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Jeff L'Heureux

Super anamorphic?

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I'm curious if it would be worth it and/or if anyone has attempted to shoot anamorphic but also use up the entire horizontal width of the 35mm frame as is done in super35. Would this not be the overall best use of the 35mm negative from a size/resolution standpoint short of moving to vistavision?

 

I can understand why this wasn't done back when release prints and soundtrack space mattered but why didn't this kind of option come up as a possibility once super35 came around and became popular?

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I'm not sure what you mean? Everyone shoots super 35mm now. regular 35mm just saved space for sound track.

 

The way anamorphic lenses work 4 perf with 2x anamorphic lenses yields a wider then 2:35/2:40 frame and in our current time of digital work you just crop off the extra space.... if your simply suggesting just keeping that space around and getting a wider frame....yea people have been doing that a lot lately actually but not for additional resolution as the end result is a super wide frame that is not traditional

 

as I think you know Vista vision is not a wider frame, it is a bigger overall frame so there is more resolution there because the film is going horizontal.

 

the max resolution you can get in 35mm using 2x anamorphic lenses and ending up with a 2:40/2:35 is shooting 4perf 35mm and cropping in a bit. You could shoot vista vision with the 1.3x anamorphic maybe....

 

here is an Adidas commercial that does this for example

http://www.robertbenavides.com/

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First of all, 4-perf 35mm anamorphic already uses the max height of the negative, just not the soundtrack stripe's worth of width, so it's not a significant issue if you are just talking about improving image quality -- it's not like Super-16 where the extra width means you have to crop the vertical space less compared to regular 16mm in order to get a widescreen image, so you've both gained a little and you don't waste as much.

 

That little bit of soundtrack area (2mm wide) is nothing close to the jump from 4-perf to 8-perf VistaVision.

 

Second, a 2X anamorphic lens on a Super-35 4-perf negative gives you a 2.66 : 1 image unsqueezed, which is not a standard aspect ratio for theatrical release. For a 35mm print, you'd have to reduce the 2.66 image to fit within 2.40 with letterboxing, same goes for a DCP.

 

The only way to really see a very small improvement with 4-perf Super-35 anamorphic is if you redesigned anamorphic lenses to be slightly less than a 2X squeeze so you'd end up with a 2.40 image. But I don't see a big push to make 1.8X anamorphic lenses. Think of it another way, if your image has a 2X anamorphic squeeze and the final projected image is 2.40 : 1, then the only area of the film negative you end up using is 1.20 : 1, exposing a 1.33 : 1 negative area doesn't really help you.

 

Or to make 2.66 a release format, though with digital projection, it just means using a little bit of a shorter picture than a 2.40 image, both would either be 2048 or 4096 pixels wide.

 

Most film cameras today actually expose full aperture even when the lens is centered for Academy/1.85/scope. For Academy and 1.85, using Super-35 / Full Aperture does allow a slight overall reduction for the final master, a minor improvement in grain and sharpness, but for 2X anamorphic, it doesn't help you get a better 2.40 image since you only need a 1.20 : 1 negative area.

 

Super-35 became popular before the age of digital projection so the intended release print format then would have been 35mm 2.40 scope. Again, if you wanted to use the Super-35 width of 4-perf 35mm to improve grain and sharpness, you would have had to make 1.8X anamorphic lenses back then and made an optical printer conversion lens that could slightly squeeze a 1.8X image into a 2X image, for making a scope dupe negative for printing. That's a lot of new technology for a very small improvement in quality.

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Before digital intermediates, when Super-35 had to be converted in an optical printer to standard 4-perf within the Academy width for either 1.85 flat or 2.40 scope prints, there were a few people shooting in what was called "Super 1.85" -- "The Fisher King", "Godfather Part III", "Malcolm X", "The Two Jakes", and "Bonfire of the Vanities" were a few movies made in that format. The idea was that the slightly larger negative reduced to standard 1.85 would improve grain and sharpness.

 

But it turned out that for standard 35mm prints, it didn't really help graininess because contact printing standard 1.85 looked "smoother" than optical printing for Super 1.85, where grain particles were rephotographed through a lens onto a new piece of film, sharpening the grain. So the final image looked crisp but grittier than a contact printed image. Where Super 1.85 did help was for blow ups to 70mm, where an optical printer was necessary anyway for either regular 1.85 or Super 1.85. When 70mm release printing died in popularity by the end of the 1990's, so did Super 1.85. But in the age of digital intermediates just a few years later, almost all 1.85 movies were shot Super, whether 4-perf or 3-perf.

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They are, they just crop the additional horizontal space, but as mentioned some shooters are working with that super aspect ratios for digital release now.

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Most 4-perf cameras expose Full Aperture / Super, it's just that for standard 1.85 and anamorphic, the optical center is offset for the soundtrack on the left. You could order a special ground glass with 2.40 centered in Super and get the lens centered for Super, but what's the point? You can't use the soundtrack area unless you want a 2.66 image and if you want to make a print at the lab and project it for 2.40, then the projectors would use the standard anamorphic gate, there are no gates made with 2.40 centered with Super for something shot on anamorphic lenses.

 

The only reason to have the lens centered for Super and shoot anamorphic is if you planned on switching back & forth with spherical lenses.

 

What 2.66 features shot in 35mm anamorphic have been released theatrically? I've only heard of music videos, commercials, and short films to do that.

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It would be fun to see a "VistaVision" 16mm format. Rotate the film plane and go cinemascope ratio with 16mm film. I'd bet standard 35mm glass would cover it.

 

Of course I realize that it makes no sense in any financial model whatsoever...if I was a camera engineer it would be a fun side project.

 

Actually, what am I thinking? That would basically be 2-perf 35mm and give you no real film cost savings.

 

Nevermind.

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I had a similar idea once but did the math and basically realized that Kodak charges for real estate so there aren't real cost savings if the negative area gets similar to a 35mm format.

 

Besides, just doing some math, Super-16 is 12.52mm x 7.41mm (1.69 : 1).

 

Turn is sideways and pull two frames as one becomes 14.82mm x 12.52mm (1.18 : 1). Combine three frames sideways into one becomes 22.23mm x 12.52mm (1.77 : 1), similar dimensions to 3-perf 35mm.

 

I suppose the two frames combined as one, becoming a 1.18 : 1 frame would be useful if you put a 2X anamorphic lens on the camera. 14.82mm x 12.52mm would be 185.55 sq.mm -- Techniscope is 22.05mm x 9.47mm, which is 208.81 sq.mm, so this VistaVision Super-16 format with an anamorphic lens wouldn't be much smaller in total area than 2-perf 35mm.

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I had a similar idea once but did the math and basically realized that Kodak charges for real estate so there aren't real cost savings if the negative area gets similar to a 35mm format.

 

What about processing? If you could do four frames, you'd use virtually the same area as scope. (Actually, ~.8% more.) I imagine you'd have to build the camera more or less from scratch and reels wouldn't last long but, so long as we're thinking out loud, it seems worthy of mention. And 2X anamorphic lazy-four would use ~48% more negative than R35, for aspect ratios greater than 1.5.

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Yea, it's cheaper to shoot 3 perf 35mm and crop to the appropriate aspect ratio OR shoot 4 perf 35mm with anamorphic. I think horizontal formats are awesome though, I'm so disappointed they never stuck around outside of 15 perf IMAX and the very few films who originate with 8 perf 35mm VistaVision. The problem with VistaVision is the camera loudness, nobody really developed a sound camera that's lightweight. Of course, the original VistaVisions cameras were made from 3 strip technicolor one's and blipped like the Paramount cameras that came later. I think if you do the math, 5 perf 65mm is probably cheaper then 35mm 8 perf VistaVision and there are sound cameras available. The benefits of horizontal shooting in my eyes are related to projection and since nobody does film projection anymore, we can wipe our hands clean of ever making THAT a reality.

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