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post #1 of 56 Old 03-23-2013, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally published on my site Andrew-Robinson-Online.com

Last week and the week prior I wrote a couple of posts dealing with the topic of anamorphic filmmaking and exhibition. Both articles dealt with anamorphic’s inherent cinematic qualities and less about its raw technical aspects. It’s not that I didn’t understand the technical behind what makes an anamorphic image an anamorphic image, I did, and still do, however there was one facet to the story that I failed to address. That facet being today’s (largely) digital dominated culture -both at capture and exhibition. You see anamorphic came about as a result of filmmakers wanting to extract more from the day’s 35mm film format. They wanted scope, scale and breadth but above all they wanted to differentiate the cinematic experience from the dreaded menace known as TV. The way to get essentially “more” image onto a 35mm frame of film was to quite literally “squeeze” it in there. Using special lenses known as anamorphic lenses filmmakers did just that; they squeezed a wider field of view into a standard 35mm frame. This meant they needed to use the same anamorphic glass in order “stretch” the image back out again and for the image to look natural once more. This is anamorphic film in a nutshell. Because of the unique shape of the lenses there were other traits that quickly became associated with anamorphic filmmaking; traits such as horizontal lens flares and oval bokeh.

Again, it all sounds great and magical, but then again we’re living in an increasingly non-analog world.

The way in which digital “destroys” anamorphic filmmaking is due in no small part to its reliance upon pixels. I’ve covered this topic in previous posts too and here comes yet another example of how it (digital) makes a once analog cinema experience obsolete. While I’ll be predominately focusing the conversation on HD capture and exhibition the same “rules” will hold true when applied to 4K or UltraHD. The best HD has to offer at present is what is known as 1080p or 1,920 pixels horizontally by 1,080 pixels vertically for a total of over 2 million pixels. 1080p can be enjoyed everywhere HD is sold from streaming to Blu-ray. Where HD kills the format known as anamorphic is in its set resolution. Allow me to explain. Because there is no such thing as an anamorphic mode when it comes to digital, for instance Blu-ray, it means the remaining space not occupied by the captured image -i.e. the black bars top and bottom -are still rendered using pixels. Advocates for anamorphic-anything will tell you this is precisely why filming and/or projecting through an anamorphic lens is vital, for doing so will render the black bars non-existent. In theory this sounds true, however in reality it is not.

For example, the film “2012″ was captured and is presented in an anamorphic format known as 2.35:1. When viewed on Blu-ray and on a 16:9 HDTV one is treated to black bars top and bottom. This is normal. This also means that of Blu-ray’s 1,080 vertical pixels only about 800 of them are being used for the image, the rest are relegated to being black bars -hardly exciting work.

Now, with front projectors you can add an anamorphic lens attachment and set the projector’s internal video processor to an appropriate aspect ratio mode most commonly referred to as “Anamorphic” or in some cases “Letterbox”. This effectively recreates the “effect” of an anamorphically captured image upon a frame of 35mm film by squeezing “more” into the frame. However, in the digital realm it isn’t “squeezing” anything, but rather “stretching” it so that the 800 or so pixels that were used in the original image now occupy the 1,080 available on the sensor itself. The problem with this is that you now don’t suddenly have 1,080 vertical pixels for your image, you merely have 800 stretched to appear like 1,080 pixels. This is bad. Real bad.

For not only are you altering the image, you’re effectively destroying 1-t0-1 pixel mapping while potentially introducing or making worse digital anomalies such as “jaggies”. These items destroy an image’s natural clarity and sharpness while simultaneously re-applying an optical manipulation that has already been applied at the mastering stage. How else do you explain the black bars on your Blu-ray disc? Now that we’ve simulated the effect of a natively captured anamorphic image upon 35mm film by digitally stretching the image across the entire HD sensor, we must now use an anamorphic lens to then stretch it back out again so that it looks normal once more. These are two added steps that didn’t need to exist. Moreover we’re back where we started for the presence of an anamorphic lens doesn’t equal more horizontal pixels, we simply have re-arrived at our original 1,920. This is what I mean when I suggest that digital filmmaking and exhibition has rendered the concept of anamorphic somewhat moot.

But what about that wider field of view? That’s easy to solve too. Have your director of photography use a wider angle lens or take several steps back. Now, there is no denying that the 2.35:1 aspect ratio has a “cinematic” feel to it and that some of the intangibles associated with anamorphic filmmaking are worth preserving. But, as I’ve shown and described above, you’re as well off, if not better off, filming in 16:9 via today’s modern digital cameras etc. and simply cropping the image in order to achieve that desirable 2.35:1 aspect ratio as you are filming natively in it. The results will be the same because of our dependence upon pixels. More over you won’t have to suffer some of anamorphic’s “quirks” when filming, not to mention its associated costs. And as for the visual traits such as horizontal flares and oval bokeh? Well, as dead set as I was last week against them, they’re easy to cheat and when combined with cropping, make for one hell of an anamorphic looking image. Hell, almost as soon as anamorphic became a thing with 35mm film, Hollywood looked to cheat it by developing Techniscope.. Ironically, many of the films anamorphic fans tout as shining examples of the format were either partially captured in or entirely captured in Techniscope, meaning they’re not anamorphic at all. Films such as “Titanic”, “Panic Room”, “The Fighter” and even the recent hit “Silver Linings Playbook” have all be at least partially, if not entirely, filmed using the Techniscope format rather than true anamorphic. But again, once converted to digital, none of it really matters. That’s pixels for ya, ain’t they a bitch?

I have images and such that accompany this article above on my site but for whatever reason AVS doesn't a) let me link to them and b) won't let me put them on here anyway as they are too big. You can go to my site (URL above or in my signature) to see the images if you wish. Thank you.

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post #2 of 56 Old 03-23-2013, 06:03 PM
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I think you need to differentiate between the mode of capture and format for distribution.

Anamorphic photography was extremely popular as recently as the 90's. Techniscope or Super 35 as it became know as then took over but some such as Chris Nolan still prefer to film anamorphically as there is always increased resolution over Super35 where cropping means you loose about half of the negative area.

Most digital capture uses a "square"optic( or whatever the technical name is) and there is talk of still using an anamorphic on top of this as in as 35mm camera.That would save loosing some resolution when cropping which happens now.

However I suspect eventually the digital "optic" will replicate the wider Scope shape without the need of an anamorphic lens.

Even if not, the Scope shape is well established for distribution and will continue surely into the future.

For me anamorphic photography was surpassed in 1955 with the development of 65/70mm and I always thought that that was the standard digital photopragphy should aim for.
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post #3 of 56 Old 03-23-2013, 09:36 PM
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There is no such thing as "1-to-1 pixel mapping", at least not so far as from camera to home display. I think it's incredibly short sited to base your filming methods/techniques based on the limitations of today's home distribution medium. If film makers were to follow your advice they'd film with 1080p cameras and we'd be stuffed in the future. 2K really isn't enough for the cinema, and for those of us that sit close it's arguably not enough for home.

Just look at Star Wars. The original trilogy was shot anamorphic on film, which means it's (theoretically at least, it looks like the remaster was only 1080p) able to be scanned and remaster at 4k or higher, while the prequel trilogy was shot digitally, so it will never be better than 2k (2048x1080). Thankfully it was shot anamorphically so at least there's hope for a 4k transfer with the "full" 1080 lines of resolution. If Lucas had followed your advice we'd be stuck with Star Wars being only barely better than 720p forever.
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Now, with front projectors you can add an anamorphic lens attachment and set the projector’s internal video processor to an appropriate aspect ratio mode most commonly referred to as “Anamorphic” or in some cases “Letterbox”. This effectively recreates the “effect” of an anamorphically captured image upon a frame of 35mm film by squeezing “more” into the frame.

It's not recreating anything to do with an effect of anamorphic capture, it changes the shape of the projected image from 16:9 to 2.37:1, nothing more, nothing less.
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However, in the digital realm it isn’t “squeezing” anything, but rather “stretching” it so that the 800 or so pixels that were used in the original image now occupy the 1,080 available on the sensor itself. The problem with this is that you now don’t suddenly have 1,080 vertical pixels for your image, you merely have 800 stretched to appear like 1,080 pixels. This is bad. Real bad.

No it's not. Have you ever actually tried it? Filling a given area with 2 megapixels and scaling is better than filling the same are with only 1.5 megapixels.
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For not only are you altering the image, you’re effectively destroying 1-t0-1 pixel mapping...

1:1 pixel mapping is IMO one of the biggest myths/misunderstandings in HT. It all sound great but scaling isn't bad especially with sampled content (anything shot with a camera, as opposed to generated pixel by pixel with a computer)
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..while potentially introducing or making worse digital anomalies such as “jaggies”. These items destroy an image’s natural clarity and sharpness while simultaneously re-applying an optical manipulation that has already been applied at the mastering stage.

You obviously haven't actually used a projection system with an anamorphic lens. They don't make jaggies, they don't destroy clarity, they don't destroy sharpness. And I don't know what you mean by applying "an optical magification that [was] already applied at the mastering stage." The shape/geometry of anything projected through an anamorphic lens is exactly the same as without (within a couple percent).
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How else do you explain the black bars on your Blu-ray disc? Now that we’ve simulated the effect of a natively captured anamorphic image upon 35mm film by digitally stretching the image across the entire HD sensor, we must now use an anamorphic lens to then stretch it back out again so that it looks normal once more. These are two added steps that didn’t need to exist. Moreover we’re back where we started for the presence of an anamorphic lens doesn’t equal more horizontal pixels, we simply have re-arrived at our original 1,920.

Sorry but I really have no idea what you're talking about, using an anamorphic lens on the projection side has absolutely nothing to do with recreating anything from the filming process, an projector's anamorphic lens has one purpose and one purpose only, to change the projected area from 16:9 to 2.37:1 to make use of all the projector's light and pixels.
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This is what I mean when I suggest that digital filmmaking and exhibition has rendered the concept of anamorphic somewhat moot.

Like I said above it's incredibly short sighted to arbitrarily limit yourself on the capture/production side of things to what consumer displays are limited to at any given time. You should always capture at the highest resolution possible. Motion pictures are around for decades. I think it's very unfortunate Star Wars (and a lot of other movies) were shot at 2K, rather than on film which has a much higher practical resolution, because now their quality is fixed at a level which will seem "low" as 4k and higher resolution displays propagate throughout the cinema and home. It's always better to have more resolution than less.

You also seem to be forgetting that commercial cinemas use anamorphic projection to get a full 1080 horizontal lines out of their 2k projectors, and many are moving to 4k projection. If film makers did what you suggest we'd be stuck with 1920x810 images in these 2048x1080 and 4096x2160 cinemas, which just seems silly.

Supposedly we can see about 50 line pairs per degree, or about 0.6 arc minutes per pixel, if you figure the roughly 45 degree field of view recommended by FOX/SMPTE, that's right about 4k for a "retina" cinema display, 4500x1880 or so. Anamorphic 4k projection would be pretty close (3840x2160). Notice this is quite a bit higher (~8.5Megapixels) than anamorphic 1080p (1920x1080, ~2.1 Megapixels), and far higher than "flat" 1080p (1920x810, ~1.5 Megapixels). You'll note that non-anamorphic 4k capture/display (4096x1720) actually falls a bit below the criteria for "retina" display.

I'm sure we'll get to a point where capture resolution is high enough that there are no technical advantages to anamorphic capture, Maybe with 8k cameras 8192x4320/16Megapixels or whatever. But until we get past 4k capture, there's still future benefit for that captured resolution.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do,
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post #4 of 56 Old 03-24-2013, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by john hunter View Post

I think you need to differentiate between the mode of capture and format for distribution.

Anamorphic photography was extremely popular as recently as the 90's. Techniscope or Super 35 as it became know as then took over but some such as Chris Nolan still prefer to film anamorphically as there is always increased resolution over Super35 where cropping means you loose about half of the negative area.

Most digital capture uses a "square"optic( or whatever the technical name is) and there is talk of still using an anamorphic on top of this as in as 35mm camera.That would save loosing some resolution when cropping which happens now.

However I suspect eventually the digital "optic" will replicate the wider Scope shape without the need of an anamorphic lens.

Even if not, the Scope shape is well established for distribution and will continue surely into the future.

For me anamorphic photography was surpassed in 1955 with the development of 65/70mm and I always thought that that was the standard digital photopragphy should aim for.

First, thank you for reading and for commenting.

--While it can be argued that 35mm does have a "resolution" its resolution is determined by the quality of its digital scan and not by the initial capture. This is how or why film can be HD, 4K, 8K etc.

--I never said nor wished for the demise of the aspect ratio known as Scope or 2.35:1 / 2.40:1. While you may not need an anamorphic lens to capture and/or exhibit anamorphic content the "look" of its format -this includes oval bokeh and horizontal flares -will arguably always be with us, but more than likely arrived at via other means than cylindrical glass, means such as special filters etc used on flat lenses.

Thanks again for reading!

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post #5 of 56 Old 03-24-2013, 09:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

There is no such thing as "1-to-1 pixel mapping", at least not so far as from camera to home display. I think it's incredibly short sited to base your filming methods/techniques based on the limitations of today's home distribution medium. If film makers were to follow your advice they'd film with 1080p cameras and we'd be stuffed in the future. 2K really isn't enough for the cinema, and for those of us that sit close it's arguably not enough for home.

--I merely asked the question whether or not anamorphic via the use of special lenses either at capture or exhibition was necessary anymore now that so much of the cinema landscape is digital. Anamorphic was devised to expand the prowess of 35mm film by "squeezing" a wider field of view onto a standard frame. This is all well and good, however, once that frame is scanned into bits of data -aka it becomes pixels on a screen -the "need" for anamorphic lenses is pretty much moot -for pixels are finite. It has nothing to do with me advocating for today's film technologies or tomorrows, if you film digitally in HD/2K today than that is ALL your film will ever be. If you can afford 4K or higher than great, but again that is ALL your film will ever be.

--As for your argument that 2K isn't enough I beg to differ and so does Hollywood. I've shot movies in 4K, real 4K too, not this QFHD nonsense and our theatrical master was a 2K file. A lot of natively shot 4K material is exhibited, even at the theatrical level, in 2K -not 4K. Will there be or is there true 4K exhibition, sure, I'm not suggesting there isn't, but the workflow, costs etc are sometimes very prohibitive hence why things are still done at 2K. As technology progresses will things get faster/cheaper? Yes, unquestionably, and will these originally shot 4K films see their 4K dreams come true? Sure. But I argue people like yourself will then criticize that 4K isn't enough and that they should've shot in 8K etc.
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Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

Just look at Star Wars. The original trilogy was shot anamorphic on film, which means it's (theoretically at least, it looks like the remaster was only 1080p) able to be scanned and remaster at 4k or higher, while the prequel trilogy was shot digitally, so it will never be better than 2k (2048x1080). Thankfully it was shot anamorphically so at least there's hope for a 4k transfer with the "full" 1080 lines of resolution. If Lucas had followed your advice we'd be stuck with Star Wars being only barely better than 720p forever.

--Analog or optical film can be scanned at virtually any resolution which is why and how it will (always) remain somewhat superior to digital. As for Lucas' decision to shoot Star Wars at 2K resolutions digitally that was his choice and not yours to make. Moreover that was the only option available to him at the time. I'm sure had 4K existed, or been ready for primetime, he would've used that but it wasn't so he went with what he had.

If he filmed it using a 1080p 16:9 sensor (which he did) than yes what he's "stuck with" is good ol' 1920x1080, anamorphic or not. With digital if you put an anamorphic lens to an anamorphically captured image you don't magically get more pixels -you just optically stretch and enlarge the ones you have. That's what I mean when I say is anamorphic, when talking about digital capture and/or exhibition, relevant? A digital sensor doesn't distinguish between an optical "cheat" and not, it merely turns what it sees into bits of data. So if Lucas acquired a wider more cinematic field of view by using anamorphic glass to squeeze more of an image onto the 16:9 sensor of his camera, that's great, but it also means that in post or in the future when the image has to be "pulled back out" again for editing and such, there isn't more than 1920 horizontal pixels. That's all his sensor had to give. Converted to 4K will do nothing more than upscaling, which we see today with non-anamorphic films.
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Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

It's not recreating anything to do with an effect of anamorphic capture, it changes the shape of the projected image from 16:9 to 2.37:1, nothing more, nothing less.
No it's not. Have you ever actually tried it? Filling a given area with 2 megapixels and scaling is better than filling the same are with only 1.5 megapixels.
1:1 pixel mapping is IMO one of the biggest myths/misunderstandings in HT. It all sound great but scaling isn't bad especially with sampled content (anything shot with a camera, as opposed to generated pixel by pixel with a computer)

--I have tried it and in my tests there is no visible difference in quality between using an anamorphic lens and simply zooming out so that the bars top and bottom are over scanned. Moreover, 1 to 1 pixel mapping is vital for a digital image's natural clarity and sharpness to come through. You can't say it's a myth as it pertains to anamorphic but rally against it when it comes to say keystoning. (I'm assuming you're anti-keystone). Scaling isn't bad, I didn't (really) say that it was, but rather that it's not a magical cure all a lot of enthusiasts and even manufacturers believe. For example, the Sony 4K projector, because of its native 4K sensor it automatically upreses everything to 4K. However the incoming signal is still HD. Can it look better? Sure. It can also look worse. Why? Because you're asking something to interpret what it sees versus simply pass it on through to the viewer.

I still maintain that even with anamorphic content via a digital projector's anamorphic setting then passed through an anamorphic lens doesn't give you more vertical pixels, it merely stretches the ones you have (roughly 800) over the sensor's entire image area. For again, once you film or scan something into the digital realm the number of pixels with which you've chosen is the number you're forever "stuck" with. Lastly, it's clear you have a vested interest in not agreeing with me, and that is fine, I'm not trying to kill anamorphic film making and/or companies that support it. I was just stating some of my findings after doing extensive anamorphic testing. For I was contemplating filming my next film using anamorphic glass.

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Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

Like I said above it's incredibly short sighted to arbitrarily limit yourself on the capture/production side of things to what consumer displays are limited to at any given time. You should always capture at the highest resolution possible. Motion pictures are around for decades. I think it's very unfortunate Star Wars (and a lot of other movies) were shot at 2K, rather than on film which has a much higher practical resolution, because now their quality is fixed at a level which will seem "low" as 4k and higher resolution displays propagate throughout the cinema and home. It's always better to have more resolution than less.

You also seem to be forgetting that commercial cinemas use anamorphic projection to get a full 1080 horizontal lines out of their 2k projectors, and many are moving to 4k projection. If film makers did what you suggest we'd be stuck with 1920x810 images in these 2048x1080 and 4096x2160 cinemas, which just seems silly.

Supposedly we can see about 50 line pairs per degree, or about 0.6 arc minutes per pixel, if you figure the roughly 45 degree field of view recommended by FOX/SMPTE, that's right about 4k for a "retina" cinema display, 4500x1880 or so. Anamorphic 4k projection would be pretty close (3840x2160). Notice this is quite a bit higher (~8.5Megapixels) than anamorphic 1080p (1920x1080, ~2.1 Megapixels), and far higher than "flat" 1080p (1920x810, ~1.5 Megapixels). You'll note that non-anamorphic 4k capture/display (4096x1720) actually falls a bit below the criteria for "retina" display.

I'm sure we'll get to a point where capture resolution is high enough that there are no technical advantages to anamorphic capture, Maybe with 8k cameras 8192x4320/16Megapixels or whatever. But until we get past 4k capture, there's still future benefit for that captured resolution.

Until you've had to stare down the barrel of a film budget, production workflow, deadline etc. your cries for filming in the best possible resolution or format possible are akin to you rubbing a lamp and saying "I wish..." I maintain, that had Lucas had OTHER tools, digital tools, available to him at the time he would've used 'em. He made a statement by NOT shooting film and the statement was -at the time -more important than whether or not you and others would feel "cheated" 10 years later. You can kick and scream for things to be perfect but I'm sorry they're not. Things like money, time and sheer computing power get in the way. If you want to be "future proof" shoot film, but since that has its own problems, not to mention costs, digital isn't going anywhere.

As a filmmaker who deals with other filmmakers as well as home theater enthusiasts like yourself it's frustrating sometimes because many enthusiasts think they know what is involved because they understand the concept of pixels, resolution etc. Understanding the concepts and putting them into being are two vastly different things. Data is a cumbersome bitch and until you've had to lug around Mac Pro's on your back or been forced to sift through over 200 digital tapes for your footage you have no idea (or arguable right) to tell anyone, filmmaker or otherwise, what they should and shouldn't do. Moreover, no one, even Lucas, is waking up and saying to themselves, you know what, I think I'm going to make a sub par product today it doesn't happen. We all go to war with the weapons and soldiers we have, well aware that next year or five years from now there will be something better.

If you live 100-percent for the future you won't get anything done today.


I thank you for reading and for voicing your opinion(s). Take care.

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post #6 of 56 Old 03-24-2013, 06:34 PM
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--While it can be argued that 35mm does have a "resolution" its resolution is determined by the quality of its digital scan and not by the initial capture. This is how or why film can be HD, 4K, 8K etc.

I would say that you have that somewhat backwards. The quality on film is absolutely determined by the initial capture, the maximum quality is set upon capture, for example if the lens is poor or focus is incorrect then the sharpness will be impaired forever. Now whether that quality is fully captured in the digital scan depends on the resolution that scan is made at.
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--I merely asked the question whether or not anamorphic via the use of special lenses either at capture or exhibition was necessary anymore now that so much of the cinema landscape is digital. Anamorphic was devised to expand the prowess of 35mm film by "squeezing" a wider field of view onto a standard frame. This is all well and good, however, once that frame is scanned into bits of data -aka it becomes pixels on a screen -the "need" for anamorphic lenses is pretty much moot -for pixels are finite. It has nothing to do with me advocating for today's film technologies or tomorrows, if you film digitally in HD/2K today than that is ALL your film will ever be. If you can afford 4K or higher than great, but again that is ALL your film will ever be.

Whether your image is stored on in digital pixels of "analog" film grains is largely irrelevant, but you've got the right idea, once the capture takes place the quality is fixed and cannot be increased. This is true whether using film or digital, and all the more reason it's valuable to use whatever techniques are available to maximize the captured resolution.
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--As for your argument that 2K isn't enough I beg to differ and so does Hollywood. I've shot movies in 4K, real 4K too, not this QFHD nonsense and our theatrical master was a 2K file. A lot of natively shot 4K material is exhibited, even at the theatrical level, in 2K -not 4K. Will there be or is there true 4K exhibition, sure, I'm not suggesting there isn't, but the workflow, costs etc are sometimes very prohibitive hence why things are still done at 2K. As technology progresses will things get faster/cheaper? Yes, unquestionably, and will these originally shot 4K films see their 4K dreams come true? Sure. But I argue people like yourself will then criticize that 4K isn't enough and that they should've shot in 8K etc.

Just because Hollywood is not using 4K (for financial reasons) does not mean it's "sufficient".
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--Analog or optical film can be scanned at virtually any resolution which is why and how it will (always) remain somewhat superior to digital.

Sure, but it has a finite "resolution", there are only so many grains on a frame to contain information. Yes you can scan it at whatever resolution you want but there's a point at which no more information can be retrieved. Likewise there's a point at which a digital sensor can surpass a film frame, though I don't think we're to that point yet, at least not for video.
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As for Lucas' decision to shoot Star Wars at 2K resolutions digitally that was his choice and not yours to make. Moreover that was the only option available to him at the time. I'm sure had 4K existed, or been ready for primetime, he would've used that but it wasn't so he went with what he had.

I don't disagree it was his choice, but there were other options, he could have shot it on film, which could have captured more detail than 2k digital.
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If he filmed it using a 1080p 16:9 sensor (which he did) than yes what he's "stuck with" is good ol' 1920x1080, anamorphic or not. With digital if you put an anamorphic lens to an anamorphically captured image you don't magically get more pixels -you just optically stretch and enlarge the ones you have. That's what I mean when I say is anamorphic, when talking about digital capture and/or exhibition, relevant? A digital sensor doesn't distinguish between an optical "cheat" and not, it merely turns what it sees into bits of data. So if Lucas acquired a wider more cinematic field of view by using anamorphic glass to squeeze more of an image onto the 16:9 sensor of his camera, that's great, but it also means that in post or in the future when the image has to be "pulled back out" again for editing and such, there isn't more than 1920 horizontal pixels. That's all his sensor had to give. Converted to 4K will do nothing more than upscaling, which we see today with non-anamorphic films.

What you say is no different between film and digital. WIth anamorphic you can capture more detail than capturing "letterbox". What you're missing is had Lucas (to continue this example) chosen not to use anamorphic lenses for Star Wars it would forever be 2048x848 or so pixels, or about 1.75Megapixels. instead of the 2048x1080 (2.2Megapixels) that it is. By capturing anamorphic you capture about 33% more detail for a scope composition than you would if you just cropped it.
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--I have tried it and in my tests there is no visible difference in quality between using an anamorphic lens and simply zooming out so that the bars top and bottom are over scanned. Moreover, 1 to 1 pixel mapping is vital for a digital image's natural clarity and sharpness to come through. You can't say it's a myth as it pertains to anamorphic but rally against it when it comes to say keystoning. (I'm assuming you're anti-keystone). Scaling isn't bad, I didn't (really) say that it was, but rather that it's not a magical cure all a lot of enthusiasts and even manufacturers believe. For example, the Sony 4K projector, because of its native 4K sensor it automatically upreses everything to 4K. However the incoming signal is still HD. Can it look better? Sure. It can also look worse. Why? Because you're asking something to interpret what it sees versus simply pass it on through to the viewer.

It's 1-to-1 mapping were truly "vital" then you'd be able to see a difference between zooming and using a lens+scaling. And scaling isn't "interpretive" it's math, pure and simple.
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I still maintain that even with anamorphic content via a digital projector's anamorphic setting then passed through an anamorphic lens doesn't give you more vertical pixels, it merely stretches the ones you have (roughly 800) over the sensor's entire image area. For again, once you film or scan something into the digital realm the number of pixels with which you've chosen is the number you're forever "stuck" with. Lastly, it's clear you have a vested interest in not agreeing with me, and that is fine, I'm not trying to kill anamorphic film making and/or companies that support it. I was just stating some of my findings after doing extensive anamorphic testing. For I was contemplating filming my next film using anamorphic glass.

I have no vested interest, I just don't agree with you, it's as simple as that. It's true scaling for using a lens doesn't "create" more resolution, but using more pixels for display can result in a smoother image and can make the detail that is there easier to see (less obscured by pixel edge noise). And remember (regarding being stuck with what you're chosen) Blu-ray isn't the be all-end all of image reproduction, it's just the current pinnacle of home reproduction. It's lesser than what DCinema does (even at 2K) so I would suggest basing your production decisions on that is short sighted. There was already significant talk of 4K for the home at CES this year.
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Until you've had to stare down the barrel of a film budget, production workflow, deadline etc. your cries for filming in the best possible resolution or format possible are akin to you rubbing a lamp and saying "I wish..." I maintain, that had Lucas had OTHER tools, digital tools, available to him at the time he would've used 'em. He made a statement by NOT shooting film and the statement was -at the time -more important than whether or not you and others would feel "cheated" 10 years later. You can kick and scream for things to be perfect but I'm sorry they're not. Things like money, time and sheer computing power get in the way. If you want to be "future proof" shoot film, but since that has its own problems, not to mention costs, digital isn't going anywhere.

As a filmmaker who deals with other filmmakers as well as home theater enthusiasts like yourself it's frustrating sometimes because many enthusiasts think they know what is involved because they understand the concept of pixels, resolution etc. Understanding the concepts and putting them into being are two vastly different things. Data is a cumbersome bitch and until you've had to lug around Mac Pro's on your back or been forced to sift through over 200 digital tapes for your footage you have no idea (or arguable right) to tell anyone, filmmaker or otherwise, what they should and shouldn't do. Moreover, no one, even Lucas, is waking up and saying to themselves, you know what, I think I'm going to make a sub par product today it doesn't happen. We all go to war with the weapons and soldiers we have, well aware that next year or five years from now there will be something better.

If you live 100-percent for the future you won't get anything done today.

Well obviously budget factors into it, and obviously you have to choose your tools and processes based on that, but I thought this was a theoretical discussion. You asked if anamorphic was relevant, I say until we get to the point where we have an excess of capture and display resolution (arguably somewhere past 4k) then anamorphic is relevant for making the most of our limited capture and display devices.

I just want the best quality I can get.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do,
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post #7 of 56 Old 03-27-2013, 04:25 AM
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Just my $0.02 worth. I did a small experiment where I shot some video on a 1080P HD camera shooting through the (at the time) Aussiemorphic Lens MK4. As far as the image sensor goes, it made no difference if the light coming in was normal or optically manipulated. It still filled the sensor. The difference was I was able to capture 33% wider field of view.

On playback, the footage could be projected through my anamorphic lens using the real or 1:1 pixel mapping mode on the projector. Using a Home Cinema Media player with scaling allowed me vertically compress the image to form a letter box. I could then either watch the image as a letterboxed image or I could use the Letterbox mode and project the image through the A-Lens. The image did not degrade as we are all lead to believe and in fact, I don't think I could really tell if there was a difference. So as stranger said, scaling is not a bad thing.

Last year I was (dragged along) involved in a commercial shoot for Sea World. To my suprise, they shot this add in 4K using a RED camera. The guys operating the camera said in its native form, it is 5K but they will use 4K for 16:9 production and they only use the full 5K when shooting Scope. This meant the image was window boxed.

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post #8 of 56 Old 03-27-2013, 12:21 PM
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-I have tried it and in my tests there is no visible difference in quality between using an anamorphic lens and simply zooming out so that the bars top and bottom are over scanned

OK, did you factor in the fact that if you zoom, you lose a lot more lumens vs using an anamorphic lens? You can go a lot bigger with a lens and still maintain brightness. Also, I have no desire to have to mask the top and bottom of my screen as a result of the black bars that will inevitably be seen above and below it. But, if projectors had a manual mask built into it just in front of the lens where you could open and close it as necessary for zooming, that would be cool.

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post #9 of 56 Old 03-27-2013, 12:59 PM
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It does depend on your zoom position for using the lens: In my setup I have to use minimum zoom with the lens and the image just fits the screen (slight overscan if anything). If I then zoom my projector (JVC X35) to fill my 2.35:1 screen and measure the lux at the screen there is barely any difference in light output. This is due to the aperture effect of the projector lens (the reason min zoom gives max contrast/least light output). So while I personally prefer using an A Lens in my case it doesn't actually gain me any brightness due to the particular range of zoom I travel through in the two scenarios. It does however mean that I get more on/off contrast when using the A Lens for the same reason.

Zooming: Been there, done that, bought the lens...
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post #10 of 56 Old 03-30-2013, 09:16 PM
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This is a forum for people who like to project Constant Image Height movies. As far as I can see there's no requirement for them to be cameramen or otherwise involved in the film industry, or to have lugged Mac Pros around on their back to prove their cojones are bigger than anyone else's.

And there's no need to look back to the theatrically orientated cinematographic origins of anamorphosis to justify today's Home Cinema projection applications, digital or otherwise.

As for the history of anamorphic shooting, it's quaint and very interesting, fascinating in fact, but doesn't have much to do with using an A-lens to project a brighter, clearer image in a Home Cinema.

We can get into all kinds of hard calculations to prove that sitting at X distance from a screen of Y size will or won't have Z effect on perception of clarity and quality.

Me? I just like big, bright images without the hassle of having to change the lens zoom and focus every time I switch between formats.

Human angular resolution as it applies to (relatively) dim images, containing moving content, in my circumstance (3m wide, 4m viewing distance) is way less than the pixel size, so I can't see pixels except on static test patterns, and very few if any moving images have anywhere near full 1920 x 1080 resolution in any case.

So it's down to the final effect on the viewer, not mathematics, trigonometry and anachronistic renditions of why anamorphic lenses were introduced in the first place.
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post #11 of 56 Old 04-02-2013, 11:04 PM
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I wonder what lens and projector Mr. Robinson was using when he tried it?

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post #12 of 56 Old 04-03-2013, 09:39 AM
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Mr. Robinson was in discussions with Panamorph during the time he was on the fence regarding shooting his feature anamorphically, plus he had just wrapped up his review of the CineVista. However, based upon what he wrote above, what projector / lens combo he used is irrelevant to the points he is trying to make. Andrew is talking about theoretical limitations of the anamorphic process as related to digital video, not limitations of a specific lens or projector. As I understand it, his points are:

Andrew asserts that capturing extra vertical resolution by shooting anamorphically does not have value, since the resulting film will need to be letterboxed for delivery to any home theater or commercial cinema format. For example, shooting a film in 2.35:1 and 1080P with an anamorphic lens means that the filmmaker can capture the full 1920 x 1080 resolution that the HD camera is capable of. However, when delivered to Blu-ray (for example), the film must be down-rezed and letterboxed back down to 1920 x 810 in order to comply with the 16:9 container space. All of that extra resolution you captured vertically gets tossed out due to being restricted to 16:9 on the delivery end and the necessity of encoding letterbox bars. However, this ignores the fact that an anamorphically captured HD (1080) film WILL deliver 33% additional vertical resolution when upconverted to 4K (as Stanger89 pointed out in regard to the Star Wars prequels). It also ignores the efforts we are making with Folded Space to get anamorphically encoded films delivered to home and commercial cinema for projection using anamorphic lenses. That would result in the same very real 33% increase in resolution. The same applies to 4K anamorphic upconverted to 8K, etc. He is correct that currently digital formats are not encoded and projected anamorphically here in the US, but it is my understanding from talking to the folks at DCI that certain parts of Europe do project digital anamorphic.

Andrew asserts that using an anamorphic lens and vertical stretch for digital projection does not add any additional picture detail over the original letterboxed image for the same reasons outlined above. It is turning on more pixels but not adding more picture detail. This is true. However, none of us in the anamorphic lens world have ever claimed that it did. We have always claimed greater pixel density, the elimination of the black bars (vs. projecting them onto the wall) and greater picture brightness. As mentioned above, there are efforts to get true anamorphic content delivered via Blu-ray or other HD / UHD digital formats by Folded Space and others. If successful, that would literally mean 33% greater picture detail for anamorphic projection systems and 4K displays that can take advantage of the anamorphic process - picture detail that you would not be able to see if you used the zoom method.

Andrew asserts that the scaling required to get from 810 lines (800 in his article) to 1080 is "bad. Real bad." He also goes on to state "not only are you altering the image, you’re effectively destroying 1-t0-1 pixel mapping while potentially introducing or making worse digital anomalies such as “jaggies”. These items destroy an image’s natural clarity and sharpness while simultaneously re-applying an optical manipulation that has already been applied at the mastering stage." While I am not sure what he means by "re-applying an optical manipulation" at the mastering stage, I will address the other points. First, it is true that you are "destroying" the 1:1 pixel mapping of 1920 x 810 when you apply the vertical stretch, however, you are gaining greater pixel density in the process. Following on, he is claiming that this process can introduce or exacerbate picture anomalies such as jaggies. While this is true in a theoretical sense, the current reality is that just about any decent scaling engine these days does NOT introduce artifacts such as jaggies during the vertical stretch process. Even budget projectors these days are using HQV scaling or the equivalent in order to do the vertical stretch. I personally have not seen a "jaggy" from this process in about 4 or 5 years. If you throw a quality scaler such as the Lumagen at this process, the objection becomes even more irrelevant (as many on the Forum can attest to). Andrew goes on in a later response to compare the vertical stretch process to keystoning, (rightly) pointing out that most of us in the projector industry would strongly warn against using keystone to correct for geometry issues. However, keystoning DOES create some visible picture artifacts such as jaggies because engaging keystoning literally affects every pixel in the image in both the horizontal and vertical AND to varying degrees per pixel! This is why it is not recommended. Vertical stretch scaling is limited to vertical processing only and applies the exact same proportion to each "pixel." To insinuate that keystoning and vertical stretch are somehow equivalent is just factually wrong.

Andrew in a later response challenges the "anamorphic is brighter" argument, saying that "I have tried it and in my tests there is no visible difference in quality between using an anamorphic lens and simply zooming out so that the bars top and bottom are over scanned." I have two problems with this statement. First, if using the extra glass plus the vertical stretch scaling destroys the 1:1 pixel mapping that is "vital for a digital image's natural clarity and sharpness," then how could he say that there is no visible difference in quality when comparing using a lens to zooming? That simply makes no sense. If the stretch scaling truly destroys the image's clarity and sharpness, it should have been obvious that the lens image was inferior to the zoomed. Yet Andrew himself could not see these supposed negative effects. However, the main issue I have here is that using an anamorphic lens does IN FACT create a brighter image than zooming in almost every install configuration. All it takes to confirm this is a simple light measurement taken after applying either method to achieve a 2.35:1 image. In most cases, the brightness increase will be around 20%, with up to 30% improvement possible in some scenarios. This is easily confirmable, AND repeatable. The other way to prove this is to set up two identical projectors side by side with the same throw and settings and zoom one and "lens" the other. Side by side the improvement in brightness (and apparent color saturation, although an illusion due to the brightness increase) is obvious. I challenge anyone to try this. However, I can understand why someone who tries one and then the other in succession may not find the increase in brightness as noticeable, but that is only because of how our brains work. Our memory for comparing relative brightness is extremely poor the longer the time between comparisons. When you consider just how slow the typical zoom process is combined with how long it takes to then set up the lens for comparison, you can see how it renders sequential comparisons meaningless. The long and short of it is that the increase in brightness using a lens is a very real - and measurable - improvement. When you see end users constantly striving for larger and larger screens, you can understand how achieving greater brightness becomes a real benefit. Add 3D to the mix and the argument becomes even more compelling. Of course, Andrew did not address the other downsides to zooming (such as black bars and menus actually projected onto walls, misalignments over time, etc) but he is correct to point out that some of us here have "vested interests" in advocating for one method over the other wink.gif

The last point I want to make in this rather long post is that there is a big difference between theoretical issues with anamorphic (the destruction of 1:1 pixel mapping, for example) and the actual experience of viewing it. To use an example from the audio world, there are those who advocate for 24 bit 192 khz recordings and rail against Redbook CD and lossy mp3 (even at bit rates demonstrated to be transparent to the source). Yet when double blind tests are done comparing 24 / 192 to good old 44.1 / 16, no one is able to reliably hear a difference. The same thing is true of certain high quality "lossy" codecs as compared the original, uncompressed digital file (to be clear, I am not claiming that all lossy music files are transparent to the source, as most are audibly different, I am referring to those codecs and bitrates that have been demonstrated to be audibly transparent to the source under controlled conditions). Especially in the later case, it is absolutely true that a lossy digital file is missing information as compared to the original digital file. Ultimately, though, it comes down to what we can actually hear. It is much the same with digital video. How much of this is actually visible, vs. how much exists on paper? As many here can attest to, an anamorphic lens combined with a high quality scaler can produce excellent picture quality with a pixel density and brightness greater than achievable by using zoom. And yes, I do have a vested interest in this argument, as I consult for Panamorph. However, like Andrew I am also a filmmaker and someone intimately familiar with aspect ratios, how they are achieved, and the artistic intentions behind them. All of that plays into this discussion.

Lastly, I deliberately stayed out of this thread until now because Andrew is something of a friend in that we have had multiple conversations about filmmaking, 4K, and anamorphic lenses. However, this thread continues to get revived and I thought it appropriate to chime in to clarify a few points from my perspective.


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post #13 of 56 Old 04-03-2013, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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John,

I sincerely appreciate you weighing in and so completely. Please do not take my findings as a condemnation of anamorphic (or Panamorph) but rather as an ongoing exploration of the format, for as you and others know, I am a fan of the format.

I was just noting that in our current Blu-ray world there are some "issues" with anamorphic that you addressed very well. While I stand by my findings that it using an anamorphic lens in front of a projector versus simply over scanning the black bars top and bottom -i.e. zooming out -does not result in a "brighter" or necessarily "better" image, it does make for a viewing experience that makes for less light leakage and/or other distractions caused by projecting non-black bars upon a surface other than a screen. It is also more convenient in this regard, especially if the user has an auto-masking screen.

That being said, films that feature variable aspect ratios due pose a problem for fans of anamorphic lens setups, which I've noted with you and others in the past. As for Panamorph's other technologies and/or future UltraHD formats, we'll all have to just wait and see.

I thank you for your thoughtful response and hope that in no way do you view my exploration into anamorphic-anything as a personal attack.

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post #14 of 56 Old 04-03-2013, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Robinson View Post

John,

I sincerely appreciate you weighing in and so completely. Please do not take my findings as a condemnation of anamorphic (or Panamorph) but rather as an ongoing exploration of the format, for as you and others know, I am a fan of the format.

I was just noting that in our current Blu-ray world there are some "issues" with anamorphic that you addressed very well. While I stand by my findings that it using an anamorphic lens in front of a projector versus simply over scanning the black bars top and bottom -i.e. zooming out -does not result in a "brighter" or necessarily "better" image, it does make for a viewing experience that makes for less light leakage and/or other distractions caused by projecting non-black bars upon a surface other than a screen. It is also more convenient in this regard, especially if the user has an auto-masking screen.

That being said, films that feature variable aspect ratios due pose a problem for fans of anamorphic lens setups, which I've noted with you and others in the past. As for Panamorph's other technologies and/or future UltraHD formats, we'll all have to just wait and see.

I thank you for your thoughtful response and hope that in no way do you view my exploration into anamorphic-anything as a personal attack.

Andrew

Hey Andrew -

Thanks for the response. I did not take your comments as a personal attack at all, and I hope you see my post in the same way. As I mentioned, I have enjoyed our conversations and consider you a friend. I like to live in a world where people can disagree even strongly about issues and still be friends, or remain at least friendly smile.gif

Do you have a light meter? If you do, do a quick lens and zoom comparison and let us know what you find.


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post #15 of 56 Old 04-03-2013, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
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All good John.

I do have a light meter, a C6 to be exact. I will re-test with and without a lens and post my exact findings. This is fun!

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post #16 of 56 Old 04-03-2013, 02:44 PM
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I was just noting that in our current Blu-ray world there are some "issues" with anamorphic that you addressed very well.

I think I can summarize my point as this:

Blu-ray is a "transitory" format, it will be around for a relatively few years. Conversely a motion picture (your motion picture) is "forever" (George Lucas notwithstanding wink.gif), I think it's short sighted to look no farther ahead than the current home delivery format when capturing a motion picture.

You can more easily see this if you take a step back 10-15 years, the dominant/only/best delivery format for home was DVD. By the logic of (paraphrasing) "there's only xxx resolution available on format Y, there's no reason to film at higher quality", one would be lead to film their movies at 720x480 letterboxed, that's only 720x360. I think we would all agree that it would have been "misguided" to film a major motion picture letterboxed on the equivalent of a DV camera.
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While I stand by my findings that it using an anamorphic lens in front of a projector versus simply over scanning the black bars top and bottom -i.e. zooming out -does not result in a "brighter" or necessarily "better" image, it does make for a viewing experience that makes for less light leakage and/or other distractions caused by projecting non-black bars upon a surface other than a screen. It is also more convenient in this regard, especially if the user has an auto-masking screen.

It's important to understand/realize that the difference in brightness is dramatically affected by the projector and configuration you use. For example, JVC projectors can gain nearly 25% (maybe even 30%) by zooming "in" for the zoom method. Thus they effectively nullify the benefit of using all the light with a lens (which nets you 30%+ vs the same zoom setting without a lens). So if you used a JVC I'm not surprised you didn't see any difference. But other projectors, like I think the Sony VW95 has much more constant brightness across it's zoom range so you'd see a greater difference there.
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That being said, films that feature variable aspect ratios due pose a problem for fans of anamorphic lens setups, which I've noted with you and others in the past. As for Panamorph's other technologies and/or future UltraHD formats, we'll all have to just wait and see.

4K is coming, the whole industry seems to be behind it. Folded Space, I hope so.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do,
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post #17 of 56 Old 04-04-2013, 09:17 PM
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That being said, films that feature variable aspect ratios due pose a problem for fans of anamorphic lens setups, which I've noted with you and others in the past.

Andrew

That kind of statement always amuses me. As an anamorphic lens user I can assure you that we are the fortunate ones when it comes to variable aspect ratios. The few films that deploy VAR are filmed in such a way so as no vital information is cutoff when displaying as scope. Provided your CIH setup has been done by working your seating distance out by using the height of the screen, you still get the full impact a 16.9 screen user does during the IMAX scenes, the only difference is the 16.9 screen user will lose approx. 33% of their on-screen image when the non IMAX scenes are showing whereas us anamorphic lens users continue to view a full screen image. I've watched the DKR in 16.9 format and counted I think 100+ aspect ratio changes, it's horribly distracting and I actually feel sorry for non anamorphic lens users. Zoom method complete waste of time and even worse than a full 16.9 setup. I read time and again 16.9 users complaining they would rather one AR or the other but not constant changing as TDKR does. With an anamorphic lens I have zero issues and enjoy the entire film in glorious screen filling scope. If anyone is unable to comprehend this then I would suggest they have a complete misunderstanding of anamorphic lenses and CIH setups.

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post #18 of 56 Old 04-05-2013, 09:04 AM
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This analysis is just a wee bit lopsided...
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Provided your CIH setup has been done by working your seating distance out by using the height of the screen, you still get the full impact a 16.9 screen user does during the IMAX scenes, the only difference is the 16.9 screen user will lose approx. 33% of their on-screen image when the non IMAX scenes are showing whereas us anamorphic lens users continue to view a full screen image.

You conveniently forgot to mention the actual issue: The IMAX scenes were filmed to show 1. much more picture information top/bottom and 2. to be presented larger than the scope images.
Nolan didn't go to great lengths and inconvenience to film in IMAX as some afterthought and have the extra frame cropped out, and presented the same size as scope. That was a necessary evil for theaters that did not have IMAX capabilities. But please don't pretend it's a virtue to crop the IMAX image and present it the same size as the scope image. (Aside from you personally not wanting to notice aspect ratio changes, perhaps).
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I've watched the DKR in 16.9 format and counted I think 100+ aspect ratio changes, it's horribly distracting and I actually feel sorry for non anamorphic lens users. Zoom method complete waste of time and even worse than a full 16.9 setup.

It's simply absurd to proclaim the zoom method a "complete waste of time." It can be a terrific method for constant image height (especially with the new pre-set zoom features on some projectors). In fact, it can take you beyond CIH if desired. I have an anamorphic lens and can run my system in CIH. But with automated variable masking I generally prefer to vary the image size based on the source quality and impact I desire for any particular film. By not restricting myself to CIH movies with IMAX footage like TDK get a much larger screen size than either scope or my normal 16:9 viewing sizes. It does add a "wow" factor that I would not have gotten if I stayed with a CIH system/no-zoom system.
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Originally Posted by crazy4daisy View Post

With an anamorphic lens I have zero issues and enjoy the entire film in glorious screen filling scope. If anyone is unable to comprehend this then I would suggest they have a complete misunderstanding of anamorphic lenses and CIH setups.

*you* have zero issues. That's fine. But you seem to be turning your own opinion and satisfaction into overreaching, objective claims about CIH systems. The original motivation for CIH was to keep the aspect ratio size relationships as they are experienced in (good) theaters: scope is, we have always heard from CIH devotees, supposed to be wider/have more screen real estate than 1:85:1 movies. A CIH system corrects for this issue vs a CIW system. However, IMAX is supposed to be shown much taller, with greater screen real estate than scope. That's the point behind the AR changes in Nolan's films. But you don't get this in a CIH system. You actually do get the proper aspect ratio relationship in a standard 16:9 screen set up (or closer to it). It's rather disingenuous (or possibly ignorant?) to ignore this issue, your personal satisfaction notwithstanding.

There are all sorts of problematic issues and compromises involved in the move from the commercial theater experiences to the home theater experiences. I have my own preference governing the choices I made in my home theater, but I would never go proclaiming it "the right way" or other ways "a complete waste of time."

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post #19 of 56 Old 04-05-2013, 02:55 PM
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I think he was saying that zooming for movies with VAR would be a "waste of time".

IMO it would be silly to zoom when watching a VAR movie because when the IMAX scenes come up, you would have image outside of your screen's frame.

John, filming in 2.35:1 would maintain its extra vertical resolution if there was a medium that delivered said film to the home in the native 2.31:1 AR. Obviously a lens would be required to view the film properly.

Additionally, I think that anamorphic films have a more dramatic feel than non-anamorphic fims, I enjoy them. So, to me, yes anamorphic is still relevant.

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post #20 of 56 Old 04-05-2013, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by 230-SEAN View Post

I think he was saying that zooming for movies with VAR would be a "waste of time".


-Sean

Really? Do you mean zooming in and out during the movie? I find it hard to read that way. Also, I hadn't seen many people advocating zooming in and out for IMAX-scope movies, in a CIH set up.

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post #21 of 56 Old 04-05-2013, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post

Really? Do you mean zooming in and out during the movie? I find it hard to read that way. Also, I hadn't seen many people advocating zooming in and out for IMAX-scope movies, in a CIH set up.

No, I didn't read it as zooming in and out during the movie, I read it as zooming it to fill a 2.35:1 screen. That's why I explained my opinion on it in the next sentence.

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post #22 of 56 Old 04-07-2013, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew Robinson View Post

That being said, films that feature variable aspect ratios due pose a problem for fans of anamorphic lens setups,

In the entire history of motion pictures, a grand total of six movies have ever been produced that mix a scope aspect ratio with variable ratio footage intended to be viewed taller than the scope frame.

The Dark Knight
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (*only available with Variable Aspect Ratio on the Walmart exclusive Blu-ray)
Tron Legacy
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (*not available with VAR on home video; the Blu-ray is constant 2.40:1 per director's wishes)
The Dark Knight Rises
Star Trek into Darkness (*currently unknown how the Blu-ray will be presented)

Let's try to keep a little perspective here, shall we?

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post #23 of 56 Old 04-07-2013, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

In the entire history of motion pictures, a grand total of six movies have ever been produced that mix a scope aspect ratio with variable ratio footage intended to be viewed taller than the scope frame.

The Dark Knight
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (*only available with Variable Aspect Ratio on the Walmart exclusive Blu-ray)
Tron Legacy
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (*not available with VAR on home video; the Blu-ray is constant 2.40:1 per director's wishes)
The Dark Knight Rises
Star Trek into Darkness (*currently unknown how the Blu-ray will be presented)

Let's try to keep a little perspective here, shall we?

Agreed!

I've always said that it seems silly to hand-wring over such an infinitesimal number of mixed AR movies.

(Though, admittedly, the fact they are all recent, hugely popular films does push the issue more into the spotlight...)

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post #24 of 56 Old 04-08-2013, 03:36 PM
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I've always said that it seems silly to hand-wring over such an infinitesimal number of mixed AR movies.

(Though, admittedly, the fact they are all recent, hugely popular films does push the issue more into the spotlight...)

This is a good case for having both a 16:9 and a 2.35:1 screen. I just watch these particular movies on my 16:9 screen - it's the only way to get the full " theatrical experience " .

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post #25 of 56 Old 04-12-2013, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Craig Peer View Post

This is a good case for having both a 16:9 and a 2.35:1 screen. I just watch these particular movies on my 16:9 screen - it's the only way to get the full " theatrical experience " .

Anyone with CIH and a masking system has both a Scope screen and 16:9 screen. I know you are referring to a 16:9 screen the same width as the Scope, but what is the point in this forum when there is just 4 films on BD that support this.

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post #26 of 56 Old 04-12-2013, 09:17 PM
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This is a good case for having both a 16:9 and a 2.35:1 screen. I just watch these particular movies on my 16:9 screen - it's the only way to get the full " theatrical experience " .

Personally, I'd rather just keep in scope, lose a bit of the image when it shifts to 16:9 and just keep the flow of the movie going. I watched TDK and Tron this way and I didn't feel like I missed anything. I'd imagine that the constant switching of AR's would be distracting and pull me out of the movie, but I've never tried it so that's speculation.

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post #27 of 56 Old 04-12-2013, 09:52 PM - Thread Starter
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I back for round two. After speaking with Panamorph re: my initial findings that started this little thread, I went back and re-tested a few things per their request. Here's what I found...

Last month I wrote an article entitled Is Anamorphic Still Relevant? In it I tackled the basic ideas and concepts associated with anamorphic filmmaking and exhibition in the digital age and how because of digital the once optical “cheat” has been rendered somewhat useless. While I didn’t write the article to put a stop to the filmmaking process known to many as anamorphic, nor did I write it to tear down companies who specialize in the manufacturing of anamorphic lenses and products, that didn’t stop many from believing I did. Truth is, despite what I know about anamorphic filmmaking and exhibition, I still like the look of it. I would even consider filming in it as it is, in its own way, a form of artistic impression. That being said, artistic or not, it doesn’t mean I have to simply go along with some of the myths that seem to be associated with the format.

One of the myths in question has to do with this idea that because a properly setup digital projector with an anamorphic lens attached uses the projector’s entire image sensor the resulting projected image is somehow brighter. This “truth bomb” was lobbed at me several times following the publishing of my original anamorphic article. One company specializing in anamorphic lens attachments, with whom I have a close, friendly relationship with, even asked me to test it -again. I say again because I had originally stated that in my tests I saw no difference in light output between a projector with an anamorphic lens versus one without. But, I’m not always right and it never hurts to double check.

Advocates for anamorphic lens setups will say that using a lens will result in more light hitting the screen because a) you using all of your projector’s chipset and b) you don’t have to zoom out as far to achieve the same size image -as it relates to width of course. Both these reasons seem to make a lot of sense, they’re even logical. I’ll admit in my earlier test, the one where I stated that I saw no difference, I merely measured the light output of a projector, with and without a lens attached. In my new test, the one that inspired this post, I would tighten up my form in order to ensure an apples to apples comparison. Here goes.

My projector sits approximately 17 feet back from my 120-inch diagonal screen (lens to material). I started by measuring my projector’s light output with an anamorphic lens attached. I zeroed out my projector, that is to say I set it back to its factory defaults. I then put a 100% IRE white pattern through the projector via my DVDO Duo connected by a 1 meter HDMI cable. I set my projector to its appropriate anamorphic mode, which resulted in a large white box appearing on my screen. The white box was 6 feet wide on my 120-inch screen -this will be important. Using a calibrated C6 meter and SpectraCal’s CalMan v.4 software I measured the 100% IRE box with the anamorphic lens attached at 4.3 foot lamberts. Remember, don’t get hung up on the projector’s light output, we don’t care about that right now, our only focus is light output with lens versus without. I took over a dozen readings and 4.3 was pretty much the figure.

Now, I removed the lens and turned off my projector’s anamorphic mode and resent the same 100% IRE pattern to the screen. It was smaller so I zoomed out until the box was the same size as it was when using the anamorphic lens. Doing so simulated the effect of using lens zoom or memory, opposed to an anamorphic lens attachment. With the box now the same size as it was with the anamorphic lens in place I re-measured the projector’s light output. Remember, I didn’t move or touch anything but the projector’s zoom function, which is entirely remote controlled. The measured light output without the anamorphic lens was an even 4 foot lamberts.

Proponents of anamorphic lenses and such claim that using one (an anamorphic lens) will result in 30% more light output than zooming. My tests above show that simply isn’t the case. Not sure what they’re doing in order to arrive at a 30% increase in light output, but if it were true I should’ve measured 5 plus foot lamberts with the lens attached against the 4 without. Sorry, but in my tests, the numbers don’t support the claims. As for more pixels and full resolution, well I think I successfully explained those claims away in my previous article.

So, what is the point of using an anamorphic lens then? Well, for starters using an anamorphic lens may allow you to obtain a wider 2.35:1 image with the projector resting closer to the screen. Those who live in tight spaces would therefore benefit potentially. However, it does mean that you’ll have to suffer a smaller image when viewing 16:9 content -unless of course you have an auto masking screen and/or your anamorphic lens on a motorized sled. Anamorphic lenses do get around the issue of over scan or light leakage as a result of simply zooming out until the black bars top and bottom fall above and below the projection screen surface. But there are ways of treating over scanned bars so they’re not too distracting either -many of which cost less than most anamorphic lens attachments. In the end I believe it comes down to personal preference and what the end user simply wants. It’s not as if using an anamorphic lens ruins the projected image per se, it just isn’t made of magic. In the end its ultimately the call of the end user and whether or not they want to use an anamorphic lens or rely on lens memory. Whichever you choose doesn’t mean that the format or technique known as anamorphic is silly, it just means there’s now more than one way to enjoy it in the home.

This report was originally published on my site Andrew-Robinson-Online.com.

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post #28 of 56 Old 04-13-2013, 04:03 AM
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I've done similar measurements comparing zooming against using my Isco II lens. Like you I found only a tiny increase in the light output (93 lux verses 96 lux using my Tecpel Lux meter). The reason for this is that when using my lens I have to put the projector's lens at absolute minimum (telephoto) so I lose light output due to the projector's aperture effect (I have a JVC X35 but this test was done with my previous JVC HD350).

When I zoom I then use 1.33x of the projector's zoom which seems to pass through a zone of large change in terms of aperture effect so the brightness increases by a large step over that range (and the contrast diminished equally for the same reason). This virtually compensates for the loss of brightness due to the larger area projected and makes up nearly all the difference made by the A Lens.

However, I still prefer to use the lens for a number of reasons:

1. I don't have a black surround to my 2.35:1 screen so some overspill is visible (not a dedicated room yet).

2. I found that the zoomed image was less sharp than using the A Lens. In my case this is perhaps more an indication that the Isco lens is better quality than the JVC's lens, but it was real enough to me. Whenever I see a JVC with some zoom applied it always seems a little softer than I'm used to, so I think there may be a sharpness 'sweet spot' in my case. The inherent slight misconvergence in the projector doesn't appear any worse with the lens in place, so in my case there doesn't seem to be any loss of quality by having the extra glass in front of the projector.

3. I get more on/off contrast due to the aperture change compared to zooming. I don't know if it's really that obvious since it's impossible to do an instant A B test, so maybe more placebo since I know it measures a bit higher.

4. The image just looks more 'solid'. Not very scientific I know, but there you go. smile.gif

The image is bright enough in either case for me since I'm only using low lamp power and the projector's iris is under half way open for 2.35:1 content, so I'm not searching for the last drop of extra brightness since 14-15fL is plenty for my taste. I'm using a Lumagen Mini3D for the vertical stretch which I do feel does a better job than the projector itself, though to be fair I've compared static test patterns to see this difference. Perhaps on 'real' moving content it would be less apparent. Another point in my set up is that I have a Darbee which is after the Lumagen, so it is processing the already vertically stretched signal. So although this is upscaled signal, it still seems to give the Darbee more to work with (definitely better than putting the Darbee before the vertical stretch from my testing).

Zooming: Been there, done that, bought the lens...
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post #29 of 56 Old 04-13-2013, 04:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelvin1965S View Post

When I zoom I then use 1.33x of the projector's zoom which seems to pass through a zone of large change in terms of aperture effect so the brightness increases by a large step over that range (and the contrast diminished equally for the same reason). This virtually compensates for the loss of brightness due to the larger area projected and makes up nearly all the difference made by the A Lens.

Quite right. Theoretically, an anamorphic lens should allow a 33% increase in light output over a zoom-based setup. However this assumes a constant f-stop throughout the zoom range, which very few projectors have (I believe Marantz projectors possessed constant f-stop optics). Most projectors have a variable f-stop throughout the zoom range, so when you zoom to a larger image the f-number decreases, allowing more light through. However, as was pointed out above, you also destroy contrast when you do this; in order to maintain similar contrast numbers, a zoom-based projector would have to be installed at a longer throw (assuming it had the zoom range to do so), which would result in a larger f-stop and less light output (closer to the theoretical 33% figure).

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post #30 of 56 Old 04-13-2013, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Robinson View Post

Proponents of anamorphic lenses and such claim that using one (an anamorphic lens) will result in 30% more light output than zooming. My tests above show that simply isn’t the case. Not sure what they’re doing in order to arrive at a 30% increase in light output, but if it were true I should’ve measured 5 plus foot lamberts with the lens attached against the 4 without. Sorry, but in my tests, the numbers don’t support the claims. As for more pixels and full resolution, well I think I successfully explained those claims away in my previous article.

It works like this:

Let's say you've got a projector that outputs 500 Lumens, and lets say the "baseline" is a 50 sq ft 16:9 screen, with unity (1.0) gain. This will result in a 10 ftL baseline.

If you move to a 2.37:1 screen of the same height, the screen area will be 50*1.33 = 66.5 sq ft, but how do you fill it, well if you put an anamorphic lens in place it will expand that 500 Lumens over the 66.5 sq ft area, so that's 500/66.5 = 7.5 ftL The expected 25% drop because you're projecting over a 33% larger area.

But what if you don't use a lens, well holding all else equal (ie zoom on the projector), you'll have to move the projector back but now you'll be lighting an area 1.33x wider * 1.33x higher = 1.76x larger, so that's 500 Lumens over 88 sq ft so 500/88 = 5.7 sq ft.

So lets compare what we've got with a baseline 10 ftL, and a true "constant height" setup (scope screen is equal height and 1.33x wider) we get 7.5 ftL (25% drop) with a lens and 5.7 (43% drop) without to light that scope screen. So that means the lens is 7.5/5.7 = 1.32 = 32% brighter.

This is where the 30% "increase" comes from, it is very real, very explainable, and very reproducable if tested "correctly". Note, I'm not inditing your or anyone's test methodology because reality is a lot more complicated than this.

Complicated how? Well lets add complication #1 http://www.cine4home.de/tests/projektoren/JVC_X-Serie/X70_Test_Finala.htm

According to Cine4home's tests, using low lamp, iris open (I think), at min zoom (long throw) the output is 560 Lumens, and max zoom (short throw) is 640 Lumens, that's a gain of 640/560 = 14%, with the iris closed it's 260/210 = 24% gain.

So ignoring that that gain in lumens is across a 2x zoom range (rather than just a 1.33x range), if you're at a closed iris config, you're looking at a the gain in Lumens from zooming cutting the difference to 32% (lens) - 24% (zoom) = 8%. Just for reference the difference between 4.3 ftL and 4.0ftL is 8%.

Complication #2 Looking at the same Cine4home numbers, the contrast drops about 25% from min to max zoom.

Complication #3, well it's sort of related to the above two, but by using a lens it lets you maximize brightness and/or contrast. An expansion lens lets you use less zoom thus maximizing contrast while retaining maximum brightness. Or on the flip side, if you're trying to go large and are light challenged a lens lets you use more zoom (more lumens) but keep them on the screen.

Lots of people like to try to make the "gain" or lack of a lot simpler than it is. You have to remember that a lens is just another tool in one's arsenal to maximize the performance of their system.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do,
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