Jump to content

Using Cooke Speed Panchros


Adam Frisch FSF
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Premium Member

Hi.

 

I had a job that went from anamorphic to spherical faster than you can say Pana..... Anyway, in an effort to

try to keep this flare-y, organic and slightly soft I've decided to go with Century's re-housed old Cooke Speed Panchros, hoping they will create a kind of old school vibe. I'm waiting for Arri Media to test them and see if they cover super-35 at the widest end, but other than that I'm comitted.

 

Anyone shot with them? Tips, insights, pro's con's? All advice appreciated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Premium Member
Hi.

 

I had a job that went from anamorphic to spherical faster than you can say Pana..... Anyway, in an effort to

try to keep this flare-y, organic and slightly soft I've decided to go with Century's re-housed old Cooke Speed Panchros, hoping they will create a kind of old school vibe. I'm waiting for Arri Media to test them and see if they cover super-35 at the widest end, but other than that I'm comitted.

 

Anyone shot with them? Tips, insights, pro's con's? All advice appreciated.

 

Adam,

 

Geoff Boyle from CLM had a set. He sold them to another DP who had a set stolen who could not live without them! They will cover S35 1:1.185. Lenses however are very individual so need to be tested.

 

 

http://www.cinematography.net/GEOFF/DOLLOND%20qt.HTM

http://www.cinematography.net/GEOFF/THOMSON%20qt.HTM

 

 

Stephen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have/had a set of rehoused Panchros (they are out being tested by a prospective buyer at the moment). I guess I don't have a lot of tips, except for the fact that I loved these lenses. I only used them for academy and 1:85 widescreen not Super 35. They were pleasently warm and had a nice soft very human look to them. I love the way they render warmer colors and skin in particular. They were a bit too soft for me wide open, but were fine at or after f4. I love the bokeh from these lenses and you are absolutely right about the flares - they are great. I miss them already. I wish I had gotten to use them more when I had them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • Premium Member

The BBC One spot I finished on the old re-housed Cooke Speed Panchros is now up on my website. It's of course impossible to get any real insights from a small web movie, but might at least give a slight feel for how they behave.

 

I loved them - they were very nice. I shot them wide open all the time and I think they performed very well for their age. They also didn't really flare as much as I'd thought. In an effort to get more stray flares, I shot without matte box completely. On some shots you can see some rather nice, strange fringe flares and odd behaviour. They also cover super-35. The close focus on the 152mm is abysmal, though - bring some diopters.

 

http://www.adamfrisch.com/commercials/index.html

 

And according to Arri Media in London, these lenses are out on jobs all the time. They're apparently very popular again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I just shot a super 35 short (2.35) with the cooke S2s for similar considerations. The director and I both wanted this very old-school anamorphic quality in both the mise-en-scene and the lighting, but, like you, there was no way we could swing ACTUAL anamorphic lenses for budget reasons. I had used this one set of re-housed S2/S3s which I love, and was happy to discover that they cover super. I think that these lenses, shot pretty open, (I shot the entire movie at a 2.8 or thereabouts) has a very anamorphic feel. I didn't actually go for any flares, because they wouldn't have fit the film at all (the film was mostly these bergman-esque master shots)... But they have a great "period" anamorphic quality... I don't know why more people don't shoot more super 2.35 with these older cookes, it's just so nice. And we even tried to be really period in how we lit it. We barred ourself from using ANY kinos or HMIs whatsoever, just a bunch of big tungsten fixtures that we rigged into these old-school bounce-light rigs.. And lemmie tell you, the quality of light and image you get from a 5k smashing into bead board and then diffused through a layer of opal or frost, and then shot with like a 70mm S2 prime... man... SOOO creamy and seductive, it all just "works..."

 

good luck!!!

 

kitao

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member

I have the opposite response, which is unless you are shooting for contact printing in a 35mm projection format (standard 1.85 or using anamorphic lenses for scope) then why NOT use the soundtrack area of the negative for picture information? What's the point of leaving that area on the left side unused?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
I have the opposite response, which is unless you are shooting for contact printing in a 35mm projection format (standard 1.85 or using anamorphic lenses for scope) then why NOT use the soundtrack area of the negative for picture information? What's the point of leaving that area on the left side unused?

 

David,

 

But 2.35 is basically using the 2 Perf area, the final image has to be squeezed to fit the anamorphic frame. The extra S35 sides are NOT USED so I see no advantage .

 

For a 1.185 extraction I totally accept with what you say.

 

Stephen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
David,

 

But 2.35 is basically using the 2 Perf area, the final image has to be squeezed to fit the anamorphic frame. The extra S35 sides are NOT USED so I see no advantage .

 

For a 1.185 extraction I totally accept with what you say.

 

Stephen

 

What are you talking about??? Only when you shoot 2-perf don't you use the whole Full Aperture width for 2.35 since 2-perf is 2.66 if you use the full width.

 

For 3-perf or 4-perf Super-35, you use the whole width of the negative to extract 2.35 and then squeeze it to anamorphic -- it's about a 2 1/2 perf frame, larger than 2.35 pulled from 2-perf.

 

The extra area (the soundtrack area) IS used. Who told you that they didn't? THAT WAS WHY SUPER-35 WAS INVENTED IN THE FIRST PLACE, FOR EXTRACTING 2.35 FROM THE WHOLE WIDTH OF FULL APERTURE, NOT FROM ACADEMY APERTURE.

 

You've been seriously misinformed.

 

P.S. I wanted add another reply with some links to Super-35 charts showing that Super 1.85 and 2.35 extraction share the same width, just different heights... but the forum software won't let me. The reply page is all screwed up.

 

Here's one chart:

 

http://www.cameraguild.com/technology/formats.htm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
What are you talking about??? Only when you shoot 2-perf don't you use the whole Full Aperture width for 2.35 since 2-perf is 2.66 if you use the full width.

 

For 3-perf or 4-perf Super-35, you use the whole width of the negative to extract 2.35 and then squeeze it to anamorphic -- it's about a 2 1/2 perf frame, larger than 2.35 pulled from 2-perf.

 

The extra area (the soundtrack area) IS used. Who told you that they didn't? THAT WAS WHY SUPER-35 WAS INVENTED IN THE FIRST PLACE, FOR EXTRACTING 2.35 FROM THE WHOLE WIDTH OF FULL APERTURE, NOT FROM ACADEMY APERTURE.

 

You've been seriously misinformed.

 

P.S. I wanted add another reply with some links to Super-35 charts showing that Super 1.85 and 2.35 extraction share the same width, just different heights... but the forum software won't let me. The reply page is all screwed up.

 

Here's one chart:

 

http://www.cameraguild.com/technology/formats.htm

 

 

Hi David,

 

Seems a very complicaled way to make a lower quality anamorphic movie!

 

I thought that S35 was just a silent apeture with a new name, hardly an 'invention' IMHO.

 

Stephen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
Seems a very complicaled way to make a lower quality anamorphic movie!

The many producers, directors, and cinematographers who go through these extra "complications" might take exception to their efforts being characterized as resulting in "lower quality" movies. They obviously feel otherwise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
The many producers, directors, and cinematographers who go through these extra "complications" might take exception to their efforts being characterized as resulting in "lower quality" movies. They obviously feel otherwise.

 

Hi,

 

If they were to do a back to back test, Anamorphic would win. Their reasons are not motivated by quality.

 

Stephen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
If they were to do a back to back test, Anamorphic would win. Their reasons are not motivated by quality.

You're kidding, right? If not, please explain your perception of what their motivations might be.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
You're kidding, right? If not, please explain your perception of what their motivations might be.

 

Hi,

 

35mm Amamorphic uses a larger negative than S35 2.40. It is sharper and has far lower grain, and does not require a DI or Optical reduction to be viewed in a cinema. It is far higher quality, I am not kidding.

 

I have no idear of what other peoples motovations might be. George Lucas for one seems sure that HDCAM is as good as 35mm Film.

 

Many people who grew up with video may be uncomfortable in the knowledge that they can't fix it in post, if they take the optical route.

 

Stephen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
35mm Amamorphic uses a larger negative than S35 2.40. It is sharper and has far lower grain, and does not require a DI or Optical reduction to be viewed in a cinema. It is far higher quality, I am not kidding.

 

I have no idear of what other peoples motovations might be.

Your reference to "far higher quality" is purely subjective. These days, easily half the high-budget anamorphic movies are being shot in super 35mm. I can assure you that the people behind every single one of these productions are well aware of the advantages you stated above. They can afford to shoot a movie in either format. The truth is, many major, well-funded directors and cinematographers still PREFER the look of spherical lenses. That is their motivation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
Your reference to "far higher quality" is purely subjective.

 

Hi,

 

A purely subjective opinion based an back to back testing, using my eyes. I never said it was easier to shoot Anamorphic, it's easier to shoot spherical.

 

If quality was really an issue many more 65mm films would be made.

 

Stephen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
The truth is, many major, well-funded directors and cinematographers still PREFER the look of spherical lenses. That is their motivation.

I am sure the choice of spherical over anamorphic is less a matter of prefering the look, but because it is easier to shoot. You have a wider choice of lenses and there is never a shortage of them, the lenses are lighter, have better close-focus, you can shoot them wide-open, focus is easier because they have more depth of field, you can reframe in post, etc...

 

What you loose in quality, you win in convenience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member

I won't disagree that anamorphic gets you a better image for large screen presentation because it uses more negative real estate, assuming you shoot it well.

 

I'm just saying that Super-35 uses the Full Aperture width regardless of whether you frame for 1.85 or 2.35 -- they share the same horizontal dimensions and just vary by how much of the negative you end up using vertically for picture information. Only 2-perf doesn't ever use the Full Aperture width since that would be a 2.66 : 1 image; it only needs to use Academy width to achieve 2.35.

 

Anamorphic uses only the Academy width but almost all of the 4-perf Full Aperture height, about 40% more negative than Super-35 cropped to 2.35.

 

But Max pretty much listed all of the arguments for Super-35 in terms of convenience. It especially gets hard when you have a large multi-camera package to get enough sets of anamorphic lenses of matching quality for different units.

 

What's odd is that it's getting to the point where art house dramas are more likely to shoot in anamorphic than big-budget efx-driven Hollywood epics. So you end up with a film like "Thumbsucker" or "All the Real Girls" shot in anamorphic, yet "The Poseidon Adventure" or "V is for Vendetta" shot in Super-35, which is a little disappointing.

 

The main thing about choosing anamorphic for a DP is getting the producer and director behind you 100%, because there are some accommodations to be made, and a little patience. You don't want the director throwing up his hands the first time there is a bad focus pull and blaming you for choosing anamorphic, nor the line producer asking you why you need to light up your night exteriors to a T/2.8 at least.

 

Yes, there are some well-respected DP's who don't like anamorphic lenses, like Roger Deakins or David Watkin. I polled a few DP's at the last ASC dinner I was at and I was a little shocked at how some of them hated anamorphic. To me, the extra quality is worth the effort, but some DP's say that you're making a shoot a hostage to the format when you shoot anamorphic.

 

Well, I'm about to shoot my first Super-35 film, so I'll find out whether I'll regret not pushing for anamorphic on this one... Unfortunately in a day and age of low-budget filmmaking where at the least sign of trouble or inconvenience, you'll be asked to consider switching to HD, you have to be careful about pushing a format that may cause them concern. That's true for Super-35, 3-perf, D.I.'s too -- the battle is to get them to consider something other than standard 1.85 and a photochemical finish if you feel 2.35 or a D.I. is a good choice for the project.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
I am sure the choice of spherical over anamorphic is less a matter of prefering the look, but because it is easier to shoot. You have a wider choice of lenses and there is never a shortage of them, the lenses are lighter, have better close-focus, you can shoot them wide-open, focus is easier because they have more depth of field, you can reframe in post, etc...

 

What you loose in quality, you win in convenience.

 

Hi,

 

If they were to do a back to back test, Anamorphic would win. Their reasons are not motivated by quality.

 

Stephen

 

So, according to the above comments, absolutely NOBODY in cinematography has a preference for the look of Cooke S4s or Zeiss Ultra Primes over that of anamorphics, regardless of release format? Are you trying to tell us that the only reason someone would choose to use these lenses on a scope release is because, despite having an inferior quality, they're more convenient? So, the only reason Cooke and Zeiss even bothered to come out with these lenses (which are optimized for super 35, by the way) was just to cater to all the lazy filmmakers out there who somehow lack the drive to put in that extra effort it takes to shoot anamorphic?

 

Are we expected to believe that the filmmakers of every single one of the following super 35mm projects were less motivated by quality than convenience?

 

LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY, True Lies, The Abyss, X-men 2, Zoolander, Vanity Fair, Three Kings, Terminator 3, Team America: World Police, Tank Girl, Stigmata, Strange Days, Sphere, Speed, Serenity, Se7en, L.A. Confidential, Kingdom of Heaven, KING KONG 2005, Heavenly Creatures, Runaway Jury, The Rock, The Jacket, Italian Job 2003, KILL BILL VOL. 1 & 2, Reservoir Dogs, Titus, The Replacement Killers, Punisher 2004, Point Break, Pitch Black, Payback, Phone Booth, Panic Room, Fight Club, The Game, Old School, O Brother Where Art Thou, Ocean's Eleven, Negotiator, National Treasure, Love Actually, Monster's Ball, Men of Honor, THE MATRIX TRILOGY, ALL the Harry Potter movies, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, Gosford Park, GLADIATOR, Brazil, Fisher King, Finding Neverland, Fifth Element, Ferris Bueller, Election, Donnie Brasco, The Cell, Don't Say a Word, Bourne Identity, Bourne Supremacy, Bridget Jones 1 & 2, American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Minority Report, Munich, Jarhead, etc., etc., etc.

 

I'm sure there isn't a single film on this list that couldn't have been shot anamorphic, and I'm sure that most of the filmmakers on this list have the clout, financing, and ability to shoot in any format they want. It would be hard to believe that such a group of uncompromising filmmakers would settle for "convenience over quality".

 

Bill Butler ASC:

"Super 35 is a great format."

 

Conrad Hall ASC:

Hall and Mendes made a matter-of-fact decision to record Road to Perdition in Super 35 format (2.4:1 aspect ratio), the same as American Beauty. Hall explains that they envisioned using the wider frame for composing images, and that he prefers spherical lenses over anamorphic.

 

Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC:

"If you think about it, every anamorphic lens is simply a spherical lens with an anamorphizer on it, so almost by definition, they'll never be as good as the spherical lenses that they emulate," Sigel notes.

 

James Cameron interview:

"Any argument against Super 35 went away a few years ago when Kodak came our with their T-grain intermediate stocks. I defy people to compare it to anamorphic, which has its own problems. Super 35 just lacks certain anamorphic artifacts that I think are detriments, and I much prefer that look."

 

Would one conclude from these statements that super 35mm is "better" than anamorphic? Would one conclude that anamorphic is "better" than super 35mm? Or, could one perhaps arrive at the obvious understanding that different cinematographers of equal standing have different preferences, and probably aren't so close minded as to believe that different filming situations might not call for different approaches, and that most top cinematographers wouldn't dream of putting convenience ahead of quality. (After all, most of them have distinguished themselves through the quality of their work.)

 

Here's a news flash: Both methods have their proponents. Plenty of highly qualified cinematographers have strong reasons for preferring one method over the other, while also having enough respect for their colleagues not to pass off personal opinions as unassailable facts. I merely pointed out that there are other, equally credible schools of thought on the subject, and it's best not to smugly assess something with such oversimplified absolutes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, according to the above comments, absolutely NOBODY in cinematography has a preference for the look of Cooke S4s or Zeiss Ultra Primes over that of anamorphics, regardless of release format? Are you trying to tell us that the only reason someone would choose to use these lenses on a scope release is because, despite having an inferior quality, they're more convenient? So, the only reason Cooke and Zeiss even bothered to come out with these lenses (which are optimized for super 35, by the way) was just to cater to all the lazy filmmakers out there who somehow lack the drive to put in that extra effort it takes to shoot anamorphic?

 

Are we expected to believe that the filmmakers of every single one of the following super 35mm projects were less motivated by quality than convenience?

 

LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY

 

---The CGI folks prefer S35 over anamorphics because they don't want to be bothered dealing with 'distotions' in anamorphics.

 

'Moulin Rouge', the recent not the real one, was photographed with anamorphics for the straight shots but had to switch to S35 for the CGI shots.

& they insist on 2K, none of this 4K and higher nonsense.

 

In a video game driven world, the pootertooners get the final say.

 

---LV

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY, True Lies, The Abyss, X-men 2, Zoolander, Vanity Fair, Three Kings, Terminator 3, Team America: World Police, Tank Girl, Stigmata, Strange Days, Sphere, Speed, Serenity, Se7en, L.A. Confidential, Kingdom of Heaven, KING KONG 2005, Heavenly Creatures, Runaway Jury, The Rock, The Jacket, Italian Job 2003, KILL BILL VOL. 1 & 2, Reservoir Dogs, Titus, The Replacement Killers, Punisher 2004, Point Break, Pitch Black, Payback, Phone Booth, Panic Room, Fight Club, The Game, Old School, O Brother Where Art Thou, Ocean's Eleven, Negotiator, National Treasure, Love Actually, Monster's Ball, Men of Honor, THE MATRIX TRILOGY, ALL the Harry Potter movies, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, Gosford Park, GLADIATOR, Brazil, Fisher King, Finding Neverland, Fifth Element, Ferris Bueller, Election, Donnie Brasco, The Cell, Don't Say a Word, Bourne Identity, Bourne Supremacy, Bridget Jones 1 & 2, American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Minority Report, Munich, Jarhead, etc., etc., etc.

 

Hi,

 

Personally when I go to the cinema I like to see films where a large negative was used. Ben Hur (1959) and Laurance of Arabia (1962) look better than many S35 films of today, IMHO.

 

Stephen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

---The CGI folks prefer S35 over anamorphics because they don't want to be bothered dealing with 'distotions' in anamorphics.

 

'Moulin Rouge', the recent not the real one, was photographed with anamorphics for the straight shots but had to switch to S35 for the CGI shots.

& they insist on 2K, none of this 4K and higher nonsense.

 

In a video game driven world, the pootertooners get the final say.

 

---LV

Hit it on the head Leo strange folks who spend their lives in front of computer screens creating CGI , dont like or understand , anamorphics , their loss , but ours as well . john holland.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
---The CGI folks prefer S35 over anamorphics because they don't want to be bothered dealing with 'distotions' in anamorphics.

 

'Moulin Rouge', the recent not the real one, was photographed with anamorphics for the straight shots but had to switch to S35 for the CGI shots.

& they insist on 2K, none of this 4K and higher nonsense.

 

In a video game driven world, the pootertooners get the final say.

 

---LV

Hey, Leo, how come you edited out all the titles on the list that weren't CGI driven? Please don't distort my quotes through creative editing. Thank you. (C'mon man, gimme a hug.)

 

 

Hit it on the head Leo strange folks who spend their lives in front of computer screens creating CGI , dont like or understand , anamorphics , their loss , but ours as well . john holland.

OK, you've explained the advantage of spherical with CGI. Now, perhaps you can explain why, in addition to that style of filmmaking, many thoroughly-qualified cinematographers also choose spherical for NON-effects driven projects. Folks like Conrad Hall, Bill Butler, Roger Deakins, etc. have collectively done far more character-driven than effects-driven films.

 

I was responding to some ridiculously close-minded assertions that NOBODY prefers the look of spherical lenses. What was implied was that cinematographers such as the above mentioned, including too many more to list, don't even exist. Do you really believe the above names have tended to put "convenience ahead of quality"? Is it really too difficult to accept the reality that less than 100% of all cinematographers prefer the look of anamorphics?

 

(Believe it or not, of the three best shot movies I've seen in the past year, two were done with anamorphics. That's, of course, a subjective opinion, and I would never deem to pretend that those who prefer NOT to work in that format don't have legitimate reasons, or lower standards.)

Edited by dgoulder
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member

I have learned more from reading Stephen Williams's posts on this site than from anyone else. He is knowledgeable (including on the lenses that are the topic of this thread), he is civil and he has a very good sense of humour. He is one of the classiest participants in this forum.

 

This is the first, and I hope only time, that I have read a thread in which he is treated like a schoolboy. Mr. Mullen needs to know that using CAPITAL LETTERS to tell someone that he is "seriously misinformed" is not his finest moment. Mr. DG Goulder needs to know that his posts read like someone conducting a jihad about cinematography, which in my case, at least, makes me remember that perspective is a good thing.

 

This site doesn't need an on-going thread called "sign your posts". It needs an on-going thread called "don't leave your civility and sense of humour at the door".

 

Mr. Williams is a big boy and more than capable of defending himself. That isn't why I'm writing this. I'm writing this because, for what it is worth, I'm really tired of this kind of thing. And judging from some personal exchanges, I'm not alone.

 

This is really discouraging.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...