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Anamorphic 35 vs. Super35


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#1 Sean Conaty

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 01:31 AM

I apologize if this thread has already been discussed extensively but I couldn't find the answer to my question:

The film I'm shooting is finishing digitally. We have no intention, unfortunately, of finishing with a film print due to budgetary restrictions. It's a period Western on 35 and i want a classic, epic look. Cost factors aside, what are the main differences, considering that I'm finishing digitally, of shooting anamorphic35 vs Super35? On a basic level, I understand that Anamorphic utilizes a larger portion of a negative, but where my understanding falls apart is the other stuff:

If it's the same aspect ratio as Super35, why does anamorphic have the advantage over Super35 in staging, 2-shots, composition, etc. as stated in this Panavision brochure about Anamorphic vs. Super35?

(http://tinyurl.com/anamorphicvssuper35 - see PDF - Anamorphic Lens Brochure, pg. 6)

and how much are these advantages affected if I'm not finishing with a film print?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 02:08 AM

The way you pasted that link with the parenthesis makes it not work.

If you are only going to show this on HDTV, then you're not going to see as much advantage to the larger negative of anamorphic compared to cropping Super-35 to 2.40 -- there would be less grain, but it's going to be harder to see that. There would also be a little more image clarity, but again, if this is only going to be seen in HDTV, that's going to be harder to see.

And outdoors stopped down more, it would be harder to see the anamorphic lens artifacts.

Compositionally, it shouldn't make any real difference between cropping a Super-35 image to 2.40 versus shooting anamorphic if you match distance and horizontal field of view.
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#3 Sean Conaty

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 02:13 AM

It will still be screened on a large screen, but as it's a student project, finishing to a film print is out of the question unfortunately.

here's the link again:

http://tinyurl.com/anamorphicvssuper35

anamorphic brochure, pg. 6
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 12:09 PM

It will still be screened on a large screen, but as it's a student project, finishing to a film print is out of the question unfortunately.

here's the link again:

http://tinyurl.com/anamorphicvssuper35

anamorphic brochure, pg. 6


It's just badly written -- only the last point refers specifically to using anamorphic lenses (the one on focal length and depth of field), all the other points are arguments for the 2.40 widescreen frame.

When say "screened on a large screen", you need to be more specific -- using an HD tape? So does this project only need to be finished out to 4:2:2 Rec 709 1080P? Or are you making a 2K DCI master?

Anyway, my arguments are still the same -- you'll have some improved grain and detail from shooting anamorphic but it may be pretty subtle. You'll have the look of anamorphic lenses, but that's harder to see outdoors in daytime.

So if you think it would be fun to shoot anamorphic as a learning experience, go ahead, but if all you want is a 2.40 image, then just shoot Super-35 and frame for cropping to 2.40 -- at least then you'll also be able to save some money by shooting in 3-perf instead of 4-perf (anamorphic uses the 4-perf format.)

If you want to save even more money, see if you can find a 2-perf 35mm camera (Techniscope), the format used in the Sergio Leone westerns.
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#5 Bruce Taylor

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 07:16 PM

If you want to save even more money, see if you can find a 2-perf 35mm camera (Techniscope), the format used in the Sergio Leone westerns.


2 perf Techniscope and 3 or 4 perf Super35 cropped to 2.4:1 use approximately the same amount of film real estate, so film savings are 50% over 4 perf S35 with the same amount of negative used.

...and if you're in LA, you can rent a 2 perf camera here: www.Indi35.com (that's me)

Bruce Taylor
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