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Iris Fades


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#1 Tim Halloran

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 08:36 PM

Does anybody know specifically how iris fades were accomplished, prior to digital editing? Was it always done with the optical printer or was it done with something in front of the lens?

The reason I ask is there was an "iris vignetter" that was made for the Bolex, shown here:

Posted Image

And it was supposed to do this:

Posted Image

But Andrew Alden says in the Bolex Bible that the iris vignetter doesn't really work, that it just gave the effect of defocussed brackets coming in from the sides rather than a circular iris fade.

So, how were iris fades done professionally back in the day, and what would be the best way to do one today, outside of a digital effect?

Tim
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 08:47 PM

Something similar was used in the Silent Era for circular iris effects, just better -- more leaves, etc. But by the mid 1930's it would have been done in an optical printer.
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#3 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 10:05 PM

Because it's directly in front of the lens, those kinds of faders have very blurred edges, but they would still create a diminishing circle. The darkening would appear to come in from the sides because it's a rectangular frame and the circle is so diffused. The more a lens is stopped down, and closer the focus setting, the more the circular edge would be defined.

I have a version for a 50's 8mm camera that is larger and fits in a matte box. It can sit a little further away from the front of the lens and is quite effective if the lens is stopped down a bit.
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