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Old June 4th, 2002, 03:12 AM   #1
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Dumb question time again.

Would someone explain "anamorphic" in simple terms?

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Old June 4th, 2002, 03:20 PM   #2
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From my "Websters... Unabridged" a compound lens or system of lenses that produces greater magnification one direction than another, usually at right angles to the first, used for compressing wide-screen motion pictures onto conventional film and for projecting such images onto a wide screen.
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Old June 4th, 2002, 08:05 PM   #3
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Have you ever seen the credits on some old widescreen (letterboxed) movies?

If you have. Then maybe you've noticed that often when they roll the credits it's no longer widescreen (letterboxed). Instead the picture fills the whole 4:3 television screen. Every thing looks weird. The people look tall. That is basicly anamorphic. If you play thoose credits on a 16:9 widescreen tv, they will be horisontally compressed again, show the right aspect again.

If you wan't too shoot widescreen, then there are some different methods you can use. One method is to shoot footage with an anamorphic adapter in front of your lens. Your picture will then look "tall" as I mentioned before, and will later be compressed again for correct aspect.


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Old June 5th, 2002, 03:49 AM   #4
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An anamorphic lens squeezes an image optically (making it appear tall and skinny). The idea is that you are essentially gathering more image area on the sides of the frame. Then when you unsqueeze (either electronically or optically) you end up with a widescreen image. If done electronically, you will generally show the results with black bars at top and bottom. The advantage over simply cropping conventially lensed footage to appear the same is that you used all of the information of the original frame and compressed it into a smaller space, rather than throwing away the top and bottom of the footage.

In the film world, a de-anamorphosing lens on the projector expands the image and the result is a widescreen image. Some of the trademarks used to describe this process historically were "Cinemascope" and "Super Panavision". The aspect ratio (width to heighth) is generally 2.35:1, compared to American theatrical at 1.85:1, European theatrical at 1.66:1, HD at 1.78:1 and regular television at 1.33:1.

There are certain artifacts introduced by the optical design of the system such as lateral flares (think of flashlights or car headlights causing horizontal streaks) and geometry altering as the focus is changed (when you see highlights such as candles, Christmas tree lights etc. turn into ovals when they go out of focus in the background of a shot). However, many feel that they are sort of charming and cinematic--there's nothing like a well-shot widescreen movie!

A newer process called Super 35 has allowed for widescreen movies to be shot with standard spherical lenses. There is an optical blowup involved, so it results in more grain, but the lenses are more efficient to work with. James Cameron is a big proponent of the system and uses it on most of his films. I would estimate that 40% of widescreen movies in current release are now shot Super 35 and the rest anamorphic.
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Old July 2nd, 2002, 05:21 PM   #5
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Here's a description of anamorphic that I like to refer to:
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