Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Anamorphic Super16mm To A 35mm Print


14th Jan. 2006

Hi everyone

I was wondering if anyone has shot anamorphic Super 16mm and taken it up to 35mm print. I'm shooting in the UK so am looking for advice on the best labs (I understand some don't process 16mm). Anyone have any things I have to watch out for? I have been told there may be problems shooting Super16mm rather than Standard 16mm. I presume the process is the same as taking up 16mm to 35mm. But are there differences on the anamorphic element that I have to watch out for?

I presume my 35mm print will use the standard cinema anamorphic projector lens, does shooting with Super 16mm mean I risk losing some of my frame or cause distortion by trying to cram it into a smaller frame?

I am using Arri kit with the V-Series Hawke anamorphics' on Kodak stock.

Any help would be much appreciated.

Martin Smith,

Director, Scotland

We seem to have this discussion regularly...

Standard 35mm anamorphic lenses have a 2X squeeze. So if the final unsqueezed image on the screen is nearly 2.40 : 1, then that means the camera and projector gate is nearly 1.20 : 1, more square even than 1.37 Academy. In fact, the anamorphic aperture is basically Academy in width but nearly Full Aperture in height (almost the same as the old Movietone Aperture of the late 1920's...)

So if you stick a 2X anamorphic lens on a Super-16 camera with a camera aperture that is 1.68 : 1, you end up with an unsqueezed ratio of 3.36 :

1. If you shoot regular 16mm, with a camera aperture of 1.37:1, you end up with a 2.74 : 1 aspect ratio. So even with a 2X anamorphic lens on a regular 16mm camera, you'd have to crop the sides to get a 2.39 : 1 image.

If you're determined to shoot regular 16mm with anamorphic lenses, shoot a framing chart for guidance on trimming the sides from 2.74 to 2.39.

You'll probably also have to operate with a squeezed viewfinder image unless you can find a way to unsqueeze it. Also, there are some issues to consider if doing a D.I. and preserving as much vertical resolution as you can, especially if you use 16x9 HD as an intermediate step.

Or you can shoot Super-16 spherical and frame for cropping 1.68 top & bottom in post to 2.39.

But there's no reason to shoot Super-16 with 2X anamorphic lenses if the end goal is a 35mm scope print.

David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles


Just out of interest: have you considered shooting 2-perf 2.35:1 35mm?

The cameras and TK facilities are rare but the stock costs should be comparable to shooting 16mm and you'll get more resolution to play with.

Jack Kelly
Dir / Prod / Camera

I seem to remember reading about aspherical lenses designed with only a 1.5x squeeze. These may be more helpful in martin's situation.

Justin Gurnari

Jack Kelly writes :

>Just out of interest: have you considered shooting 2-perf 2.35:1 35mm?

With regard to the above suggestion :

1. Can someone provide a precise estimate of the cost premium?
2. Can a BL III or IV be converted, and if so, at what cost?
3. Do any labs in NYC handle it?

Bob Morein
Indie filmmaker

2-perf 35mm is nice but it is still more expensive than a 16mm process.

You should check the archives as there is a nice clear page of our discussions on this. In short, shooting regular 16mm with a 2x anamorphic lens and then cropping the sides uses EXACTLY the same negative area as shooting Super-16 spherical and then cropping the top & bottom.

When shooting using anamorphics on a 16mm camera, you'll likely be stuck with a squeezed image in the viewfinder, a limited choice of lenses that are expensive and do not get as wide as you would like (if focal length and aperture) and the inability to mount some on your camera based on the specific construction of the lenses (often with very wide barrels) and the camera (with a relatively lower-mounted viewfinder compared to a 35mm camera). With Super-16 cropped being cheaper and easier with more lens options available, the only reason to shoot 16mm anamorphic would seem to be to get the specific artifacts of anamorphic lenses, such as horizontal blue flares and donut-haps bokahs.

>I seem to remember reading about aspherical lenses designed with >only a 1.5x squeeze. These may be more helpful in martin's situation.

If you can dig up some of those ancient lenses then it's a start, but you'd still need to crop the sides of the frames a bit. Proper ratio is 1.33x.

Mitch Gross

You probably remember reading about someone (JP at Aaton I think) using a 1.5X projection lens attached to the front of a 16mm zoom.

The only 1.5X anamorphic format for 35mm was 8-perf Technirama in the 1950's; it would be hard to find a set that weren't museum items (in fact, I just saw a few at Clairmont, from someone's collection) and you'd probably have to convert them to PL-mounts, if even possible. Plus some of the Delrama designs were quite big & heavy, using prisms instead of cylindrical elements.

Panavision is making some 1.34X anamorphic lenses for the Genesis, which could also be used on a 3-perf 35mm camera or Super-16 to get a scope image into a 16x9 area - but those won't be ready until the Fall and will be for Panavision cameras.

Canon makes a 1.34X adaptor for the back of B4-mount HD lenses; don't know if it's even possible to adapt that for Super-16 use.

David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles

>Panavision is making some 1.34X anamorphic lenses for the Genesis, >which could also be used on a 3-perf 35mm camera or Super-16 to get >a scope image into a 16x9 area - but those won't be ready until the Fall >and will be for Panavision cameras.

I thought Panavision also had PV mount Aaton XTR's available, in which case...

John Babl

From Bob Morein :

>1.Can someone provide a precise estimate of the cost premium?
>2. Can a BL III or IV be converted, and if so, at what cost?
>3. Do any labs in NYC handle it?

The 35BL series of cameras can be converted to 2 perf. We charge $AUD 7,500

Bruce McNaughton

>I seem to remember reading about aspherical lenses designed with >only a 1.5x squeeze. These may be more helpful in martin's situation.

Unless I'm missing something, you are planning to end up with 35mm prints, and presumably the intention of projecting these. If you put a 1.5 ratio squeeze into your 16mm image, you will either need to re-squeeze it during the blow-up (by 1.33:1 to bring the eventual ratio to 2:1) or you will have an completely non-standard 35mm print, requiring a 1.5:1 anamorphic on the projector.

Both avenues seem very unlikely to be successful.

Of course if you are going via a DI to 35mm then you can adjust the squeeze there, digitally: but I can't see the point of imposing this on yourself if that's the only reason.

Dominic Case
Atlab Australia

Those 1.5X Techniramas at Clairmont are mine.

Seriously - they are a very interesting set of lenses, but I'm not sure I would shoot a whole show on them:-) Some coating issues etc and since they were set up to cover 8-35, there are no lenses in the set wide enough to cover the wide end of what you would want in order to shoot a dramatic show

Way cool for a period look, maybe.

Not currently set up for pl mount.

Anyone interested in trying to shoot with them, let me know.

Mark H. Weingartner
LA based

I was surprised at first by the statement that anamorphic regular 16 had the same image area as cropped Super 16. Apparently if you crop S16 down to 2.4:1 as opposed to using nearly the entire R16 negative things might be close.

However, keep in mind that part of the reason 35mm anamorphic looks like it does is that is uses a larger negative area than any other 35mm format that can be projected.

The big negative reduces grain and increases contrast, making up for the reduced sharpness and major aberrations of most anamorphic lenses. The best scope lenses I've seen are Panavision Primo Ana. Most of what I've seen in older scope lenses for rental on ARRI cameras have not been very good. I remember projecting a Todd-AO 35mm T1.4 anamorphic. I'd never seen such distortion before or since. You had to stop it down to T5.6 just to get it to the point it was DECENT. Most of the other old scope lenses you have to go to T8 for good results.

This would negate the shallow depth of field that helps S16 look like 35mm on smaller screens and TV. And the aberrations will still be there, just reduced in magnitude.

I remember seeing a page on Aaton's website about using a 1.5x anamorphic front adapter from ISCO. However, I don't think that approach is very practical. With an anamorphic front, you have to adjust the focus separately for the prime lens and the anamorphic element. To make things worse, as you focus the prime lens, the front entrance pupil moves relative to the anamorphic. You'd just about drive yourself crazy trying to focus that system.

I think the only practical way to do this would be a 1.33x rear of zoom prismatic anamorphic adapter on the back of a high performance Super 16 zoom lens. The fixed relationship at the rear element would eliminate the focus problem. You'd probably loose about 1/2 T Stop.

S16 with very slight crop to 1.77 x 1.33 anamorphosis = 2.35:1 Viola!

I still don't think the cost of developing that adapter, with high quality prismatic optics (better than cylindrical), would pay off. How many people would purchase or rent that setup? It would have to be custom set-up for each particular zoom. Focal lengths would increase by 1.33 x. T stop scales would have to be individually re-calibrated either with a temporary sticker or very costly re-engraving.

But once it's made it will work fine and the 1.33 squeeze is easy to do in post.

I can't help it. I love this crazy stuff. But nobody (client side) ever is ever interested enough to push an idea like this through development and prototyping and into practice. Let me know if I'm wrong about that.

Jorge Diaz-Amador
Designer / Technician
CinemaTechnic, Inc.
Miami, FL USA

Interesting ... that's a relatively inexpensive cost for the 2-perf conversion. Of course once converted I assume that the camera is 2-perf and that's it. Or would it be possible to swap out the movement and some gears to revert it back to 4-perf?

Just curious.

As far as labs, any processing lab could develop the film as it wouldn't matter to them. I can't imagine that anyone opting for 2-perf would be interested in film dallies, but as long as you don't mind watching two images at once (one over top of the other) and running at double speed then film dallies would project on any regular projector. For video dailies you'd likely need a Spirit transfer. As far as making a 4-perf anamorphic print you could go to Metropolis., Cineric or probably DuArt. Or you could have a DI made at any number of places.

It would be interesting to compute the cost differential. 16mm runs 36'/minute and costs around $25/minute to buy raw stock, develop and basic transfer. 2-perf would run 45'/minute and cost around $40/minute, plus the video transfer would likely include some special setup fee. The negative cut (if you did one) would likely be more expensive per cut since they'd have to deal with the non-standard format computations, and a special racking fee for the optical blow-up as well. For a small feature shooting 14-18 hours of footage for a 100 minute movie my guess would be something like US$20,000 additional cost, which is pretty cheap for such a great increase in negative area. Interesting.

Mitch Gross


Please feel free to check my math. Remember, one needs to crop BOTH frames to achieve 2.40: Super-16 on the top/bottom and anamorphic 16 on the sides.

The result is the exact same negative area used.

BTW, love your website. Very informative. Ever make those modified 2C
medical cameras?

Mitch Gross


I was not doubting your math, it's just one of those things that strike you as odd until you check the facts.

I'll use 11.95 as the width for S16 because it matches HDTV transmitted area. For R16 I'll use the TV transmitted height of 7.00mm.

S16 @ 2.40:1 matted aspect ratio = 4.98 x 11.95 mm = 59.51mm2

R16 @ 1.20:1 x 2:1 anamorphic = 7.00 x 8.40 mm = 58.80mm2

Now, since I like to skew things in favour of Super 16, (bigger negative = less grain, higher resolution, less D.O.F.) lets take a look at the situation using the full 1.78:1 negative area in S16 and then doing a 1.33x squeeze:

S16 @ 2.40 AR W/ 1.33x anamorphic = 6.72 x 11.95 mm = 80.30mm2

As expected, a 33% increase. Also 67% LESS distortion from the anamorphic element, but only 33% decrease in depth of field.

Thanks for the comments on the website.

Re the 35IIC Medical Cameras, I've worked out most of the design issues but not made any prototypes yet. I had to put most of my time into Super 16 conversions because they are in such high demand now.

I have solved the viewfinder problem. I'll be using the optics from the 35-3 pivoting door. The biggest problem has been getting someone to supply the electronics for the motor drive. I need something reliable. I want to build the motor into the side cover, and have the electronics is a compact base below.

I hope I can finish this project before everyone has a 235!

Jorge Diaz-Amador
Designer / Technician
CinemaTechnic, Inc.
Miami, FL USA

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