Jump to content


Photo

Tech Talk, sort of

cameras lenses lens digital film

  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 Keenan Stockdale

Keenan Stockdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts
  • Other
  • Flagstaff

Posted 09 December 2013 - 07:34 PM

So, after surfing around the forums and googling, etc. I have sparked up some questions I have about cameras and such. I was reading the Catching Fire thread where Jo Willems and Dave Thompson have actually posted, which is downright awesome, but while reading some of their responses, I found myself getting a little lost.

I'm 19 and have been shooting pictures (not much video) for about 5-6 years now and have picked up my fair share of knowledge on my own, and I've never had any "formal training", if we can put it that way. 

Anyways, I of course know all of the basics about equipment (or I believe I do) and composition and such, but I read articles of DP's being interviewed and then the Jo Willems forum post and I'm so confused sometimes. For example, a bunch of them keep talking about E, C and G lenses and I'm not sure what that translates to. 

Also I was wondering some stuff about anamorphic, and aspect ratios. I know about the common ones like 16:9 and such, but I've seen them post about 2.39:1, etc.

I'm really trying to get this whole cinematographer thing to work after college, with moving to NY and what not, but I feel overwhelmed at times thinking about all the things I have yet to learn!

 

Thanks in advance for any responses, everything is appreciated.


  • 0

#2 Bill DiPietra

Bill DiPietra
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2339 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York City

Posted 09 December 2013 - 08:02 PM

For starters, take a look at this website.  Chock full of information.

 

http://www.widescreenmuseum.com


  • 0

#3 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11941 posts
  • Other

Posted 09 December 2013 - 08:07 PM

Further to above, the letters identify specific series of lenses produced by Panavision. Series E, C and G are all anamorphic lenses which horizontally squeeze the image 2:1, so when it falls on the film frame the resulting image, when unsqueezed by a projector (or digital process) results in a frame around 2.39:1 in shape. The differences between the series tend to be size, weight, and the way they flare and defocus.

 

Keep shooting stills, it's more about photography than many beginner video cameras will let you do.


  • 0

#4 Keenan Stockdale

Keenan Stockdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts
  • Other
  • Flagstaff

Posted 09 December 2013 - 08:29 PM

Further to above, the letters identify specific series of lenses produced by Panavision. Series E, C and G are all anamorphic lenses which horizontally squeeze the image 2:1, so when it falls on the film frame the resulting image, when unsqueezed by a projector (or digital process) results in a frame around 2.39:1 in shape. The differences between the series tend to be size, weight, and the way they flare and defocus.

 

Keep shooting stills, it's more about photography than many beginner video cameras will let you do.

I had read up on anamorphic a tad and get the whole idea of it and why it's used now.

What I want to know is, do the letters stand for anything? Or are they just labels to help identify the lens? And another question about aspect ratio, is there a way I can identify what any aspect ratio will mean, or is it just a matter of memorizing them? I had a class where we briefly covered aspect ratios, but I don't recall much... 


  • 0

#5 Stuart Brereton

Stuart Brereton
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3071 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 09 December 2013 - 11:03 PM

There are only a few commonly used Aspect Ratios. In TV it's almost exclusively 16:9, which is sometimes expressed as 1.78:1. There may well be people producing TV in 4:3, or 1.33:1 somewhere in the world, but they are a dying breed.

 

In Film, the common AR's are 1.85:1 and 2.40:1. 1.85:1 is slightly narrower than 16:9, and is the most common AR for theatrical release. Then there is 2.40:1, or 2.39:1. This is the Anamorphic AR, although it can also be derived from Super 35mm.

 

In Super 16mm, the AR is 1.66:1, which is slightly wider (top to bottom) than 16:9

 

Some Digital camera systems offer other ARs, such as RED who have a 2:1 AR option, but these are not used in theaters.


  • 0

#6 Keenan Stockdale

Keenan Stockdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts
  • Other
  • Flagstaff

Posted 09 December 2013 - 11:48 PM

There are only a few commonly used Aspect Ratios. In TV it's almost exclusively 16:9, which is sometimes expressed as 1.78:1. There may well be people producing TV in 4:3, or 1.33:1 somewhere in the world, but they are a dying breed.

 

In Film, the common AR's are 1.85:1 and 2.40:1. 1.85:1 is slightly narrower than 16:9, and is the most common AR for theatrical release. Then there is 2.40:1, or 2.39:1. This is the Anamorphic AR, although it can also be derived from Super 35mm.

 

In Super 16mm, the AR is 1.66:1, which is slightly wider (top to bottom) than 16:9

 

Some Digital camera systems offer other ARs, such as RED who have a 2:1 AR option, but these are not used in theaters.

 

Thanks a lot, now, here's another question, what are these film formats and which are most common in cinema?

I've heard of RED (and got the pleasure of actually holding one, lol) and all the things commercialized such as IMAX but I'm not too familiar with Super 35/16mm, or Alexa (I believe it is?).

 

Again, thanks to everyone who has responded/responds. I'm learning a ton.


Edited by Keenan Stockdale, 09 December 2013 - 11:49 PM.

  • 0

#7 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7118 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 10 December 2013 - 03:00 AM

The letters are just the name of the lens, like "primo" or "ultra prime," or "Super Speed." The all refer to a specific lens line made at a certain time. I forget when the Panavision anamorphics were made, e.g. which came first, but each lens series tends to have it's own character. For example, I am partial to the cooke S4 lenses, because I find them particularly pleasing in the way they render things. Take a Cooke S4 and a Zeiss Ultra Prime, for example, and shoot the same scene and you'll notice the subtle differences between the two. The same is true of the Panavision anamorphics. As you go on you'll start to notice things (until then, grab someone with a digital stills camera and try to get two different lenses on it, like a Nikkon F1.8 E Series 50mm, and a Cannon F1.8 50mm).


  • 0

#8 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11941 posts
  • Other

Posted 10 December 2013 - 04:25 AM

what are these film formats and which are most common in cinema

 

Aspect ratios aren't really associated directly with film formats anymore, especially now most stuff is shot digitally. Many digital cameras have sensors the same sort of size as a film frame, so that the depth of field is comparable, but can often shoot a variety of image shapes.

 

The only two aspect ratios that are ever really used for cinema are 1.85:1 and 2.39:1, although 1.85 is so close to the 1.78 used for HD and widescreen standard-definition TV that it makes no effective difference - it's just a case of ensuring that the microphone boom (or other things we don't want seen) don't dangle too close to the top of the very slightly wider 1.85 frame.

 

Very rarely, people may use the native 1.33:1 aspect ratio of the unadulterated film frame, as was done in the past, but it's not common. Many movie theatres would struggle to display it effectively.

 

What you might want to do is pick up a book like Cinematography, by Kris Malkiewicz and our very own David Mullen, which includes a wealth of information on exactly this sort of thing.

 

P


  • 0

#9 Simon Wyss

Simon Wyss
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1411 posts
  • Other
  • Basel, Switzerland

Posted 10 December 2013 - 05:15 AM

Keenan, you make me shiver.

 

You are nineteen and feeling the need to learn everything technical about cinematography now before going to New York “and whatnot”.

 

Haste makes waste. Do you think we olders have learnt the trade within a couple weeks, especially when film was still film and no computers around? You want to get exhaustive information from the forum?

 

Here’s my contribution: Cinema is nitrate-base 35-mm. film, perforated with intermittent-type apparatus, a black-and-white so-called emulsion on it which actually is a suspension, exposed in a camera behind a plate with a three-to-four aspect ratio aperture at 1000 frames per minute, contact printed onto nitrate-base film, and projected with carbon-arc light onto screens of three-to-four sides ratio. Splices are made with chemically acting so-called cement. Simple glass lenses. Cinema is also film at 24 frames per second with sound, in colours, in three dimensions, on wide screens. It’s also 9.5-mm. film or 16-mm. film or 8-mm. Or 28.5 or 17.5. Or 2" film at 12 frames per second: Eidoloscope. Or 1¾" film with square images of 1½" sides length at 20 frames per second: 1888 Le Prince. Or 30 fps or 60 fps. Plus rumble or shaking or sensurround and whatnot. Cinema is also welded polyester-base film, in duplex projection, in projection with continuous film drive. Cinema comes out of hand made cameras with a wooden case, out of cameras made with CNC machinery, out of multicoated computer-calculated varifocal lenses, out of cameras with sand-casting light-metal alloy frames, out of cameras with beam-splitting prisms and light filters. The technical standards are available as handbook number 17 from the International Standardization Organization in Geneva. Cinema is also everything new and revolutionary as long as it’s entertaining, moving, educating, and in my case: lovely.


  • 0

#10 aapo lettinen

aapo lettinen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1022 posts
  • Other
  • Finland

Posted 10 December 2013 - 07:30 AM

The letters are just the name of the lens, like "primo" or "ultra prime," or "Super Speed." The all refer to a specific lens line made at a certain time. I forget when the Panavision anamorphics were made, e.g. which came first

first C, then E, then Primo, and finally G


  • 0

#11 John Holland

John Holland
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2248 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London England

Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:40 AM

Before "C"s there is Auto Panatars .
  • 0

#12 Keenan Stockdale

Keenan Stockdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts
  • Other
  • Flagstaff

Posted 10 December 2013 - 12:03 PM

Keenan, you make me shiver.

 

You are nineteen and feeling the need to learn everything technical about cinematography now before going to New York “and whatnot”.

 

Haste makes waste. Do you think we olders have learnt the trade within a couple weeks, especially when film was still film and no computers around? You want to get exhaustive information from the forum?

 

 

Whereas I'm thankful for your contribution, your first few sentences make ME shiver. I'm not coming to a forum to learn entirely from you 'olders'. I am still enrolled at a university and am learning plenty, and will continue to learn plenty here. I'm not rushing off to New York in some sort of ridiculous manner either. I'm going to graduate, and in the mean time seek internships in NY, or possibly CA, this is till up in the air (NY will be easier because I have plenty of family in Manhattan). I'm not here to cram my brain before moving across the country, I'm here to hopefully get some questions answered, in which I will seek further information on during my time in school.

Thanks.


  • 0

#13 Keenan Stockdale

Keenan Stockdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts
  • Other
  • Flagstaff

Posted 10 December 2013 - 12:17 PM

 

What you might want to do is pick up a book like Cinematography, by Kris Malkiewicz and our very own David Mullen, which includes a wealth of information on exactly this sort of thing.

 

P

 

Thanks, I'll have to see if our library carries either of these, or anything else related


  • 0

#14 joshua gallegos

joshua gallegos
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 334 posts
  • Student

Posted 11 December 2013 - 01:54 AM

I think for beginners like myself, it's more of a priority to have better composition and block scenes more efficiently, and make use of available light as best as possible. I will say I feel I've learned an incredible amount of technical information from David Mullen, Roger Deakins, and the American Cinematographer's Manual, I think the info helps you understand how things work, but it isn't everything or the first thing you need to learn, but I'm still glad I took the time to learn the fundamentals, I know most of the lighting arsenal that exists, how photometric charts work, film stocks, etc, but when I made my first short film, it was more about knowing how to tell a story with a camera, and that's something you plain and simply learn on your own.


Edited by joshua gallegos, 11 December 2013 - 01:56 AM.

  • 0

#15 Keenan Stockdale

Keenan Stockdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts
  • Other
  • Flagstaff

Posted 11 December 2013 - 08:27 PM

I think for beginners like myself, it's more of a priority to have better composition and block scenes more efficiently, and make use of available light as best as possible. I will say I feel I've learned an incredible amount of technical information from David Mullen, Roger Deakins, and the American Cinematographer's Manual, I think the info helps you understand how things work, but it isn't everything or the first thing you need to learn, but I'm still glad I took the time to learn the fundamentals, I know most of the lighting arsenal that exists, how photometric charts work, film stocks, etc, but when I made my first short film, it was more about knowing how to tell a story with a camera, and that's something you plain and simply learn on your own.

 

I 100% agree with you. I'm just thinking it's better for myself to start early. As far as composition and such, I'm not very concerned with it at this point, whereas I know there is always room to improve, I just feel that I should start picking up other information too. Not to come off as arrogant, but as far as telling a story, it's not my composition I'm going to be concerned with, but more about which shots I decide to use and when. 

Thanks for the name drops there too, I'll look into them some more and pick up that manual.


  • 0



Abel Cine

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

Technodolly

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Wooden Camera

FJS International, LLC

Tai Audio

Visual Products

CineTape

Ritter Battery

Opal

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Glidecam

Metropolis Post

CineLab

Willys Widgets

Paralinx LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

Glidecam

Abel Cine

Opal

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

CineLab

Technodolly

Ritter Battery

Tai Audio

Rig Wheels Passport

rebotnix Technologies

Visual Products

The Slider

CineTape

Willys Widgets

Paralinx LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS