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S16 Anamorphic & Underwater

Published : 28th August 2005


Hi everyone, I have an upcoming shoot (NYU thesis film) where we have been discussing with the director to use of Anamorphic on S16 (C-series lenses with Aaton XTRProd - Panavision lens mount) for a while but we have encountered some problems and I'd like to know what people think on this list (I have gone through the archives already and have a better idea of things but still I have some unanswered questions)

While we were happy about shooting S16 anamorphic the short has 2 days of underwater and the underwater housing for the Aaton XTR will not fit the anamorphic lenses, therefore I'm left with different options but I'm not sure how this options might affect post-production (we are finishing on 35mm, not sure if there will be DI yet)

So, what problems could I encounter if I shot the whole short with anamorphic lenses on S16 and then just shoot the underwater scene with spherical lenses and frame for anamorphic? ... Could that be a possibility? Would it be a problem at the blow up? How can I make sure the aspect ratio will match? Even if it doesn¹t match perfectly would reframing be enough of a solution? How about resolution?... Would the difference be so much that it would look completely different? Could I get away creatively with that difference since the scene is the only one with underwater shots and it is a breaking point in the story? (I know this last question I can only answer myself but I'm trying to give as much information so that you can give me better feedback...)

For clarification purposes: the scene has underwater but it is mainly in and out of the water in take, there is over and under the water...

Thanks in advanced,
ANY HELP APPRECIATED!

Magela Crosignani
NY



>and then just shoot the underwater scene with spherical lenses and >frame for anamorphic?

Well, you haven't described the scene, but if you could get away with doing it in a swimming pool, find a pool with a big observation window in it, and then you won't have to use an underwater housing and you won't have the problem.

I had this situation once and shooting through a window turned out to be WAY easier than shooting with underwater housings etc. etc. Just black out any and all reflections and it works out quite well.

Phil Badger
gaffer, LA



35mm anamorphic lenses have a 2X squeeze factor, so if you shoot with a format like S16, you will end up with a 3.32 : 1 image when unsqueezed. If you use regular 16mm, you would end up with a 2.66 : 1 or so image. Anyway, what this means is that you don't have to add any squeeze in the blow-up to 35mm since it already has it, but you will be cropping the sides of the S16 image quite a bit, not even using the whole width of the regular 16mm area of the negative.

If you shot S16 and cropped the top & bottom of the frame to achieve 2.35 and then add the 2X squeeze in the blow-up, you probably will get similar results to using anamorphic lenses and cropping the sides. Perhaps better depending on the quality of the spherical versus anamorphic lenses you use.

As for mixing them, you can do the blow-up for each piece separately but you should find a place that can blow-up from spherical S16 to anamorphic 35mm directly. Some places have to blow-up from S16 to S35 and then blow that up to 35mm anamorphic in another step to add the 2X squeeze in a 35mm-to-35mm stage.

Mitch Gross and I tested S16 cropped to 2.35 versus regular 16mm with anamorphic lenses for Metropolitan Labs, which offers a direct blow-up (crop & stretch) from S16 to 35mm anamorphic. I never saw the results but Mitch tells me that the two approaches gave similar results, graininess-wise.

David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles



David,

Thanks for the information, I have some further questions though and I want to make sure I'm understanding what you are saying...

If I shoot regular 16 anamorphic and blow up to 35mm I will end up with a 2.66:1 aspect ratio, when you say that I don't have to add any squeeze in the blow up because it already has it, do you mean that the 35mm print wont need to be projected anamorphic since it will be blown out from 16 unsqueezed and therefore printed as 2.66:1? If I do an optical blow out from regular 16 anamorphic to 35 will I end up going through tons of internegatives? Or can I go directly?

Would I be keeping the 2.66 aspect ratio in the 35mm print or will it end up being 2.35:1 and therefore I will loose part of the sides of my original framing?

Thanks again,

Magela Crosignani
NYC



Won't using 35mm lenses on 16 introduce unwanted reflections inside the lens and give reduced contrast?

Best Regards

Anders Thorsby
Clapper/loader & video assistant
Copenhagen, Denmark



>when you say that I don't have to add any squeeze in the blow up >because it already has it, do you mean that the 35mm print wont need >to be projected anamorphic

No, all 2.39 projection is anamorphic with a 2X squeeze, unsqueezed by the anamorphic projector lens. What I mean is that if you shoot with a 2X anamorphic camera lens, then all further duping can either be contact-printing or with an optical printer using a normal spherical lens and just keep the 2X squeeze built-in all the way throughout to the 35mm anamorphic print. However, you will have shave off the sides of your negative area because it's too wide. The 35mm anamorphic frame is an approx. 1.19 : 1 area (the image has a 2X squeeze remember so that becomes more like 2.39 : 1 when unsqueezed) -- your 16mm negative area is more like 1.33 : 1 or 1.37 : 1 so you have to trim this down to approx. 1.19 : 1.

>Or can I go directly?

You can go directly from a 16mm anamorphic neg to a 35mm anamorphic print at a few labs, assuming that you create a zero cut negative. The cost per print is quite high though. Like I said, the sides of the image will be trimmed to extract 2.39 out of 2.66 or so.

You could even blow-up the entire 2.66 : 1 image to 35mm anamorphic if you wanted to "letterbox" the on-screen image (visible black bands top & bottom.)

David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles



If I blow up the entire 2.66:1 image to 35mm then the print wouldn't need to be unsqueezed with an anamorphic projector lens right? It wouldn¹t really be 35mm anamorphic print but just a normal 1.37:1 35mm with letter boxing top and bottom and the unsqueezed 2.66...Or am I missing something?

Is there any other disadvantage to printing this way besides the visible black bands?

Also, I was thinking that the Standard 16 aspect ratio was 1.37 and not 1.33...Therefore if I do a 2x I would end up with a 2.74:1 aspect ratio...

Is this too much?

Wow.. I never thought this could get so intricate...

Thanks so much for the amazing feedback David.

Magela Crosignani
NY



>If I blow up the entire 2.66: 1 image to 35mm then the print wouldn't >need to be unsqueezed with an anamorphic projector lens right?

Didn't I just answer that? If you don't unsqueeze the squeezed image, then it will still be squeezed, right?

(1) If you shot with anamorphic lenses on the camera, the image on film is squeezed.

(2) If you don't unsqueeze this at any post step, it will be still be squeezed on the 35mm blow-up. This means that it will need to be projected with anamorphic lenses to unsqueeze it.

(3) If you do unsqueeze it during the blow-up stage, you'd have an incredibly tiny, letterboxed 2.66 (or more) image on a normal (i.e. spherical / unsqueezed / flat) 35mm 1.85 print. So there's no point in unsqueezing it for a flat print when you can leave it squeezed on an anamorphic print and waste less of the print area.

(4) Yes, it may be even wider than 2.66 : 1 if your regular 16mm gate is 1.37 : 1. But you'd have to letterbox the image to fit on a 2.39 scope print -- or trim the sides to fill a 2.39 scope print. Either way, there's no need to make a flat print.

I don't understand why you are so concerned about avoiding 35mm anamorphic projection when it's as common as 35mm flat (spherical) projection.

David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles



Thanks David,

I wasn't really asking it again It was more like I was trying to develop the idea as a chain of events to get to the next point...I'm not really concerned about the anamorphic projection I'm just curious about the different ways of getting to the final 35mm print and what are the advantages and disadvantages.

Your feedback has been of great help.

Thanks again,

Magela Crosignani
NYC