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5D Anamorphic Panavision Feature


Chris Saul
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I'm going to shoot a low budget feature in a few weeks and I'm thinking of shooting it on the 5D in Ananmorphic. I was wondering if anybody has experience with this or knows someone who does. I want to know if anybody has recommendations for lens support and if anybody has a way to fit the Panavision follow focus to the 5D? I would love to learn about any bit of advice. Thanks!

 

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Be careful that the anamorphics cover that large sensor without going mushy at the left and right.

 

Also, that's going to cost you an absolutely enormous amount of resolution!

 

Not to mention the enormous amount of fun you will have keeping the image focused properly. Do yourself a favor and think exhaustively before you commit to the idea. Shoot a test, project it on a big screen and go from there.

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I'm going to shoot a low budget feature in a few weeks and I'm thinking of shooting it on the 5D in Ananmorphic. I was wondering if anybody has experience with this or knows someone who does. I want to know if anybody has recommendations for lens support and if anybody has a way to fit the Panavision follow focus to the 5D? I would love to learn about any bit of advice. Thanks!

 

info@chrissaul.com

 

As others have hinted, it's a bad idea on a number of fronts. First of all, a 35mm cine anamorphic has a 2X squeeze and is designed to cover a 22mm x 18.5mm area -- your Canon 5D sensor is 36mm x 24mm so you will get some vignetting. Plus the Canon records 16x9 1080P and your image will have a 2X squeeze to it. So assuming the lens even fills all 24mm of your vertical 1080P frame, you will be cropping a 1920 x 1080 frame on the sides to about 1290 x 1080 to get a 1.20 : 1 frame (which when expanded by 2X horizontally, becomes a 2.40 : 1 image.) And considering the Canon HD recording only resolves about 750 lines, the rest of the detail is really aliasing, cropping even more seems like a bad idea. Of course, shooting spherical 16x9 1080P on the Canon and then cropping top & bottom to get 2.40 for theatrical projection isn't a whole lot better but at least you can use spherical lenses.

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I have played with some anamorphic lenses and had the best affordable results with the Iscorama 1,5. I used the attachment only. It has a 58mm thread so it works with Canons own 50, 85 and the old 100 macro lens. On the taking lens it has to be focused to infinity. On the anamorphic lens focussing starts at 1,5 meter (5 foot). If you can live with that for your film it's a recommendation. I mostly can't.

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There just seem to be so many reasons not to do this. One other significant issue would be depth of field. Not only is the 5D going to have shallower DOF than the 7D, it will be much more shallow when you use anamorphic lenses, a spherical 50mm horizontal field of view is about the same as a 100mm 2x anamorphic- I don't know how you would keep things sufficiently in focus on the 5D (not even mentioning the fact that a 35mm cine lens won't cover the sensor).

 

Other potential issues are 5D (or 7D) workflow and final output formats-- is the Canon really the best option? A feature is such a huge undertaking, it just seems that using standard image aquisition (film or digital), storage and proven conventional workflows would benefit you in the long run.

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If you were obsessed with the idea of doing this, it's easier to mount PL lenses (or any other kind, frankly) on a GH1, because of the microscopically short FFD of the micro 4/3 format which provides lots of leeway. The slightly smaller sensor might help you out with both depth of field and coverage.

 

I would definitely see if I could find a 1.5x adaptor instead. Then, you'd actually be improving image quality, as opposed to completely murdering it. I saw one test that showed the Panasonic 1.5x adaptor for the DVX100 certainly didn't cover the 5D adequately, at least on anything other than wide lenses.

 

P

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Not to mention that Panavision won't let you rent just lenses. Even if you have a camera with a PV mount they wont let people rent lenses without a camera. They even turned down Steve Soderbergh and his PV mounted RED.

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Not to mention that Panavision won't let you rent just lenses. Even if you have a camera with a PV mount they wont let people rent lenses without a camera. They even turned down Steve Soderbergh and his PV mounted RED.

 

What do you mean? He shot "Che" and "The Girlfriend Experience" with Panavision anamorphic lenses on the Red One.

 

Panavision rents just lenses & accessories but people renting entire packages have the priority.

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What do you mean? He shot "Che" and "The Girlfriend Experience" with Panavision anamorphic lenses on the Red One.

 

Panavision rents just lenses & accessories but people renting entire packages have the priority.

 

Agreed, I did read that they were moving away from renting PV lenses and the PV to Canon EF adapters for Canon 5D customers, but not that they were not renting lenses and accesories only anymore.

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Agreed, I did read that they were moving away from renting PV lenses and the PV to Canon EF adapters for Canon 5D customers, but not that they were not renting lenses and accesories only anymore.

 

I know a while back (3 or 4 years ago) I had pv lenses on a mini35 for a feature, but when it came to pickups we had to go superspeeds because Panavision was 'no longer renting lenses without bodies' (or at least that's what the producer told me... maybe he was just too cheap :) )

 

It wouldn't surprise me if they waive that rule for bigger names though.

 

Also, it's interesting that Shane Hurlbut moved his support from Panavision to alternative rentals, and says that the primo lenses he used for act of valor 'are not available any more.' Is it possible that Panavision is now limiting his access to their lenses?

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I was at woodland hills yesterday and spoke to Bob Harvey and he showed me that panavision already has a mounting system that lets you use their lenses, follow focus, and accessories. They won't rent it out widely, though, because it tends to further the undercutting of a lot of their business. They want it to go with packages as an insert camera or go out if the director or DP has a really good relationship with panavision.

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As others have hinted, it's a bad idea on a number of fronts. First of all, a 35mm cine anamorphic has a 2X squeeze and is designed to cover a 22mm x 18.5mm area -- your Canon 5D sensor is 36mm x 24mm so you will get some vignetting. Plus the Canon records 16x9 1080P and your image will have a 2X squeeze to it. So assuming the lens even fills all 24mm of your vertical 1080P frame, you will be cropping a 1920 x 1080 frame on the sides to about 1290 x 1080 to get a 1.20 : 1 frame (which when expanded by 2X horizontally, becomes a 2.40 : 1 image.) And considering the Canon HD recording only resolves about 750 lines, the rest of the detail is really aliasing, cropping even more seems like a bad idea. Of course, shooting spherical 16x9 1080P on the Canon and then cropping top & bottom to get 2.40 for theatrical projection isn't a whole lot better but at least you can use spherical lenses.

 

Thanks for the info! I'm not as technical as I should be but maybe you can help me a little more. I spoke with Guy at Panavision Hollywood and he told me that I get more resolution, 20% more. I did a test with a 75mm Anamorphic Primo Prime and it looks amazing and when I unsqueeze it, it becomes something like 3800x1080. Here's a link.

 

http://www.chrissaul.com/VIDEOS/ER_CUT_3.mov

 

Guy made it seem that it covers the sensor. Do you think I had no cropping issues because it was a 75mm? Let me know what information I'm missing because this is my first feature and they really love the idea of trying to give it the anamorphic look. I was thinking if I stayed at a f8 or f11 I might be okay with Depth of Field and if I cropped the edges in camera and not use the whole 3800x1080 that I could bring it to a 2.40? Correct me if I'm way off, I'm still student.

 

Thanks,

Chris Saul

www.chrissaul.com

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Thanks for the info! I'm not as technical as I should be but maybe you can help me a little more. I spoke with Guy at Panavision Hollywood and he told me that I get more resolution, 20% more. I did a test with a 75mm Anamorphic Primo Prime and it looks amazing and when I unsqueeze it, it becomes something like 3800x1080. Here's a link.

 

http://www.chrissaul.com/VIDEOS/ER_CUT_3.mov

 

Guy made it seem that it covers the sensor. Do you think I had no cropping issues because it was a 75mm? Let me know what information I'm missing because this is my first feature and they really love the idea of trying to give it the anamorphic look. I was thinking if I stayed at a f8 or f11 I might be okay with Depth of Field and if I cropped the edges in camera and not use the whole 3800x1080 that I could bring it to a 2.40? Correct me if I'm way off, I'm still student.

 

Thanks,

Chris Saul

www.chrissaul.com

 

If you used a 7D or a 1D, your worries about vignetting would be over. You would be using right about the intended sensor size with a little extra on the sides to crop away.

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I did a test with a 75mm Anamorphic Primo Prime and it looks amazing and when I unsqueeze it, it becomes something like 3800x1080. Here's a link.

 

http://www.chrissaul.com/VIDEOS/ER_CUT_3.mov

 

 

 

Are you sure that is unsqueezed? That looks awfully squeezed to me. You wouldn't be able to project that too well at a movie theater without some crazy letter-boxing. If you keep it at f8 you should be OK.

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I can take a 720 x 480 frame and uprez it to 72,000 x 48,000 pixels, that doesn't mean anything... sure, you can enlarge a 1920 x 1080 file size in the horizontal direction only, but you haven't gained any actual resolution in the horizontal, just that you enlarged it in one direction. You can't get more resolution than what you originally recorded.

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The Panavision lens has a 2X squeeze to it. It looks like the 75mm Primo anamorphic managed to fill the 16x9 HD recorded area of the 5D sensor, which is great. However IT HAS A 2X SQUEEZE TO IT.

 

What does this mean? It means that you recorded more side information than you can use. If your recording is 16x9 (1.78 : 1) and your image has a 2X squeeze to it, then unsqueezing (by doubling the horizontal information) would create 3.56 : 1, not 2.35 : 1.

 

Conversely, if you want to end up with a 2.35 : 1 unsqueezed image, then the original 2X squeezed image has to be 1.175 : 1. In other words, you need to crop the sides of your 16x9 1920 x 1080 recording (with the 2X optical squeeze) to 1269 x 1080 first, and then double the horizontal to 2538 x 1080 in order to get a normal-looking 2.35 : 1 image. And remember you are losing resolution by cropping but you are not gaining resolution by enlarging.

 

But what you did was take a 16x9 (1.78 : 1) recording with a 2X squeeze to it and expand it by only 1.32X horizontally to get a 2.35 : 1 image that is still squeezed-looking. That file is not 3800 x 1080 because that would be a 3.51 : 1 shape and it's a 2.35 : 1 shape (I measured the screen with my ruler) but with some squeeze left in (look how skinny the actor looks).

 

All of this is ignoring the bigger picture, which is whether the image is sharp enough to hold up on a big screen.

 

You have to remember that 2X anamorphic lenses were designed to be used on a 4-perf 35mm camera where the negative area is fairly square. To round up, if the final projected image is 2.40 : 1 when using a 2X anamorphic projector lens, the negative is 1.20 : 1 with a 2X squeeze in the image. But your HD recorded area is not 1.20 : 1, it's 1.78 : 1. So a 2X squeeze is more than you need to get a 2.40 image.

 

Here is an old chart I drew back when blow-ups to 2.35 were done optically. It shows the advantage to anamorphic over cropping Super-35:

anamorphic3.jpg

 

But anamorphic only gives you more resolution when it allows you to get a 2.35 image without cropping. In other words, if you had used a 1.33X anamorphic lens on a 16x9 camera, you would be squeezing a 2.35 image onto the whole recorded area and not need to crop to achieve 2.35 -- compared to shooting 16x9 with a spherical lens and cropping top & bottom to get 2.35. But if you put a 2X anamorphic lens on a 16x9 camera, you have too wide an image once unsqueezed by 2X, 1.78 becomes 3.56 and you have to crop the sides to get back to 2.35. In that case, you haven't gained any resolution over shooting spherical and cropping the top & bottom to get 2.35.

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Ive shot quite a bit of 2x anamorphics on my 5D (mostly with lomos), you can do it and its certainly fun for commercial projects or a music video- for workflow I start with a 2.39:1 chart and mark off the LCD with tape for approximate framing after desqueeze and crop- then mark off an external monitor as well if your using one, the edit stays squeezed and once finished; I send it through shake (or after effects) to dequeeze (by 2) and crop the appropriate ammount of pixels off the left and right sides to get a proper 2.39:1 frame. Its quite a process, but yeilds some interesting results.

 

However, for a feature; here are some major concerns and why I would avoid using a 5d anamorphic set-up on a long term project like a feature film. The single BIGGEST issue is focus and lack of appropriate monitoring, as the 5d doesnt spit out an HD video image while recording, your only looking at less than 576x480 pixels to judge focus for an HD image. This makes any shot with movement near immpossible, and thats not a stretch of the truth thats just the reality of the poor monitoring.

 

If you have the money for primo anamorphics, shoot on something like a Red with an M-X chip, Its still cheap and the moitoring is great (and it has an anamorphic desqeeze built in) if you want to use the 5d to get some weird b-cam or rig shots, go for it- but im afraid youll learn some lessons the hard way if you try to do a whole feature anamophic on the 5D. Just my 2 cents.

 

A side note, you can always crop for cinemascope, shoot spherical and get the flares your looking for with a blue streak filter- saves a lot of headaches with a camera like the 5d.

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Its been the policy as of Late November or December 09... It might have changed since then since the Ron Perelmen thing, but not to my knowledge. I know because while I was there I asked about renting lenses for a shoot with the P+S pro 35 adapter with a camera package the Director owned and they said no to me renting primos, only their PL mounted glass. They also denied my friend who worked their as a lens tech and prep tech from renting a EF to PV for a shoot with primos and a 7D if I recall correctly.

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Scratching my head slightly here, but do you get the "nice" anamorphic artifacts (elliptical bokeh, horizontal flares) with a front-element adapter?

 

I would think something like the Iscorama front adapter would yield the horizontal flares and also the bokeh, as any anamorphic cine lens with a front anamorph mounted assembly would. Using rear mounted anamorphic elements the horizontal flares are obviously not there.

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