 frame.
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