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There's a misconception about "super 35" anamorphic lenses and their coverage

julienjarry
Top Contributor

There's a misconception about "super 35" anamorphic lenses and their coverage. I think when most people think of the Atlas Orion, Kowa, Lomo, and any other "super 35" anamorphic lenses they don't think they'll cover full frame. Makes sense - but actually they usually do.
These anamorphic lenses were mostly designed to cover 4:3 film and Arri 4:3 open gate which has a height of about 18mm. That's the only measurement you need to care about, the sensor height.
Phil Holland has a great tool on his website where you can compare sensor sizes here: https://phfx.com/tools/formatCompare/

Guess what? The A7s, A7sii, A7siii, FX3, FX6, FX9 all have the exact same sensor height as the Alexa Mini is 4:3 open gate! Can you believe it? That means you can simply treat it the same and use SmallHD (or other) monitor tools like anamorphic desqueeze, aspect ratio bars (2.39:1, 2.2:1, 2:1, etc), and crop tools per that aspect ratio to view your image properly and then do the same thing in post to finish it off (properly of course).

Let me explain how to properly monitor and finish your image before wrapping this up because it is very important. You'll most likely need a good on-camera monitor.

On Set:
1.) Choose what aspect ratio you want to finish in. Traditional anamorphic is 2.39:1 or 2.4:1 but you can do anything you want. I also like 2.2:1 and 2:1.
2.) Desqueeze your footage accordingly either in camera or using a monitor. 2x, 1.6x, 1.5x, 1.33x etc.
3. ) Put up those aspect ratio bars so you can see where your finished image is going to be. You'll most likely have heavy cropping going on towards the sides of the image. This is normal.
4.) Use the in-monitor crop tool to crop your image to the aspect ratio width so you don't need to see all that extra stuff to the left and right of your image.

Post:
1.) Ingest your footage.
2.) Create a timeline with the proper aspect ratio and resolution you desire. I like this resource to check resolutions: https://blog.chameleondg.com/post/111891072017/resolution-aspect-ratio-cheat-sheet
3.) I personally like to create a standard 16x9 timeline and then use black letterbox templates: https://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/free-letterbox-templates-for-video-editing/
4.) Drop in your footage and desqueeze it.
5.) Zoom in with all of your footage until it fills the aspect ratio.

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2 REPLIES 2

IamOakley
Top Contributor

Interesting. I had no idea about the sensor height equivalence. Thanks for the breakdown. I just shot anamorphic on the FX3 and FX30 for the first time. (And wrote about it here.) I used FF anamorphics because it's what I have, but now am keen to try some Super35 out with this in mind. It opens up a lot of options!

alisterchapman
Top Contributor

Most normal 35mm anamorphic lenses will indeed fill the hight of a full frame sensor, but most will vignette or be extremely distorted to the left and right of frame, so they don't really fill the frame. It's only the hight that is correct on our Full Frame 17:9 sensors. The need to crop the sides so extensively means that with a 4K FF sensor your horizontal resolution typically ends up well under 3K. The FX9 has a clear benefit here due to its 6K wide sensor.

A Full Frame Anamorphic will fill the frame of a full frame 17:9 sensor without any vignette, but of course the sensor aspect ratio isn't idea and really you need an even taller sensor such as the VENICE sensor if you want to get the best from Full Frame Anamorphics unless you like extremely narrow aspect ratios.

Super 35 Anamorphic is a bit of a misnomer as most PL mount non full frame 2x anamorphics weren't designed for 3 perf Super35 film but for 4 perf Academy. I'm never really sure what to call them, but it isn't super 35 anamorphic unless you mean the 1.35x lenses that were designed for 3 perf. Perhaps just 35mm anamorphic?



The FX9's 2x anamorphic mode is designed specifically for 35mm Anamorphic lenses and includes the necessary side crop to remove the left/right vignette that you get due to the extra sensor width and provides a corrected 2.39 image without vignette in the viewfinder. see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydOuW09CdJ8

Alister Chapman
Cinematographer/Producer/Trainer
Alister Chapman's tips on achieving this distinctive film-look with FX9 and now enhanced with V3 firmware. Visit our page for free guide: https://pro.sony/fx9-form Learn more about FX9 [PXW-FX9 / PXW-FX9K] : https://pro.sony/fx9 #SonyFX9 #sonyprocamcorder Subscribe: http://bit.ly/SonyCameraChannel