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anamorphic vs. spherical


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#1 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 02:12 AM

A discussion in the RedUser site about anamorphic caused me to dig up an example of similar shots done in both formats. All of the "Star Trek" movies were shot in anamorphic except for "Star Trek 6", which was shot in Super-35 (and very well, by Hiro Narita).

I grabbed these similar shots from "Star Trek 5" and "Star Trek 6" to show the optical differences in look.

Anamorphic:
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Spherical:
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#2 Matt Gorrie

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 09:58 AM

There's something about those old Star trek movies that takes me to a happy place...
I think the anamorphic lens works in some what the same way. That "analogue" distortion of the backgrounds and highlights, that almost use to be part of the story.

I agree with you David, that it would be nice to see some one make a set 1.33x lens, and I'm sure they will some time soon. Hopefully they'll still retain some of the charm of those older lenses - another tool to help us with the pristine images coming out of some of these new cameras (though we wont admit to anyone that that's what we're doing, especially the fx guys), oh and cant forget the wider aspect ratio we'll get too of course.
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#3 Tom Lowe

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 03:22 PM

Very interesting. This post got me to reading a bunch of articles about anamorphic vs spherical.
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#4 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 05:27 PM

Don't forget either what Richard Kline's use of split-diopters in the first "Star Trek" film. Of course, you can also use split-diopters with spherical lenses, but to me it's almost another part of the "anamorphic look". And to my taste, anamorphic not only looks better, it's also more cinematic.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 05:48 PM

Don't forget either what Richard Kline's use of split-diopters in the first "Star Trek" film.


A reminder...

This one seems unnecessary (just to hold the wall & extra in focus in the right b.g.) and thus distracting:
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These work really well:
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A diopter on each side, clear in the middle -- pretty gutsy!
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Thanks to being in the ASC, I've gotten to chat many times with Richard Kline recently. Also, Bob Edesa, my operator on "Big Love", was his AC for years. Bob often describes Richard as "absolutely fearless", that he would design some incredibly difficult set-ups and camera tricks and not blink an eye.
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#6 Nick Mulder

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 07:53 PM

I never know about these ... interesting stuff! So when it came to the double splits (first three examples) tilt was out of the question because ???

To do the triple-ups using tilt I suppose you'd have to bend the film - easy-ish in large format, but I can now understand why the split diopters were used in cine... Still, I'm only guessing at how they were done, kinda like a spilt gel but with instead with diopters moved relatively forward or reverse of each other - there must have been access to an element somewhere in the housing ...

So if I am correct why not just rotate the single original element though ? The direct cut-off aesthetic was preferred maybe ? It certainly works well in the third frame with the production design in shot at the time cutting in sympathy with the diopter split, much less so in the first
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 09:36 PM

Split-diopter filters sort of made an appearance in the 1950's (I recall a shot in Nicolas Ray's "King of Kings" using one) but tilt-focus lenses (other than some experiments in the 1940's) really did not appear in mainstream feature cinematography, except for miniature efx & macro work, until a decade or so ago.

There is only one 90mm slant-focus anamorphic lens at Panavision and I doubt it was around until the 45mm slant-focus appeared (like I said, a decade or so ago.) Before the commercial slant-focus cine lenses hit the market, your option was to use a bellows system.

The earliest slant-focus lens shot I recall was in "Far & Away" (1992) and then heavily in "187" (1997).
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#8 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 01:05 PM

Split-diopter filters sort of made an appearance in the 1950's (I recall a shot in Nicolas Ray's "King of Kings" using one) but tilt-focus lenses (other than some experiments in the 1940's) really did not appear in mainstream feature cinematography, except for miniature efx & macro work, until a decade or so ago.


There were quite a few split dioptres in 'King of Kings' and other Technirama movies.

Here's a split screen "deep focus" shot from an earlier R.Wise Harry Stradling CinemaScope movie, 'Helen of Troy:

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The split is visible on the left edge of the spears. Though not really noticable in the movie itself.

Supposedly some Japanese scenes in 'Tora, tora tora disd m
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#9 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 01:29 PM

Supposedly some Japanese scenes in 'Tora, tora tora disd m


Supposedly some Japanese scenes in 'Tora. Tora. Tora.' used in camera splits to increase the depth of field in over the shoulder shots.
But I've never noticed them on my small set and rotten cable reception.


As to curvilinear distortion in anamorphics, people who wear strong negative eyeglasses are constantly viewing the with curvilinear perspective.
So anamorphic images can be seen as eyeglass vision. & as such not an abnormal distortion but an alternate,
but not uncommon perspective.
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#10 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 04:21 PM

I've always thought too that split-diopters were first used in "King of Kings" (1961). In fact, I once read somebody refering to them as "Planer-Berenguer" diopters, after Franz Planer [ASC] and Manuel Berenguer [ASC], who supposedly had invented them.

If somebody else had used them before, it had to be Robert Wise! ;)
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#11 Dan Goulder

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 07:29 PM

I grabbed these similar shots from "Star Trek 5" and "Star Trek 6" to show the optical differences in look.

I don't know how you could describe these two shots as "similar". If you'll observe the third monitor from the left on the upper level, you can clearly see that the dilithium generator is running at full power in Star Trek 5, while only at 38% from the same shot in Star Trek 6.
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#12 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 09:21 PM

Wow, ha ha!
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