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post #1 of 15 Old 05-31-2016, 10:00 PM - Thread Starter
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why are anamorphic lenses so expensive?

Greetings,

This forum doesn't seem to be getting much traffic these days, but if anyone can answer my questions, I'd like to understand a couple of things:

1. Why are anamorphic lenses, like the UH480, so expensive? and

2. Do any of the DIY versions of said lenses compare favorably with the store-bought versions?

Thanks.

- s.west

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post #2 of 15 Old 06-02-2016, 04:03 AM
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For what they cost to build, they're not expensive.

I can understand you being a little skeptical about a prism system being expensive, but a full cylindrical system (much sharper and flexible than prisms) is worth every cent.

The degrees of precision required - from edge to edge of the glass - have to be at least the same as the finest lens on any projector they may be hooked up to. And these lenses are large. Large glass isn't cheap.

Having said that, SOME are overpriced. They rely on hype and brand name.
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post #3 of 15 Old 06-05-2016, 12:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for that response. Yeah, after I posted that, I did a little more research, and some more thinking (!) about it, and realized that, even though the concept is simple, particularly when one thinks of the spaced-prism solution (which is what I was thinking of when I posted), you still have problems to solve (e.g. chromatic aberration), and that starts to complicate things, and make them more and more expensive.

I'm still wondering about my second question, though: Do any of the DIY versions of said lenses compare favorably with the store-bought versions?

Thoughts?

- s.west

p.s. Is xeitoptics in the 'hype and brand name' camp or the 'competent-but-reasonably-priced' camp? Should I be exploring their solution, or is it beyond the reach of mere mortals?

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post #4 of 15 Old 06-05-2016, 01:31 AM - Thread Starter
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If I had seen this thread before I posted my question above, I probably would not have started my own thread. A lot of very helpful information from just a couple of pages of posts.

- s.west

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post #5 of 15 Old 06-06-2016, 08:24 AM
 
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Looks like lenses will become a thing of the past between now and about ten years hence:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0602151840.htm
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post #6 of 15 Old 06-07-2016, 06:27 AM
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The DCI decided that an extra lens in front of the projector's lens was no longer needed. Personally I think they needed to make it easier for all the mulitplexes (changing over to digital) to set up and an anamorphic lens just adds a whole new levels of complexity. Bit is shame really, but cinema has become more about pop corn than the art.

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post #7 of 15 Old 06-07-2016, 08:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CAVX View Post
The DCI decided that an extra lens in front of the projector's lens was no longer needed. Personally I think they needed to make it easier for all the mulitplexes (changing over to digital) to set up and an anamorphic lens just adds a whole new levels of complexity. Bit is shame really, but cinema has become more about pop corn than the art.
Quote:
Dr. Peter Venkman: Ray for a moment, pretend like I don't know anything about metallurgy, engineering, or physics and just tell me what the hell is going on?
Dr Ray Stantz: You never studied.
CAVX, pretend for a moment like I don't know anything about 'DCI', or... whatever, and just tell me what's going on???



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(but, seriously, what?)

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post #8 of 15 Old 06-08-2016, 05:23 AM
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CAVX, pretend for a moment like I don't know anything about 'DCI', or... whatever, and just tell me what's going on???



- s.west

(but, seriously, what?)
DCI - Digital Cinema Incentive apparently has called for cinemas not to use them.

Back in film days, 35mm film had the images optically squeezed by 50%, so a 2x stretch lens was needed to restore the geometry. Digital cinema has correct geometry on the DCI file and can be scaled by the projector if required. I guess they see it as 1:1 pixel mapped, so don't scale it.

I'll suggest that most cinema techs would not be able to set them up properly anyway.

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post #9 of 15 Old 06-08-2016, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, got it. Thanks for the explanation.

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post #10 of 15 Old 07-29-2016, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAVX View Post
DCI - Digital Cinema Incentive apparently has called for cinemas not to use them.

Back in film days, 35mm film had the images optically squeezed by 50%, so a 2x stretch lens was needed to restore the geometry. Digital cinema has correct geometry on the DCI file and can be scaled by the projector if required. I guess they see it as 1:1 pixel mapped, so don't scale it.

I'll suggest that most cinema techs would not be able to set them up properly anyway.
Mark did you get that from a trade forum or insider info??
Post link please if not under a NDA.
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post #11 of 15 Old 08-22-2016, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by mtbdudex View Post
Mark did you get that from a trade forum or insider info??
Post link please if not under a NDA.
A bit of both. No NDA but I don't have a link either. I just know a few people in the industry here in Australia and none of them use their 1.25x ISCO, which to me is quite disappointing. It seems the techs came out, calibrated and left the ISCO in a box.

And I have seen both good and bad D-Cinema set ups where the worst was a blurred bottom left corner. Imagine, if they can't get that right, how bad would it look with a 2nd lens in the light path, where dial in is crucial to the performance?

For film, they had no choice (and we didn't have 4K rez thin lines either). In fact, the grid used to set up the anamorphic lens in one cinema was lines scratched into a glass slide - DIY test pattern much? The lines on a SMPTE test loop of film are actually quite course. The scratches were finer.

I actually miss film. The rapid flapping sound of sprockets pulling the film through the gate. I used to like seeing the A-lens move out of the light path once the film tail pulled through. Sadly, most of those cinemas don't even have their 35mm film projectors in the booth anymore.

Digital's main advantage is no scratches, regardless the age of the film. When I went to see the 30th anniversary screening of BACK TO THE FUTURE (I'm sure they just played the Blu-ray) last year, pristine clean image on screen. Colours looked off to me me though.

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post #12 of 15 Old 09-14-2016, 01:16 AM
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Mark, Mike, Here is some links for you guys. Digital Cinema Initiatives http://www.dcimovies.com/ http://pro.boxoffice.com/

You where talking about anamorphic for a DCI projector, here is a cut and paste from http://mkpe.com/digital_cinema/faqs/tech_faqs.php

Can I use a single lens to project both scope and flat images?

According to NATO's(National Association of Theatre Owners https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation...Theatre_Owners ) System Requirements 2.1, yes. But some studios interpret the DCI specification as opposing the use of a single lens for scope (2.39:1 or higher widescreen) and flat(1.87:1 images). A different interpretation of the DCI specification is that it prefers, but does not require, the use of separate lensing to project scope and flat images. If your systems are financed in part through VPF subsidies, then you should have this discussion with your deployment entity.


Can I use an anamorphic lens on my projector?

While anamorphic lenses are the best way to make efficient use of the light available to the projector, not all studios may accept their use. (See the discussion on Single Lens above.)

Note that an anamorphic lens in digital cinema does not rely on the distribution of anamorphically squeezed images, as with film. In digital cinema, the projector can electronically perform an anamorphic re-mapping of the image onto its electronic imaging device, requiring an anamorphic lens to correctly display the image. The benefit of this projection technique is that it utilizes the full imaging array, utilizing the maximum lamp power available. Images projected with an anamorphic lens can light up larger screens than in non-anamorphic installations. The anamorphic projection technique has proven useful for large screen 3-D presentations.

Film was sweet. In my projectionist days, I had about five different theaters I would work, 3 of them had Christie 35/70MM projectors, the other 2 had Ballantyne-Strong 35/70MM projectors. The Christies hummed, the Ballantyne-Strong's made this awful high pitched sound, like spinning a rachet around really fast. Yeah your right, there is a very small number of people around who can still set up an anamorphic lens correctly. Most fo the newer DCI projectors don't need them. Some of the older ones do, and like the last Christie film projectors have the two lenses mounted 180 degrees from each other on a motorized turntable, and simply hitting a button to either scope or flat moves the correct lens into place.

Mark, I'm kind of curious is you guys are getting any of the 35/70MM business down under. I have a lot of independents that still have a run a 35/70MM projector as well as DCI equipment. No shortage of film. I know Star Wars the Force Awakens was shown on 35MM in Los Angeles and about 13 IMAX locations that still have the GT 70MM film projectors. Everybody wanted a 35MM for interstellar, everyone of them was a sold out show for weeks. I got to do one of the Hateful Eight 70mm Roadshow's in Houston. Over three weeks of prep work, new screen frame, new screen, masking work and installing a loaner 70MM projector with a Panavision anamorphic lens. To see the curtain open up revealing a 2.76:1 movie, was a trip down memory lane.
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And the payoff is never certain: Some observers contend that a generation has already been trained to be content with the small screen.

Some servers can do non-encrypted playback to an A/V projector, but it's just a ridiculously expensive media player if you don't have a cinema projector.
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post #13 of 15 Old 09-14-2016, 06:11 AM
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Mark, I'm kind of curious is you guys are getting any of the 35/70MM business down under. I have a lot of independents that still have a run a 35/70MM projector as well as DCI equipment. No shortage of film. I know Star Wars the Force Awakens was shown on 35MM in Los Angeles and about 13 IMAX locations that still have the GT 70MM film projectors. Everybody wanted a 35MM for interstellar, everyone of them was a sold out show for weeks. I got to do one of the Hateful Eight 70mm Roadshow's in Houston. Over three weeks of prep work, new screen frame, new screen, masking work and installing a loaner 70MM projector with a Panavision anamorphic lens. To see the curtain open up revealing a 2.76:1 movie, was a trip down memory lane.
Thanks for that info, it was a good read.

IMAX was a very niche format here. There were several flat screens and only two dome screens (Omni-max) theatres ever built and only one dome remains to this day and as far as I know, is still running 70mm prints.

All of the flat screens have been converted to double stack 2K projection now.

As far as I know, all commercial cinemas in my city that ran 35mm are now digital. Given the size of this state, I know that smaller rural areas are still running 35mm film. Some may even run 16mm if that format is still available.

There is one privately owned cinema complex (same city as the dome omni-max) that runs both 35mm and 2K digital in their premier cinema. Their other 4 screens run 2k digital only now. Video is just easier now. No need to splice several reels together, then have to break them down after the run. No lost or missing DTS time code CDs. No drop outs of Dolby Digital because the sprocket holes got ripped.

In fact, some of the outback communities were running pre-rental DVDs on data grade projectors. I'd hope that practice would have been upgraded to Blu-ray, but I doubt that would have happened.

Sadly, the art of cinema presentation has been lost and it is all about how many flavour ice-creams you can have with your giant pop corn and frozen coke.

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post #14 of 15 Old 09-14-2016, 12:17 PM
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Thanks for that info, it was a good read.

IMAX was a very niche format here. There were several flat screens and only two dome screens (Omni-max) theatres ever built and only one dome remains to this day and as far as I know, is still running 70mm prints.

All of the flat screens have been converted to double stack 2K projection now.

As far as I know, all commercial cinemas in my city that ran 35mm are now digital. Given the size of this state, I know that smaller rural areas are still running 35mm film. Some may even run 16mm if that format is still available.

There is one privately owned cinema complex (same city as the dome omni-max) that runs both 35mm and 2K digital in their premier cinema. Their other 4 screens run 2k digital only now. Video is just easier now. No need to splice several reels together, then have to break them down after the run. No lost or missing DTS time code CDs. No drop outs of Dolby Digital because the sprocket holes got ripped.

In fact, some of the outback communities were running pre-rental DVDs on data grade projectors. I'd hope that practice would have been upgraded to Blu-ray, but I doubt that would have happened.

Sadly, the art of cinema presentation has been lost and it is all about how many flavour ice-creams you can have with your giant pop corn and frozen coke.
I spent July and August caravanning around down there. We were in Townsville and the IMAX dome there was closed. An employee told me it was going to be retrofitted and reopened next year. He never said, but I'm sure it will be digitized. That is a shame. Those old IMAX GT projectors that ran the film through sideways had the best picture of them all.

Funny you said DVD. We spent two days in Coober Petty and watched movies at their drive-in, the movie that was playing that Saturday night was Jurrasic World off a blue-ray. They did have a DCI 2K Barco spec projector. The owner told me it takes 4 days to download one movie for DCI and getting a DCP by post takes two weeks. He told me he has agreements with Universal, Lionsgate, Fox, Disney, MGM and WB that allow him to play their Blu-ray movies between DCI content. I thought that was funny.

An old friend of mine, Buck Williams, who worked for Eastman Kodak told me, once all the "K" resolution was established in the late 90's that a 70MM IMAX film was around 16-18K, reg 70MM 12K, 35MM 4-6K, 16MM 2-2.5K. And that does sound about right. One thing DCI has over film is night scenes. When I was working at Universal and they were filming something in the back lot in film days, and it was a night scene, they would wait for sunset, place filters on the camera lens and bingo it was night. A lot of those old film movies was like that.

I don't know how the studios were in Austrailia, but here they loaded up their attorneys and local law enforcement and was literally going house to house taking private collections of 35/65/70MM film. My avatar gives it away I never had much in the way of 35/70MM but I do have an extensive 16MM collection, and a lot of it is cinemascope. 35/65/70MM has always been owned by the distributor/studio, 16 and 8MM were the format for home viewing and ownership, like a disk today. The irony of that was VHS was expanding at that time and they were digging out their old movie collection to convert over to VHS to sell. Well they destroyed all those 35/65/70MM prints they confiscated, and when they went to the studio vault, they found a lot of those old movies, the film had literally fallen apart in the can. The mylar came off in strips, they broke while handling it, on and on. It was a mess. The bad thing with the studios was that no one ever thought to strike new prints of the movies. Sure the IB Technicolor and Fuji film did great, the LLP did OK. After they pulled that stunt, they were having to negotiate with the same people they took the film from for there 8 or 16MM prints, at a high cost, to have something worth transferring to VHS. About the same happened with DVD. I always wonder how many movies are gone over that stunt.

But your right digital is a lot more fluid than film when it comes to general distribution and exhibition. About the 400th time film passed through the projector it was about over with unless the projectionist did it right.

And the payoff is never certain: Some observers contend that a generation has already been trained to be content with the small screen.

Some servers can do non-encrypted playback to an A/V projector, but it's just a ridiculously expensive media player if you don't have a cinema projector.
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post #15 of 15 Old 09-14-2016, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by CinemaAndy View Post
I spent July and August caravanning around down there. We were in Townsville and the IMAX dome there was closed. An employee told me it was going to be retrofitted and reopened next year. He never said, but I'm sure it will be digitized. That is a shame. Those old IMAX GT projectors that ran the film through sideways had the best picture of them all.
I did wonder how long it could remain open. When it first opened, it was not cheap for a ticket and the selection of films was limited. It was not maintained and I remember one of the screen channel speakers crackling bad during a shuttle launch sequence a few years later.

My next visit was cool. The sound system had been upgraded and before the show, they had installed back lights to show off the sound system with hard panned sound effects from each channel.

I moved away from Townsville almost 20 years ago, so only go back to visit and unfortunately, don't get the time to do all the things I'd like - IE visiting the Warrina Picture Palace. I learned from a Facebook group about Australian Cinema that the Warrina is still up and running. I was up there in June this year and it looked run down from the outside, but apparently still fills each cinema over the weekends, so good on them for being able to compete against the BCC and Reddings commercial chains.

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Funny you said DVD. We spent two days in Coober Petty and watched movies at their drive-in, the movie that was playing that Saturday night was Jurrasic World off a blue-ray. They did have a DCI 2K Barco spec projector. The owner told me it takes 4 days to download one movie for DCI and getting a DCP by post takes two weeks. He told me he has agreements with Universal, Lionsgate, Fox, Disney, MGM and WB that allow him to play their Blu-ray movies between DCI content. I thought that was funny.
4 days? LOL On our internet, I am not surprised. Well at least they are running blu-ray. 16mm Australia was run and operated by a guy about 100K west of Townsville and he had special pre-release DVDs at the time for hire for about $80. I will have to contact him and see if he has BD now and if he will move it into UHD.

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An old friend of mine, Buck Williams, who worked for Eastman Kodak told me, once all the "K" resolution was established in the late 90's that a 70MM IMAX film was around 16-18K, reg 70MM 12K, 35MM 4-6K, 16MM 2-2.5K. And that does sound about right. One thing DCI has over film is night scenes. When I was working at Universal and they were filming something in the back lot in film days, and it was a night scene, they would wait for sunset, place filters on the camera lens and bingo it was night. A lot of those old film movies was like that.
Film does not have a "black level" like video. It is either letting light pass or it is a black out.
Micheal Mann choose digital over film for COLLATERAL because he could see more in the dark in digital capture. At the expense of noise.

Quote:
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I don't know how the studios were in Austrailia, but here they loaded up their attorneys and local law enforcement and was literally going house to house taking private collections of 35/65/70MM film. My avatar gives it away I never had much in the way of 35/70MM but I do have an extensive 16MM collection, and a lot of it is cinemascope. 35/65/70MM has always been owned by the distributor/studio, 16 and 8MM were the format for home viewing and ownership, like a disk today. The irony of that was VHS was expanding at that time and they were digging out their old movie collection to convert over to VHS to sell. Well they destroyed all those 35/65/70MM prints they confiscated, and when they went to the studio vault, they found a lot of those old movies, the film had literally fallen apart in the can. The mylar came off in strips, they broke while handling it, on and on. It was a mess. The bad thing with the studios was that no one ever thought to strike new prints of the movies. Sure the IB Technicolor and Fuji film did great, the LLP did OK. After they pulled that stunt, they were having to negotiate with the same people they took the film from for there 8 or 16MM prints, at a high cost, to have something worth transferring to VHS. About the same happened with DVD. I always wonder how many movies are gone over that stunt.

But your right digital is a lot more fluid than film when it comes to general distribution and exhibition. About the 400th time film passed through the projector it was about over with unless the projectionist did it right.
Our studios work differently here and different studios have different film rights compared to the US. An example is Warner Bros and Terminator 3. So the theme park on the Gold Coast used to show a clip from T3 in their add, yet T3 in Australia is distributed by SONY/Tri-Star Columbia. My BD copy is region ABC but a US version, and it is clearly Warner where my previous DVD was SONY.

I almost bought a 16mm projector in the early 1990's. That was about the time of the transition from anamorphic lenses (and why so many small 2x A-Lenses could be found 2nd hand on eBay with in the 00's) to the "Scope on flat" format and the zoom lens option. From memory ALIEN 3 was one of the last anamorphic 16mm prints. LETHAL WEAPON 3 was one of the first "letterboxes" 16mm prints I saw.

The big difference between 35mm and 16mm was that often 16mm only had a mono optical soundtrack. T2 and A3 had stereo, but many had mono.

I still remember how disappointed I was back them to see a letterbox on film, though it was still miles in front of VHS and Pan and Scan.

Out of all the video formats that have come and gone, VHS was the worst and I laughed the day I got a letter from a local video store stating "we miss you" because I had moved on to Laser Disc which they didn't do. I must have rented a lot from them, but LD was just so much better and it offered widescreen (via a letterbox).

Then there was VCD with the MPEG1 codec Vs LD with its better analogue picture. Then in the later half of 1996, the first DVDs. LD had ruled for 18 years and it would take the PS2 for DVD to become mainstream.

Then Blu-ray in 2006 made affordable by the PS3 about a year later. The funny thing about the PS3 was 9 out of 10 owners didn't even make the BD connection. All the games had the BD logo, yet they continued to watch their DVDs on them.

And now of course, UHD, HDR and BT1886 (P3) and all the fun that is giving us and still no anamorphic!

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