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davide sorasio

What is a detuned lens?

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Hi everybody, I'm doing a check out tomorrow and we are checking two 24mm lenses, one of which is detuned, what does that mean?

Thank you in advance for the help!

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Dom is correct, this article here with lens guru Dan Sasaki goes into a bit more detail - http://www.panavision.com/dan-sasaki-panavision-vp-optical-engineering

 

How do you “tune” your Panavision lenses?

It depends. Many times we ask for a still photo or example of what they would like to see. Based on the example or description the Cinematographer gives us, we can start determining methods to “customize” a lens. It usually takes a couple of iterations before we match the cinematographer’s expectations. The method of detuning is constantly evolving and we are continuously trying to innovate new ways to create a unique look.

An example would be non-coated lenses. Originally, we would remove the coating off lenses. We found this was an unnecessary and destructive method of achieving a look. Now, we have found a way to produce the same look without having to destroy the lens and have better control over the degree of effect and unwanted glare.

Were Panavision lenses originally designed for this kind of adjustability?

Every case is a unique challenge. Very rarely are we asked to duplicate a detuning scenario.

 

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Some lenses might stay in their modified state if it's a popular detuned option like Noir, others might be returned to normal. It depends on the needs of different branches and the available inventory.

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Dom is correct but it doesn't necessarily mean degrading the qualities of the lens. Quite often I have Panavision or Arri detune lenses of different series and/or generations to match a specific series/generation. This is by altering the contrast, sharpness and color of the detuned lens.

 

A great example is GODZILLA: KING OF MONSTERS. I had to make my anamorphic lens choices based, out of the numerous lenses I tested, on which lenses would clear the Alexa 65 sensor (since many of them vignetted on the large sensor) and not initially based on each lens' optical qualities. It was extremely backwards. After a month of testing, I had ended up with a mixture of Panavision C, D E, G and T series anamorphic lenses which all looked and performed quite differently. We detuned all of the lenses but the C series, matching all of the other lenses to perform and look like the C series. Thus, my lens package consisted of the best lenses that fit what I needed in terms of size, weight, speed and focus minimums. It worked brilliantly.

 

G

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Thanks Greg, I always enjoy your insights. It's only the last couple of years that I've really come to understand how demanding and extensive the DP's requirements can be for lenses when trying to find the perfect look for the story - some of the tales I've heard of the lengths crews go to test the lenses are... impressive!

Has the process of detuning lenses always been available and common, or have the likes of PV and Arri made it a lot more accessible in recent years thanks to new technology e.g. computer lens design or other factors?



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Dom is correct but it doesn't necessarily mean degrading the qualities of the lens. Quite often I have Panavision or Arri detune lenses of different series and/or generations to match a specific series/generation.

 

 

Yes, since that post of mine from 2016 I now work for Panavision and know a lot more about the detuning options. They are many and varied, and can be just very subtle alterations to things like out-of-focus blooming or veiling glare, or stronger effects like replicating the look of removing lens coatings or introducing ghosting. Some require a lot of time and testing, and so tend to be only used on larger features.

 

There are seven different recipes with up to five levels of effect, and they can also be stacked, which creates a myriad of possibilities. Over the last few years Panavision have been experimenting with stacking effects to match lenses, and perfecting the art of making for example a Primo match a C series (Noir #1 with Re-opt #2), or a PVintage match a Cooke Speed Panchro (Noir #2), etc. As Greg mentioned, it's becoming handy where productions need a variety of lenses that are not necessarily from the same series.

 

I think Panavision started doing this a while back (certainly a lot of work has gone into R&D), but only in the last couple of years has it become a more widely used option. I wasn't aware that Arri are offering anything like this.

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I remember detuning for the first time in 2013 for INTERSTELLAR. But it was a basic process back then. As for ARRI, their detuning process is much more basic when compared to what Panavision is doing but still a help. I'm currently working on an Alexa 65 picture in New York where I had similar challenges with mixing and matching lenses that would clear the extraction percentage on the over sized sensor. ARRI was instrumental in detuning specific lenses in order to blend them with our primary set of lenses.

G

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