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Pulling Focus on Anamorphic Lenses


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#1 Paulo Eduardo Uchoa

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 04:51 PM

I have never worked with Anamorphic Lenses, so I am a bit confused because I came across a AC gig where they said "MUST HAVE KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE WITH THE RED AND WITH ANAMORPHIC LENSES WHICH IS ANOTHER BREED OF LENS, LIGHT AND DISTANCE !!!"

So is it really that much different than regular Cine Lenses? I work with Pcam on my iphone to give me the DOF, and once I know what I'm focusing on, I just pull for that. So much different is working with Anamorphic?
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 04:57 PM

I have never worked with Anamorphic Lenses, so I am a bit confused because I came across a AC gig where they said "MUST HAVE KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE WITH THE RED AND WITH ANAMORPHIC LENSES WHICH IS ANOTHER BREED OF LENS, LIGHT AND DISTANCE !!!"

So is it really that much different than regular Cine Lenses? I work with Pcam on my iphone to give me the DOF, and once I know what I'm focusing on, I just pull for that. So much different is working with Anamorphic?


That ad is misleading, in a way.

Anamorphic lenses work mechanically the same way as any other lenses. The difference is that they have two focal lengths: a vertical focal length and a horizontal focal length. Your depth of field calculations are always going to use the longer of those focal lengths so the difficulty comes from longer focal lengths than usual for any given purpose. Your wide is no longer 10mm or 12mm but 20mm or 25mm. Singles may tend to be on a 135mm rather than a 75mm, etc.

It's really no tougher than pulling focus for a DP who likes to shoot master primes wide open.

Edited by Chris Keth, 09 February 2010 - 04:58 PM.

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#3 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 05:18 PM

That ad is misleading, in a way.

Anamorphic lenses work mechanically the same way as any other lenses. The difference is that they have two focal lengths: a vertical focal length and a horizontal focal length. Your depth of field calculations are always going to use the longer of those focal lengths so the difficulty comes from longer focal lengths than usual for any given purpose. Your wide is no longer 10mm or 12mm but 20mm or 25mm. Singles may tend to be on a 135mm rather than a 75mm, etc.

It's really no tougher than pulling focus for a DP who likes to shoot master primes wide open.


I'm not sure what two focal lengths really means but anamorphic is a different animal. Not focus pulling necessarily but with regards to optics. There are many more factors to consider when choosing an anamorphic lens like: color, chromatic aberration, stigmatism, internal flare and finally, the flatness of a curved field. I suggest going back into the archives of this site for there are numerous articles posted on this subject.

G
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#4 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 05:29 PM

I'm not sure what two focal lengths really means but anamorphic is a different animal. Not focus pulling necessarily but with regards to optics. There are many more factors to consider when choosing an anamorphic lens like: color, chromatic aberration, stigmatism, internal flare and finally, the flatness of a curved field. I suggest going back into the archives of this site for there are numerous articles posted on this subject.

G


Additionally, I would add the following: By way of focus pulling, since you have twice the angle of view when compared to the relative depth of field, more choices must be made with consideration to where to play the focus. Remember, the anamorphic format offers you twice the angle of view while giving up half the normal DOF. Another consideration would be the lighting package. Some would argue that the lighting package must be larger in order to be able to achieve deeper stops from further away so you can hold sharpness across the curved field of focus.

G
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#5 Paulo Eduardo Uchoa

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 05:40 PM

So, what is on a anamorphic prime lens? I'm sure you got the iris and Focus. Is there something else?
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 05:50 PM

Keep in mind that the Red ANA area is smaller than 4-perf 35mm anamorphic aperture, so you will have to compensate with shorter focal lengths due to the crop factor -- which is good in one way, in that you won't have quite the shallow-focus problems because of the shorter focal lengths.

For example, in Super-35 (framed for 2.40 extraction) if you used an 18mm lens for a wide shot, in 35mm anamorphic, you'd use a 40mm. This is because an anamorphic lens has double the horizontal view of the same focal length in spherical. So normally I'd say that a 20mm spherical image cropped to 2.40 would be the same as a 40mm anamorphic image, but Super-35 is slightly wider in aperture (24mm instead of 22mm) hence why I said 18mm.

Anyway, a 40mm lens has less depth of field than an 18mm lens, hence why anamorphic photography tends to have a more shallow-focus look.

But on a Red camera, you'd use something like a 30mm anamorphic lens to match what a 40mm anamorphic lens gives you on a 4-perf 35mm camera.

Anamorphic lenses have other unique artifacts in terms of breathing and flaring that have to be taken into account. Deciding when and how to focus-rack becomes a major decision in anamorphic, you can't just "ping-pong" the focus during a dialogue scene unless shooting at really deep stops (in which case ping-ponging the focus may not be necessary anyway.)
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#7 Kar Wai Ng

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 06:15 PM

here are many more factors to consider when choosing an anamorphic lens like: color, chromatic aberration, stigmatism, internal flare and finally, the flatness of a curved field.


All important factors to consider and test in prep. But on set, the curvature of the field of focus will have the biggest practical effect on your routine as the focus puller. Since the "plane" is now an arc, a subject at the edge of frame at 6 feet will be soft if the lens is set at 6 feet. The field of focus would lie in front of them. So you have to compensate for that.

In prep with a set of E series anamorphics on a lens projector, I found that the field of focus was a perfect arc. If the tape measure was the radius of a circle, and the centre of the circle was the lens nodal point, you could swing the tape measure from one side to the other and the arc it created corresponded pretty much exactly to the field of focus. So on set when you need to cheat an actor at the edge of frame forward a little (or cheat your focus back), you would know exactly how much compensation was required. You just run out your tape measure at an angle. I don't know if other anamorphics behave the same way in terms of their field of focus corresponding to the arc of a circle, or if some are more irregular (ie arc of an ellipsoid...)

Another thing to keep in mind is that anamorphics breathe a lot on focus pulls and tend to call attention to themselves on big pulls, so it's something that needs to be considered in the staging of each shot.
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#8 Bruce Taylor

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 07:34 PM

But on set, the curvature of the field of focus will have the biggest practical effect on your routine as the focus puller.


Exactly as Kar Wai notes, the curved field is an arc. That, along with the more shallow depth of field and flares (as David pointed out) are the issues.

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#9 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 03:29 PM

All important factors to consider and test in prep. But on set, the curvature of the field of focus will have the biggest practical effect on your routine as the focus puller. Since the "plane" is now an arc, a subject at the edge of frame at 6 feet will be soft if the lens is set at 6 feet. The field of focus would lie in front of them. So you have to compensate for that.

In prep with a set of E series anamorphics on a lens projector, I found that the field of focus was a perfect arc. If the tape measure was the radius of a circle, and the centre of the circle was the lens nodal point, you could swing the tape measure from one side to the other and the arc it created corresponded pretty much exactly to the field of focus. So on set when you need to cheat an actor at the edge of frame forward a little (or cheat your focus back), you would know exactly how much compensation was required. You just run out your tape measure at an angle. I don't know if other anamorphics behave the same way in terms of their field of focus corresponding to the arc of a circle, or if some are more irregular (ie arc of an ellipsoid...)



The curved field is a real thing. However, trying to factor that variable in while focus pulling isn't reasonable. That's why when prepping anamorphic lenses, you test and find the "flattest" lens available. Most of my work for many years was anamorphic and I had 2 sets of Panavision C and E series lenses that I kept for every job. This is because I had exhaustively tested these lenses and chose my 2 sets out of numerous lenses. One of the main factors was how "flat" the field was on each of them. I also determined for the cinematographer what the "true" lens speed was. In other words, what should the widest aperture be in order to hold enough "DEPTH of FOCUS" to cover the curved field. We couldn't always live up to that favored stop but we usually did.

But there is no doubt to the fact that the focus puller needs to be keen to the blocking of a shot since focus is a major issue with the anamorphic format.

Best,
Greg
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#10 Chris Keth

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 12:37 AM

The curved field is a real thing. However, trying to factor that variable in while focus pulling isn't reasonable. That's why when prepping anamorphic lenses, you test and find the "flattest" lens available. Most of my work for many years was anamorphic and I had 2 sets of Panavision C and E series lenses that I kept for every job. This is because I had exhaustively tested these lenses and chose my 2 sets out of numerous lenses. One of the main factors was how "flat" the field was on each of them. I also determined for the cinematographer what the "true" lens speed was. In other words, what should the widest aperture be in order to hold enough "DEPTH of FOCUS" to cover the curved field. We couldn't always live up to that favored stop but we usually did.

But there is no doubt to the fact that the focus puller needs to be keen to the blocking of a shot since focus is a major issue with the anamorphic format.

Best,
Greg


This is all good reading. Working with anamorphic is something I haven't done much of and I don't know all the tricks.
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#11 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 01:01 PM

So, what is on a anamorphic prime lens? I'm sure you got the iris and Focus. Is there something else?



Here is some good reading for you Paulo...

http://en.wikipedia....Anamorphic_lens

Best,
Greg
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#12 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 07:40 PM

...I came across a AC gig where they said "MUST HAVE KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE WITH THE RED AND WITH ANAMORPHIC LENSES WHICH IS ANOTHER BREED OF LENS, LIGHT AND DISTANCE !!!"


I know this Craigslist ad. I sent them an email, and since then they've been circling around with all my AC friends who have been referring them directly back to me. We'll see if I get a call.
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#13 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 01:20 PM

I know this Craigslist ad. I sent them an email, and since then they've been circling around with all my AC friends who have been referring them directly back to me. We'll see if I get a call.



Wow! I didn't even know Craigslist had these ads. After reading Jonathan's and Paulo's posts, I checked out the ad. I truly don't know where to begin. I'm shocked that people like the ones posting this ad exist!!! First of all, the ad is insulting. Their tone is threatening. This just shows the producers' inexperience and total fear. To go and intimidate the prospective 1st ACs with their statement of no negotiations about pay or they will remove you from their list is silly. That's what doing business is all about. What about negotiating box rental or per diem? Everything is negotiable. Then to go on and say that if you don't know your job, they will "send you home that evening" is laughable. How would they assess your skills the first night? You haven't done anything yet!!! And believe me, they will be so buried solving their own problems, they won't even know that you exist yet.

They want to pay peanuts but demand experience and a reel. Huh?? I don't know any 1st ACs who have a reel but then maybe I'm out of the loop on that. They can't have both. Experience will cost them. If they insist on going the cheap route, they deserve what they get. Here's how to negotiate this one:

"If you guys (employers) want guarantees that I can handle the job (it's obvious from your ad that you understand that anamorphic requires special skills and experience) and not cost you neither additional expenses nor delays, I need to be compensated properly for that. $500/day flat doesn't cover my my time or experience. How many hours does the $500 cover? Is there OT? If there's no OT, I probably am not making any more than a grocery checker by the end of the day at my local market! Let's talk about this. If you can't change the rate, maybe we can add on a box rental to make up the difference. Otherwise, $500/12 hours worked equals $35.72/hour. So, after 12 hours, I would get 2X pay at $71.44/hour. That will keep it fair for both of us and will get what YOU need. How about it?"

Good luck on this one. I don't think that they are smart enough to realize that if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. My final observation is the camera prep. How are you to prep on location without the support of the rental house? Grand assumptions are being made that all of the gear is going to be present and working, no adjustments to the package will need to be made and above all, the lenses are going to be decent! How do you manage all of the challenges that a prep can hand you the night before? This is a set up for failure.

Well, my friends, all I can say is that's why we have a union. We have a mutual agreement between employers and employees that provides the expectations for both sides. The Hollywood Basic Contract gives the ground rules for all of us to adhere to. It weeds out schmucks like these people so we don't have to deal with them and have it become adversarial. These producers have taken the adversarial approach right out of the gate by posting this threatening ad so I can't imagine it will be much better once you're in Sacramento. Once the pressure of production commences, I believe that they will be the first to crumble and point blame elsewhere - like you. You know the saying:

Blame the innocent
Promote the guilty
Reward the non-involved

Best,
Greg

PS: The hourly stated above is based on an 8 hour day with 1.5X for the following 4 hours and 2X after that. To convert these different pay scales to the common denominator of straight time in order to make it easier to calculate, simply divide the rate ($500) by 14 (hours). This will give you what the hourly rate is for 12 hours. I rounded up the hourly in this case.
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#14 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 01:59 PM

I should have included the ad with my previous post so everyone would know what we are talking about. So, here it is from Craigslist:


los angeles craigslist > central LA > gigs > crew gigs
please flag with care:

miscategorized

prohibited

spam/overpost

best of craigslist

1ST AC NEEDED FOR VIDEO (SACRAMENTO)

Date: 2010-02-09, 12:40AM PST
Reply to: gigs-7bahf-1592658869@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

INDEPENDENT FILM COMPANY IS SEEKS AN EXPERIENCED 1ST AC

WERE ARE SHOOTING A MUSIC VIDEO OF AN ALL GIRL ROCK BAND IN SACRAMENTO.

WERE USING A RED PACKAGE AND SHOOTING WITH A SET OF CLAIRMONT ANAMORPHIC PRIME LENSES.

THE SHOOT IS FEB 20, 21 (FRI/SAT) YOU WOULD BE FLOWN TO SACRAMENTO THURSDAY FEB 19TH AND PUT UP IN A HOTEL AND DO CAMERA PREP WITH THE DP THURSDAY NIGHT. SHOOT SAT/SUN AND FLOWN BACK MONDAY MORNING.

OUR FLAT RATE IS $1000 (500/DAY) THIS IS NON NEGOTIABLE SO PLEASE DO NOT EMAIL US DIFFERENT RATES WE WILL NOT RESPOND AND TAKE YOU OFF OUR POTENTIAL LIST.

YOU ALSO NEED TO HAVE A REEL OF YOUR WORKS THAT WILL BE VERIFIED.

MUST HAVE KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE WITH THE RED AND WITH ANAMORPHIC LENSES WHICH IS ANOTHER BREED OF LENS, LIGHT AND DISTANCE !!!

WE MAKE IT CLEAR TO ALL INVOLVED, IF YOUR CHOSEN AND YOU SHOW UP THURSDAY AND DO NOT KNOW YOUR JOB, WE WILL SEND YOU HOME THAT EVENING.

THIS IS A PROFESSIONAL OPERATION NOT A PLACE TO LEARN ON THE JOB.

Location: SACRAMENTO
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: $1000 (500/day)
PostingID: 1592658869
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#15 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 03:26 AM

I know this Craigslist ad. I sent them an email, and since then they've been circling around with all my AC friends who have been referring them directly back to me. We'll see if I get a call.

Guh, sounds like a nightmare scenario. Might want to think twice about this one, JB... :blink:
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#16 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 09:13 AM

Yikes, I'd stay away sounds like 2- 18 hour days to me. But for funsies I'd tell them that professional experienced AC's get paid for prep days ;) and that no AC's have reels for their AC work. I also find it hard to believe that if someone would show up there and 'not know what they are dong' that they really couldn't 'send you home' as who else are they going to get DURING the shoot?

Edited by Michael Kubaszak, 15 February 2010 - 09:17 AM.

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#17 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 09:53 AM

I just find the use of CAPSLOCK hysterical. As soon as you see something all in caps lock you know it's shady. ITS LIKE SCREAMING ONLINE! :ph34r:
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#18 Chris Keth

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 07:43 PM

I saw that on craigslist and passed. It sounds like a bad setup. If you do it, expect the worst: long days, WFO stops, and no rehearsals. Furthermore, they're not paying for the travel/prep days like they should be. That means that their $500/day flat rate is essentially $250/day flat.
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#19 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 10:44 PM

Jeez Adrian, keep it down! he he

They called one very experienced AC friend of mine and said it was full rate. They then called another friend of mine and told him it was half that...shady indeed.
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#20 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 03:47 PM

Jeez Adrian, keep it down! he he

They called one very experienced AC friend of mine and said it was full rate. They then called another friend of mine and told him it was half that...shady indeed.



That figures. Half rate meaning $250/day? Better to stay away. One thing that I've learned over the years is that good producers know the value of a good crew and what it takes to embrace them rather than alienating and lose them.

G
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