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16mm anamorphic transfers for HDTV?


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#1 Steven Gilbert

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 02:27 AM

Here's what I've got:
Bolex standard 16mm camera AND a Bolex "System Moeller" 1.5 anamorphic lens.

Here's what I'd like to do:
1. Shoot in 16mm (standard) using the 1.5 anamorphic lens.
2. Transfer to digital8 so that I can import and edit with iMovieHD.
3. Ultimately I'd like to view on HDTV.

Question:
Can it be done?

From what I understand, shooting with the 1.5 anamorphic lens onto the 4:3 standard 16mm format will give me a 16:9 view when projected with my 16mm projector (again using the anamorphic lens to unsqueeze.)

So, it seems to me that I'm not too far from having everything necessary for HDTV since it is also 16:9. I just need to find a place to do a 16mm anamorphic transfer to digital. Any suggestions who could do that? They would need to unsqueeze my images. (I'm thinking transfer to digital8 so I can import onto my Mac with my old Sony Digital8 cam.) This almost seems too easy.

Is there something I am missing or forgetting?

Please, any help or suggestions very appreciated!

Edited by stevn, 09 October 2005 - 02:28 AM.

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#2 Bon Sawyer

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 02:40 AM

1.5x anamorphic applied to a 1.33:1 image would give you 2.0:1, not 16x9 (1.78:1).

Another option would be to shoot non-anamorphically- giving you a 1.33:1 ratio- then only transferring the middle 16x9 section of the image (assuming that whichever telecine place you decide on is willing/able to do that). You'd want to factor the cropping in when composing your shots, of course.

This might be simpler than shooting anamorphically, and simpler to transfer as well, given that you'd otherwise have to convert from the 1.5x anamorphic factor of the footage to the 1.33x anamorphic factor of the 16x9 transfer. It might also yield better quality (depending on the quality of your anamorphic lens, and whether it is an actual lens or an anamorphic adapter that attaches to another lens).

Just a couple of extra things to think about...

-Bon

Edited by Bon Sawyer, 09 October 2005 - 02:41 AM.

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#3 Steven Gilbert

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 02:58 AM

Thanks Bon for the quick reply.
I really know very little about all of this stuff, only what I've been researching on the Internet.

So then, the anamorphic 2.0:1 ratio is actuall wider than the 1.78:1 of HDTV, right?

Wouldn't it be nicer to crop from the 2:1 to 1.78 than to take it out of the middle section of the 1.33:1?
Is there a way I could do it myself, like with Final Cut Pro or something?

I understand that shooting without the anamorphic lens would be easier (and yes it is an anamorphic attachment used with another lens.) But seems like filming wide to start gives me more to work with later, less cropping.
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#4 Bon Sawyer

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 03:35 AM

Thanks Bon for the quick reply.
I really know very little about all of this stuff, only what I've been researching on the Internet.

So then, the anamorphic 2.0:1 ratio is actuall wider than the 1.78:1 of HDTV, right?

Wouldn't it be nicer to crop from the 2:1 to 1.78 than to take it out of the middle section of the 1.33:1?
Is there a way I could do it myself, like with Final Cut Pro or something?

I understand that shooting without the anamorphic lens would be easier (and yes it is an anamorphic attachment used with another lens.) But seems like filming wide to start gives me more to work with later, less cropping.

I haven't used such an adapter myself, but did research the pros/cons of getting one recently. The impression I got- this forum thread was one source of info- was that the quality gain of using a larger frame size would be negated by the adapter's impact on lens resolution and contrast. It depends on the quality of the adapter. In the worst case, you'll end up with a worse result than shooting non-anamorphically. In the best case, you'll have a better result, but probably not enough to justify the inconveniences that go with using the adapter.

The benefits are further reduced by the fact that you're using a 1.5x adapter, not a 1.33x. Cropping non-anamorphic 1.33:1 down to 1.78:1 means you're using 75% of the frame. Cropping 2.0:1 down to 1.78:1 means you're still only using ~89% of the frame- at best, an 18% improvement in resolution, hampered by the resolution decrease incurred by the adapter.

There's also the practical issues. Your viewfinder image would be squeezed, which personally I would find very annoying (although not everyone does). And the oddball squeeze factor (1.5x) could lead to confusion during the telecine stage, although you'd have to discuss that with the telecine place.

As I said, I don't actually have any experience with such a setup... I just happen to have looked into this option not long ago, and these were my findings.

It might be worth doing some tests of both options. You may find the quality when using the adapter to be satisfactory, and I'm sure projecting the 2.0:1 image would be fun. You might even prefer a letterboxed 2.0:1 image within your 16:9 transfer, rather than using the whole 16:9 frame.

-Bon

Edited by Bon Sawyer, 09 October 2005 - 03:37 AM.

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