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Old March 28th, 2005, 03:55 PM   #1
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Wider anamorphic lenses for DV cameras

I know that Century Optics is making a standard 16:9 Anamorphic adaptor (fe. for DSR PD-170 camera), but I was thinking if you can get wider anamorphic resolution, without applying matte in postproduction?

Robert Müller in Lars von Trier's feature film "Dancer in the Dark" used DVCAM camcoders (whole range from PD100 to D30WSP) and anamorphic ratio 1:2.35. I guess this wasn't made either by matte in postproduction, so had he used some wider anamorphic lens than 16:9? Do they sell these extra-wide anamorphic lenses, or was it just custom made for this movie?

Anyway, I was wondering again, how was the movie editing done? Do you have to edit this kind of footage on 16:9 studio monitor with image still squeezed, and then transer it using another anamorphic process on film, or is there another solution for this?

Thanks for any info!
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Old March 28th, 2005, 04:23 PM   #2
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There's a simple way to do this already. Use the anamorphic lens AND turn on your camera's built-in 16:9 - quick math:

16 / 9 = 1.78:1 aspect ratio using camera's built-in 16:9 mode
1.78 x 1.33 = 2.37:1 aspect ratio after adding anamorphic lens

Now this would work best with a camera featuring "real" 16:9, like the GS-400, PDX-10, XL-2, FX-1, etc. After shooting this way however you then have to figure out somehow to distribute, like upconverting to HD.

There have been a number of threads on this, but I only recall one person seriously using the technique - Martin Munthe.:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...&threadid=3069
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...161&perpage=15
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...threadid=16000
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Old March 29th, 2005, 01:39 AM   #3
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Thanks!

Let me think again.. So you can get a 1:2.35 ratio again when shooting with (native 16:9) HDV 720p JVC camcoders and using another anamorphic lense? In this case, you would have a progressive footage in relative resolution around 1692x720. If you'd blow up this footage by 14 percent, you get very cheap 1080p HDV, am I right?

Well that's awesome, now is someone making anamorphic lenses for JVC HDV camcoders?
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Old March 29th, 2005, 08:48 AM   #4
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This all seems fascinating, which is why threads pop up on the topic from time to time. It seems especially tempting on the PDX-10 (selling for $1,600 now) since Century makes an inexpensive anamorphic adaptor to fit its 37mm threads (~$300 I think).

But the more I think about this, it would probably be a lot of trouble for limited gain. Although I'll admit your idea about the JVC certainly sounds novel. But you will need to do a lot of resizing/rendering in post with any of these things. If you really want 2.35:1, then why not just get an FX-1 and crop the image?

I was surprised when reading an article about one of the new Star Wars films recently. It appeared they were shooting in HD and just cropping it to 2.35:1. I always assumed they would have used anamorphic lenses to get as many pixels as possible.
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Old March 29th, 2005, 10:18 AM   #5
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The thing is, I am against shooting interlaced footage and then deinterlacing in postpro, just because the deinterlation process even with hitech tools isn't satisfying. I preffer shooting progressive frames, which Sony camcoders don't support, prolly cause of company policies.

The difference between 1080p and cropped 720p is still huge nowdays, I guess. Well, I will think about all this once again laters.

Anyway, that Star Wars thing is very surprising for me either!
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Old March 29th, 2005, 02:26 PM   #6
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Martin,

Dancer in the Dark was shot in 16/9 and cropped to 2:35 as well. The PD-100's were outfitted with standard 16/9 anamorphic lenses. Same with Star Wars and every other 2:35 HD feature currently released.

The only digital camera capable of shooting native 2:35 currently available is the Viper. And even it's "native" 2:35 is achieved through pixel grouping which is a type of remapping similiar to the PDX10.

Anamorphic lenses are precision optical instruments. And designing an anamorphic lens that would not only fit a 2/3"WS HD camera, but also be of high enough optical quality to be usable with an HD camera would be an expensive and difficult process.

Remember, even 35mm gets cropped, matted and maipulated.


When I was shooting Four Eyed Monsters, I was switching between the anamorphic lens and the DVX100A's in-camera squeeze. After going back and forth all day, I mistakenly left the in-camera squeeze on while shooting a few shots with the anamorphic lens. Arin thought the result wasn't too bad.

I've since experimented with the anamorphic lens and the DVX's in-camera crop. I think the in camera crop with the anamorphic lens looked pretty good.

I think Boyd hit the nail on the head. Though it would be a fun experiment for a short, it would really be a lot of trouble for limited gains.
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Old March 29th, 2005, 03:42 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jon Fordham : Remember, even 35mm gets cropped, matted and maipulated. -->>>

I've read that a number of films are shot using the full 35mm frame, then cropped to 1.85 or 2.35 afterwards. This gives them a 4:3 version for TV and DVD release as a bonus...
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Old March 29th, 2005, 04:29 PM   #8
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Yeah, people always seem surprised to learn that 35mm gets "letterboxed". And even worse, the average 1.85:1 movie actually gets "windowboxed!"

The full 35mm frame is 4:3 (which is why televisions were made 4:3... to show films!)

The full aperture of a frame of film is 24 x 18mm. It originally got cropped on the side to allow for the soundtrack, so the average 35mm 1.85:1 movie is using an aperture of around 22x12mm. And of course a "pan and scan" 4:3 extraction uses a smaller section still -- it uses a 4:3 section out of the 1.85 frame which is a subset of the 4:3 frame! So even though film is a 4:3 medium, at a 24x18 size, the 4:3 version that ends up on television is usually pulled from a 16x12mm subsection!

Now with Super35, producers are once again using the full width, all 24mm. For 2.39:1 productions they crop the frame almost in half, so from the 24x18 frame you use about 24x10mm. And, as Boyd said, when doing that you can also preserve the height to allow for different aspect ratios being shot all at the same time: the main action occurs in the 24x10 2.39:1 frame, a 16:9 version for DVD could be made from including a few millimeters above and below the main action (24x13.5mm).
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