Nikon V1 and anamorphic lenses
6 months ago
i got the same silly idea that i wanted to become the next Scorsese a couple of months ago so i started playing around with the V1's video mode,... and as nice as it was, it just didnt "look" cool,... it looked like video.
then i stumbled onto anamorphic lenses.
anamorphic lenses were used back in the day to squeeze a wider than normal image onto 35mm film. the old farts amongst us might recall seeing "in Cinemascope" at the movies. anamorphics are how you got cinemascope.
what it is, is a lens with a curved element that squeezes the image onto the same 35mm bit of film. then when played back, the anamorphic is rotated 90 degrees to unsqueeze the image. what you get is a widening of the field of view of your lens from the new aspect ratio.
you get the same effect when cropping.
the difference is though,... the glass plays with the light before it hits the sensor, making it softer, and somehow, once unsqueezed the scene is very cinematic.
great for making videos look "better", but i'm really loving it for stills as well.
sharpness nazi's might want to look away.
this is what it looks like coming out of the camera, which is already more cinematic than a regular capture:
and this is what it looks like unsqueezed with a bit of colour correction:
its a bit of a pain in the ass as most cheaper anamorphics were designed as add ons for projectors. this means that for video or photography you need to dual focus,... focus one lens then focus the anamorphic. there are some really pricey ones here you dont have to do that.
other than the look, why bother i hear you ask?
with a crop, you're, well,.. cropping, meaning you lose resolution. this way though, you dont. which makes post work look very nice.
and it just looks gorgeous, despite my weak ass skills.
it works really well with video as well to get rid of that "video" look.
I'm hardly an anamorphic expert so I'll just refer those interested to google anamorphic lens, and look for the numerous examples posted on vimeo and youtube. the eoshd dslr film website is perhaps the best source of info and where i've been lurking the most, as is dvxforums and cinem5d.
i normally shoot film,... and the v1 was something i got to quickly digitize my negatives for the web. but since i've stuck an anamorphic in front of it i've been shooting the v1 more and more as the images that come out appear less digital after passing through the anamorphic and the legacy lens.
the advantage that the v1 has over larger sensored cameras is that we can also use tiny x1.5 stretch factor anamorphics designed for 8mm and 16mm cameras. they're still reasonably priced and gives us a more normal looking aspect ratio whereas our well endowed sensor toting brethren have to shell out $500 for a x2 stretch anamorphic which, while cool, is a bit much of a stretch.
i plan to shoot a couple of short movies a little later, so if there's any interest in seeing those i'll put them up here as well.