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Anamorphic Super 8


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#1 Jonathan Burton

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 09:29 PM

I'm looking for a way to shoot anamorphic super 8 and would appreciate any help or advice. I have been looking at some examples of Kowa 2x projector lenses being used which look good, but the issue of having to focus twice seems painful. Has anyone had any experience with this, I'd love to hear some feedback.
Also if anyone knows of an adapter where you don't need to focus twice that would be great.

Cheers -

Jonathan.
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#2 Nicholas Kovats

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 12:24 PM

Hi Jonathan.

The setup you describe are difficult at best.

1. My original design for a potential anamorphic adapter setup which was never
implemented, i.e
http://www.flickr.co.../in/photostream

2. Anamorphic test shot utilizing 16mm anamorphic projector lens +
stepdown ring + Beaulieu 4008. Cinematography by Justin Lovell,i.e.


Hence my efforts to develop native spherical Ultrapan8 system with aspect ratio = 2:8:1. Wider than Cinemascope 2:4:1. Utilizes the entire 16mm width of Regular 8 film. Standard 16mm optics cover the entire frame optically centered. Viewfinder is native UltraPan8 w/ mask for CinemaScope. Double the run time relative to 16mm film. 90-100% increase in imaging area relative to Super 8/Regular 8mm. Much cheaper than Super 16 conversion, i.e.



Cheers!

NK
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#3 Will Montgomery

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 12:47 AM

Anamorphic Super 8 is one of those things that you should try but will quickly find out it's not worth the effort. Focus is a crazy pain, you will probably need mounting rods to properly orient the lens which ads another layer of complication and bulk that makes it impractical.

When you are working with those anamorphic projector lenses watch out for strange mounts and "slightly off" screws. Panasonic makes an anamorphic adapter for a video camera that can work if you take a rotating polarizer, break the glass out and use that to mount the lens to the camera with various step up/down adapters if you need them.

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#4 alexandros petin

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 11:14 AM

attaching iscoramas the cameras lens is set to infinity and you only focus the anamorphic.

the downside the cost $$$$$
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#5 Will Montgomery

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 09:24 AM

the downside the cost $$$$$

And the bulkiness/awkwardness/clumsiness.
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#6 andy oliver

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 01:09 PM

One possible way is to source an iscorama cinegon lens, this is an all in one unit combining a 10mm cinegon lens with 1.5 squeeze lens. Two problems though, one is the are extremely rare to source, the second is that you are restricted to a 10mm lens.. Here is a photo (hopefully the link will work) http://www.cinematog...&attach_id=5547

Cheers
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#7 Nicholas Kovats

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 01:20 PM

Andy,

That is one very rare and expensive beast indeed. It would be cheaper to purchase the more common all in one LOMO square front anamorphic lenses. I found one example. They are very sharp and the tiny Super 8 format would end utilizing the center part of the lens. However this lens would also require a PL to C Mount adapter.

http://www.ebay.com/...=item20bc5ba757
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#8 andy oliver

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 05:09 PM

Yes the lens is rather expensive, currently one on ebay http://www.ebay.co.u...=item5d303acaea

Mine cost me around £160.00 on ebay for the c-mount version, bargain of the century i think :)
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#9 Philip Kral

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 11:03 AM

I'm looking for a way to shoot anamorphic super 8 and would appreciate any help or advice. I have been looking at some examples of Kowa 2x projector lenses being used which look good, but the issue of having to focus twice seems painful. Has anyone had any experience with this, I'd love to hear some feedback.
Also if anyone knows of an adapter where you don't need to focus twice that would be great.

Cheers -

Jonathan.


Anamorphics are fun to experiment with but as you've probably already read, they're a hassle. If your filming a narrative it's not too bad because you're constantly aligning your shots anyway.

From my experience there are 2 kinds of Ananamorphic lenses: The first type requires no refocusing on the anamorphic portion. Some of these are more appropriately referred to as "anamorphic adapters". These anamorphics are usually identified by their square glass (Although that rule of thumb isn't necessarily true for all Anamorphic lenses). The Panasonic Lens for the DVX100 that someone already mentioned on here is a good example, I actually own one myself and I can tell you it's a great lens. My only complaint about it, is that it's cheaply made for something your forced to pay almost a thousand dollars for new. I think the square front Konvas and Lomo anamorphics are like this but i can't confirm that, the price of these things skyrocketed and I can't get ahold of one.
The second type of anamorphic lens is like the Kowa lenses that your looking at. These are the most common and nearly all the anamorphics I've seen that are from projectors or look like regular spherical lenses have the issue where you have to refocus.
Both of these lenses are fine to use, the issue with all anamorphics are 1)You have to figure out how to attach/line up the darn thing and 2)You have to align the lens after every shot by eye. I personally steer clear of the projector lenses only because their rear barrels have no threads, which means you have to create your own device that holds the lens in place. Most non-projector Kowa lenses I know of (If I recall correctly) have threads in the rear end that you can use with a step-down or step-up ring to screw into the front of your camera (Assuming that the rear barrel of the anamorphic lens is slightly larger or pretty close to the diameter of the front barrel of the camera lens. Just be aware that it's a bad idea to just leave the adapter hanging on by itself for a period of time because the weight can royally destroy and cause issues with mounts or internal lens alignment (Arguably some would say you would STILL need a support system).
If you can find the "adapters" that require no refocusing then it will usually have a system already in place for adapting it to your lens as shown in this post with the Panasonic adapter. Before purchasing one you should obviously check to see if you can get it onto your particular camera. For example the Delarama(sp?) anamorphic adapters I think are too small for the large super8 barrels since they where intended for the smaller diameter c-mount lenses.
Last but not least also remember that not only do you have to refocus but you also have to REALIGN your frame everyshot besides refocusing. That is, you have to make sure that your anamorphic lens is situated the right way before you shoot. This will have to be measured by eye and it means making sure that the people in frame are tall and skinny (Not short and fat, other wise your squeezing the wrong way!).
I think I've babbled enough, if your going to try and project it that's another discussion entirely.


-Phil
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#10 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 12:41 PM

I'd like to add to some of the wise comments already posted regarding this topic.

I've been shooting anamorphically in the Super 8mm format (and Regular 8mm at times) using mainly a 2x compression lens format (2.66:1 aspect ratio nominally), since 1981. Having tried all three pre-HD-era A-lenses (1.5x, 1.75x, 2x), I decided to settle on the 2x compression format since that is what the majority of printed films that are in "Scope" are/were released in, and for simplification and standardization. My main lens of choice is the famous KOWA Prominar Anamorphic 16-H (aka 8-Z) which is small enough to make it easy to use, yet large enough to allow use on a vast variety of Super 8mm cameras. Due to realistic size and weight limitations, this combination has worked great allowing me to use the camera for on-the-fly-filming, as well as more serious tripod work over the years.

Some years ago, it was relatively easy to buy these custom made adapters which screw into the camera's tripod socket and support the lens in front of your main zoom/prime lens. With a variety of adjustments, it could also be fitted overhead to the movie light socket on top. These items can still be hunted down, but you'll have to search for them amongst the circles of users/former users........thus try contacting The WIDESCREEN Centre in London (although, they're not into it anymore like they used to be years ago, but might still have items or can get them), contact the remaining camera clubs, and also The AUSTRALIAN WIDESCREEN ASSOCIATION. Most of these can all be found online nowadays.

Having tried various adapters, I ended up settling with perhaps the simplest adapter made, "The Custome Mount" which via a small metal drilled out base block, attaches to either tripod socket or movie light socket, and has a long rod coming out which can be adjusted back and forth and locked via a small Allan Key Screw. This is likewise threaded on the front end and has a threaded knuckle or fitting attached to it, which has a vertical shaft drilled through it. A vertical rod fits into this and is held in position by an other Allan Key Screw. The top of this shorter vertical rod is also threaded to which it fitted a "lollipop" ring, which has been drilled and tapped also as the rods are, with 1/4 Inch Whitworth threading. The large ring has two further drilled holes with are fitted with two nylon/plastic grub screws. The diameter of the ring is custom, so they had several to fit a variety of Anamorphic Lenses. The entire setup is attached to the camera, the main rod is slid inward until the rear of the A-lens meets the front of the zoom/prime lens. I used a couple Series Adapters to create a cradle for the rear of the A-lens, and adjusted it all with the zoom lens on my SANKYO XL-620 focused to minimum distance....thus maximum physical extension. But lining the inner lip of the Series Adapter on the Camera's Zoom Lens with high quality vinyl electrical tape, in a couple layers, it made for a snug usable fit. The A-lens is held in the ring via the 2 Grub Screws.....but to ensure security, I also wrap a couple layers of high quality vinyl electrical tape around the rear of the lens barrel so the 2 Grub Screws have something to grab/bite into. I heard a horror story many years ago, how one filmer had his KOWA lens drop out this setup and get damaged. I have never had mine come loose using this setup, even filming from a helicopter over Niagara Falls years ago and in other precarious positions.

Now regarding some of the facts:

[1]. Yes, the rig is now heavier and larger to handle, so you have to be more careful. If using a rig that holds the A-lens in place and keeps it from rotating, you won't have to worry about realigning the A-lens each time to the correct orientation. You CAN shoot as easily as standard format once you get the hang of it, and depending on what A-lens and camera and adapter combination you are using. And.......you're going to get super wondeful CinemaScope images!

[2]. Yes, with most A-lenses you will have to focus BOTH the main/prime AND the Anamorphic lens. This is no big deal most of the time. Since the distance setting will coincide between both lenses, for planned shots of action, preset things up. You can film family, kids, sports...etc.....once you get the hang of it, it's almost as fast as not having the A-lens rig setup. And....you're going to get super wondeful CinemaScope images!

[3]. Yes, there is some light loss, usually about 1/4th to 1/3rd of a Stop, very little really and in general use, you won't notice it exposure wise most of the time. And....you're going to get super wondeful CinemaScope images!

[4]. Yes, there are focal length considerations due to the physical size of the A-lens and camera lens, and the optical relationship between them. e.g. on my SANKYO XL-620 the widest focal length I use is about 15mm. But since the KOWA is a 2x lens, the actual relative focal length in the image on the horizontal axis will be 7.5mm....so as wide as the zoom lens is anyhow. And....you're going to get super wondeful CinemaScope images!

[5]. Yes, it's a hassle.....but then so is anything filmmaking related at times. Scripting, acting, lighting, processing, editing, sound scoring, filming, filtering, etc etc. Tell me what isn't a hassle? And....you're going to get super wondeful CinemaScope images!


This takes some getting used to, but you get used to it fast. It varies from camera to camera, with smaller lens cameras being able to use most of the zoom range. So, Super 8mm cameras with a zoom lens not larger than 5:1 works best with the KOWA lens. This doesn't mean you cannot use others, just that the minimum usable focal length will be much longer than you want. e.g. on a NIZO S-800, the minimum focal length is around 40mm, yielding a 20mm effective result. However, the purpose of using it on a NIZO or BEAULIEU at the time, with their long large lens, was purposely to film at a super telephoto length in CinemaScope. For much smaller Super 8mm cameras, there's also the KOWA D-16 (compact) which is smaller and lighter. For those wanting an ultra tiny compact setup, there's the famous HYPERGONAR-8 which is very tiny and can be used on small Regular 8mm camera lenses, some 16mm cameras, and any of the small fixed lens or tiny zoom Super 8mm. This lens works great on the FUJI P-2 which is a Single-8 camera. While it's a 1.75x lens, it's close to the 2x format for some scenics to be shown with a 2x projection lens in some projects. From a pure standpoint, you'd want to use it for a project in that resulting aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

There's more to this entire subject to discuss, and it would take more to read and ponder and I can tell some of you are falling asleep already. So, in the end, is it worth it? I and many other Widescreeners thought so and still think so. I don't shoot as much in Widescreen using a A-lens as I used to, and that's probably because I began to think....gee....if I die off, people are going to go thru my films and think they are all distorted and then just toss them out! So, lately I've been using Super 8mm as it was intended, just to document my life, family, friends and whatever. But for more serious productions, the A-lens Rig comes out into use!

With HD TV, they couldn't even agree exactly what they should use....and settled somewhere in the middle. They could've at least made TV the same as the theatrical cinema release standard format of 1.85:1. So, even if you watch a proper film in it's correct format on your HDTV, it will still have masking lines on the top and bottom of the screen. What I'm getting at here, is that it really doesn't matter if you prefer an odd format over that of others......even a 'normal' cinema film still has to be either cropped or masked to be shown on TV via DVD or BluRay.

Finally, remember.......you're going to get super wondeful CinemaScope images!
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#11 Nicholas Kovats

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 09:52 AM

Martin,

Although I have technically diverged from this type of anamorphic setup you describe with native UltraPan8 systems...I consistently enjoy your detailed and enthusiastic postings an all matters pertaining to Cinemascope Super 8.

It is longterm enthusiasts such as yourself who keep this special little format's candle burning brightly.
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#12 Chris Burke

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 06:51 AM

Martin,

Although I have technically diverged from this type of anamorphic setup you describe with native UltraPan8 systems...I consistently enjoy your detailed and enthusiastic postings an all matters pertaining to Cinemascope Super 8.

It is longterm enthusiasts such as yourself who keep this special little format's candle burning brightly.


Nicholaas,

do you think it would be possible to do this to a Kransnogorsk K3? I have a regular 16 version I could convert.
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#13 Nicholas Kovats

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 01:18 PM

Hi Chris.

The short answer is yes.

But at significant cost. I was quoted $5000 US to convert my K3 to Cinemascope Double Super 8 format by jkcamera.com approximately 2-3 years ago.

But in general converting a K3 16mm camera to the required R8mm pulldown for UP8 is the most difficult and expensive option. The premise of the UP8 format is built on a manufacturers 8/16mm hardware and optical interchangeability, e.g. Bolex.

Although I have started examining my Russian Double Super 8 camera, e.g.

EBay item# 260585370845

http://www.ebay.com/...1#ht_769wt_1187

The gate could be milled out to the required 10.75mm x 3.75mm UP8 gate. And I suspect the zoom lens will provide the required coverage. But the reflex viewfinder does not provide easy access and probably would not provide coverage in itself.

A non-reflex Bolex H8 might be a cheaper alternative also. No H16 reflex viewfinder required for the final UP8 hybrid. The H8 gate would have to be milled out and the aperture widened. The parallax viewfinder (Octameter) would have to be masked off.

I hope this helps.



Nicholaas,

do you think it would be possible to do this to a Kransnogorsk K3? I have a regular 16 version I could convert.


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#14 Jean-Louis Seguin

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 06:52 PM

That's right Nicholas. If you can do without reflex viewing then acquiring a non-reflex H8 would certainly be a very economical way to get into Ultrapan8. I'm not 100% sure but I think that masking the Octameter viewfinder to the wide aspect ratio would only work on the 16mm and maybe 10mm settings and would be very approximate framing. Still, could yield interesting results.

Cheers,
Jean-Louis
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#15 ignacio benedeti

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 02:55 PM

I shooted this documentary in Single-8 Iscorama anamorphic last April
View on Vimeo All the movie was filmed with the Fuji ZC1000. Most of the takes, with the small Leitz Cinegon 10 mm with the compact Iscorama 36, some takes with the original Fujinon zoom and the huge Iscorama 54, and some takes with the Pentx 1.0 8-48 mm with Iscorama 42. Emulsions are: Tri X, OrWo, Velvia, Astia 100 and Astia pushed to 400. All the documentary is edited on film with the Fuji Stereo Splicer and the final sound recorded on the magnetic stripes with the Fujicascope SD20 and SD25 projectors. Superimposed titles filmed with the camera: no digital postproduction of any class in this movie. Original direct stereo sound recorded in FTS sync with a Sony cassette. Iscorama system is easy to focus. CINEcerely, Ignacio
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