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# December 2014

Hoje faz dez dias que saímos de Vancouver rumo ao Brasil para passar o break de fim de ano. Não foi muito planejado, a gente tinha pensado em ir pra Los Angeles primeiro, e acabamos mudando de idéia em cima da hora. Uma das decisões mais acertadas de todas, porém!

Comecei a escrever esse post no dia 20, antes de ir pra Salvador, e acabei não indo além do título. A primeira coisa diferente, no momento em que chegamos, foi o ar quente invadindo o avião quando a porta foi aberta. “Ah, agora sim eu tô em casa!”. Ao longo da viagem, vim traduzindo loucamente o TCC, como dá pra ver pelos posts anteriores. Tinha vários planos pra essa pausa, pesquisar coisas, ler coisas, fazer coisas, adiantar idéias do demo reel, e a lista segue. Trouxe até um livro old-school sobre efeitos visuais e cinematografia, pra estudar nas horas vagas. O ponto é que aqui todas as horas são vagas. Posso dizer que fiz esforços no sentido de ter menos obrigações e compromissos durante minha passagem, do que teria normalmente, se estivesse visitando Salvador ou São Paulo.

Chegamos no aeroporto e logo encontramos a família da May que tinha ido nos buscar, com o Dobby e tudo, de lá, viemos pra São Bernardo, e fiquei até o finzinho do dia. Depois, pro apê em São Paulo, já que ia viajar no dia seguinte pra Salvador. No apartamento, sensações muito loucas. Ao mesmo tempo que era o mesmíssimo lugar, muita coisa tava diferente, me senti completamente em casa, mas ao mesmo tempo com um fiapo de consciência de que não era minha casa de fato. Seis meses parecem infinitos no ritmo que a gente tá andando em Vancouver. Deitei perto de meia noite pra dormir e fui assistir um filme qualquer pra distrair as idéias. Vi três filmes e reassisti uma série inteira, só consegui dormir às 6 da manhã (meia noite em Vancouver), porque fechei os olhos e acreditei que precisava dormir.

O apartamento tava vazio, porque Lila tá em Salvador até o fim de Fevereiro, então toda a comida que tinha ao meu alcance era o que tinha vindo na mala (chocolate! nozes, amêndoas e uvas passas) e o que desse pra achar em casa – uma granola natural muito boa, e uns biscoitos de côco. Foi o suficiente, considerando que acordei já quase na hora de sair pro vôo. Pensei que ia de tênis, calça e camisa de manga comprida, mas de noite já tinha sentido tanto calor – calor que não sentia há meses – que acabei decidindo ir de chinelo (de Lila, amarelinho e muitos números menor que meu pé), bermuda e camiseta. Se eu comparasse o peso entre as roupas que vim de Vancouver e as roupas que fui de São Paulo, não ia chegar nem a um quinto.

De cinco dias em Salvador, fiz só o que dava na telha. Quero ir na praia, vou à praia, quero ler, leio (e durmo depois de cinco páginas). Acho que nunca dormi tanto, tão espontaneamente como nesses dias aqui, e dormir nunca me incomodou menos – geralmente quando durmo de tarde fico pensando que podia fazer algo mais produtivo, etc etc. Encontrei o povo da Paperball, no reg mais tranquilo de todos os tempos, conversamos um bocado, depois voltei pra casa, com carona de Fabute. Desde o primeiro dia, tava com uma sensação estranha, de que as pessoas não tinham lá muita curiosidade sobre o que a gente tava fazendo, ou sobre a vida em Vancouver, sei lá. Foi só conversando com minha mãe que deu o estalo que a vida continua e é isso mesmo, nada ia estar do mesmo jeito que tava a seis meses.

Dia 23 chegaram o Geja, Heneile e minha vó, de Itapetinga. Juntaram-se com Tio Fê, Tia Ká e Mel que já estavam lá em casa, e agora tínhamos um fuzuê constante de pessoas pra um lado e pro outro, fazendo um monte de coisas diferentes e a liberdade pra escolher que programação parecia mais interessante no momento, ou também nenhuma programação. Minha vó levou uns doces MARAVILHOSOS, e não há dúvida de que comi muito mais doces que salgados nesses dias! Essas comidinhas únicas fazem falta e a gente nem percebe. Nossa cerimônia de Natal foi muito bonitinha, super simples e com comida de sobra – cortesia do par Fátima e Netinha.

Me senti um dos gatos da casa, ia pra um lugar, deitava e dormia, levantava pra comer qualquer coisa, e depois deitava de novo com preguiça. O livro era muito bom, com coisas muito interessantes, mas o calor dá um sono que ninguém encara. Li uns pedaços e me inspirei pra tentar umas coisas novas quando voltarmos pro Canadá. Tiramos uma tarde com Cogo e Lila pra fazer fotos pro Geja, que a qualquer momento devem começar a aparecer no site e nos canais de vídeo. Todo mundo se divertiu no processo, além do resultado ter ficado sensacional. Além disso, peguei mais umas horas com Cogo pra apresentar (e testar) o Nodal Ninja com a olho de peixe, que resolvi comprar pra fazer panoramas e HDRIs, itens úteis no processo de demoreel, e mais coisinhas técnicas confusas o suficiente pra me despertar interesse. Já tem um tempo que tô pensando num esquema pra colocá-los aqui no blog. Quando rolar, eu aviso.

Madalena derrubou o computador de Lila no chão e passamos umas horinhas também arrumando o bicho. Foi um sofrimento pra conseguir backupear tudo pra um hd externo e reinstalar o Windows. Nesse tempo, aproveitei as promoções do Steam e comprei Worms Armageddon, o jogo mais clássico dos clássicos de infância, pra me divertir quando tiver poucos minutos disponíveis de jogo!

Indo pro aeroporto, tava trazendo a grua de Cogo comigo, pra ajustes em São Paulo, mas o lugar tava tão caótico que quase perdi o vôo só tentando despachar a sacola. Tivemos que abortar o processo, e saí correndo pro embarque com minhas malinhas de mão mesmo. Durante o vôo, sem sono, pra variar, fiquei jogando Worms! Coisas que levaram semanas, ou meses quando éramos pequenos eu consegui fazer em minutos, e meu objetivo de completar todas as missões do single player parece menos distante do que eu imaginava. De volta a São Paulo, fiquei mais um dia à toa em casa até a May chegar e sairmos pra comprar cafés pra professores em Vancouver. Eles não sabem o que é café de verdade – eu também não, mas acredito em quem sabe!

Resgatei uma lente que tava por aqui – em breve faço a introdução adequada da menina, mas já adianto que ela vai numa maleta de ferro com inscrições em cirílico – e acertei com o Padu pra levar o Kowa dele também. Quero tirar mais fotos e filmar mais ao longo dos próximos meses. O schedule aparenta estar bem mais leve do que os terms anteriores, e acho que pode ser uma boa experiência com meus coleguinhas de turma!

Fiz uma série de observações também, que devo desenvolver em outro post. Esse era só um review geral dos últimos dias, e UMA foto, pra ter algo pra mostrar! O break está sendo ótimo, e ainda tem dois dias passando em câmera lenta aqui na casa da May!

< < BACK TO CHAPTER IIIG – ANAMORPHIC LENS-YCLOPEDIA

FAKING THE LOOK

In spite of all the magic involving anamorphic lenses, there are situations where it’s much easier (and cheaper) to fake the anamorphic look than to use the actual lenses. Over the last couple years a bunch of different options came up to achieve the main anamorphic features: the long horizontal flares and the oval bokeh. During research I’ve had the opportunity to test some of these methods and weigh their pros and cons.

Cinemorph Filter: Starting with Vid-Atlantic’s filter (the same one that makes the lens clamps), it comes in 58mm and 77mm sizes and has the goal of achieving both visual elements (flares and bokeh) through a very simple way. It’s a UV filter inside a rotating ring (like a circular polarizer), in which good part of the glass is covered by a black material, allowing light only through an oval area right in the middle.Splitting this transparent area in half there’s a very thin nylon thread.

Cinemorph Filter – 77mm.

The black vinyl shapes the bokeh. If light comes in through a specific shape, out of focus areas will follow the same pattern while everything that’s in focus behaves normally.

The nylon thread has the goal of “scattering” any direct light that comes upon it through its whole area. Since it’s very close to the lens, it will always be out of focus, creating flares for strong and direct light sources.

It works very well under ideal conditions, but struggles in many situations. One of these is keeping still. Since the ring can rotate, so you align the flares and bokeh as you wish, it doesn’t feature a locking mechanism, any bump or shake can spin it some more and make things funky (misaligned flares and bokeh). Its greatest advantage is keeping the simplicity and nature of working with spherical lenses and the ability to focus really close using modern lenses or even pulling focus during shots. The downside is that due to all the black area, light loss is around 2 stops.

Based on an extensive series of tests (still to be translated, sorry!) using this filter combined with several lenses and focal lengths I’ve reached the conclusion that it performs poorly with zoom lenses, casting heavy vignetting around the edges of the picture. It works well with primes from 85mm and up on a full frame sensor, which is a very restrictive number. Lenses wider than that end up being capable of seeing the edges of the filter, destroying the trick (and the image).

Besides that, every single highlight shows a thin semi-transparent line near its center, casted by the nylon thread. Flares are very subtle and for me the results didn’t make up to the costs.

Canon 5D Mark III + 85mm + Cinemorph filter.

Flare/Streak Filter: Professional version of the Cinemorph filter, doesn’t try to achieve two things at once. Its effect is exactly what the name says, it creates long and pronounced flares originating from strong light sources. It’s a simple square glass with many thin lines that go across its width, all drawn in the same direction. There are many variations for this filter, determined by two key factors.

4×4 Tiffen – 2mm Streak Filter.

The first of these factors is color. With a neutral filter, like this one on the picture above, flares keep the same color as the light source. If it’s a bright blue light, flares will be blue and so forth. If you have multiple colors across the frame, flares will have different colors as well. There are other versions in which the flare is tinted to a specific color which can better fool the audiences because most of the anamorphics don’t change their flare color, no matter what’s the color of the light source.

The second factor is the spacing between the lines, measured in milimeters. The closer they are, the stronger the flares. You can see the difference between the distances at Optefex‘s – filter manufacturer – website.

It’s a piece of gear that is quite hard to find since they sold out a long time ago. With some luck (and search creativity) you can find them on eBay.

The pictures below are a comparison between the real thing and the filter. The first one was taken using an anamorphic adapter – Century Optics WS-13 – and the second one using the streak filter. Taking a closer look, the difference is easy to spot, but on a moving picture the effect is good enough to be convincing.

Comparison between anamorphic adapter and streak filter..

And how can I disguise my spherical glass even more, having an oval bokeh? The following images on this test were taken using a FlareFactory 58 (described right ahead). As the filter has 4×4 inches size, you can’t screw it to the front of the lens and a mattebox is required for it to work properly. Alignment is quite simple to get this way as well as changing the direction the flares should go. Opposed to the Cinemorph, any mattebox has a decent locking mechanism for its filters so they don’t rotate out of control.

As you can see in the picture above, the streak filter has some side effects that resemble Cinemorph‘s. If you pay close attention to the highlights on the left side, it’s easy to see many thin vertical lines. These lines are the filter’s lines through which not enough light came through to “fill” evenly the bokeh. Another occasion in which it fails miserably is when you have a large and soft light source inside the frame such as the picture below. It’s easy to see a great flare/smudge around the chinese ball with many thin lines – also caused by the filter. For smaller sources such as flashlights, LEDs, car headlights or non-diffuse lights, the filter is very effective.

FlareFactory 58: As the name implies, these lenses have among their strongest features good looking flares. Sold by Dog Schidt Optiks, these are custom lenses, assembled from mods upon a prime lens, the Helios-44 (58mm f/2, M42 mount).

Among their customization options you can change contrast, aperture, external paint and, more importantly, how flares look. These lenses make strong tinted flares. A quick look at the optics in the picture below and you can have an idea of Dog Schidt’s madness. They’re currently provided with Canon EF or Arri PL mounts.

Image by Dog Schidt Optiks

But how the heck these colors affect only the flares and not the whole picture? It does look like the glass is tinted in there. After careful analysis and talking to Richard Gale – main head behind the project – I’ve found out that what’s tinted are actually the lens’ inner walls between the glass, which are usually black to prevent unwanted light bouncing and… flares. Now that they’re tinted, the color comes through when light bounces around in there. There are many videos that show this feature.

Another mod they offer, besides flare color, is swapping the original aperture for a custom one. What they do is provide different shapes and sizes besides the traditional anamorphic oval (this mod sets the lens with a fixed aperture, on the downside).

These lenses’ idea was kicked off after Richard proposed, at EOSHD forums, developing special lenses in order to enhance the results achieved with the most common focus-through anamorphics (Panasonic, Century Optics and Optex). With these new lenses it would be possible to achieve the oval bokeh aside from the tinted flares that make the look very exclusive to each lens.

Their prices are high when compared to a standard Helios-44 lens, but acceptable when you take into account the huge number of mods they offer and how that makes every lens unique.

Test shot using a FlareFactory 58.

Richard has already announced that longer lenses are easier to mod in order to make FlareFactories with different focal lengths and wide-angles are harder to make changes. Other models are set to come out soon (this is already obsolete as Dog Schidt is releasing adapters for their lenses and not stand-alone units).

Modifying Lenses: The procedure here is to open up an Helios-44, rip off the aperture blades and replace it with a laser-cut acrylic disc with a 2:1 oval shape in the middle equivalent to an f/4 aperture. This way you avoid Cinemorph‘s greatest flaw, the black edges, besides killing the need for an extra piece of gear to be carried around.

Modified 58mm f/2 Helios-44.

After ripping off and replacing the aperture its value is fixed at f/4, but it’s an easy to use lens since it grants one of the key anamorphic features: oval bokeh. Besides, it’s very easy to focus close subjects as well as smooth rack focusing.

I was very curious when I first came across this solution and considering the Helios-44 regular price, decided to give it a shot. While the lens was in the mail I’ve sent a “hi there!” message to Amir – responsible for the video mentioned above – wanting to know hard was the modification process and asking if he could share the file with the anamorphic aperture template as well as if he would point out other simple design lenses that could go through the same process, such as the Pentacon Electric 29mm f/2.8.

Modified Pentacon Electric 29mm f/2.8.

Focus test using modified Helios-44.

Focus test using modified Pentacon Electric 29mm.

TO CHAPTER IV – MAGICLANTERN RAW >>

< < BACK TO CHAPTER IIIF - DIOPTERS, OR CLOSE-UPS

ANAMORPHIC LENS-YCLOPEDIA

After almost one year of experimenting, researching, many lenses bought and sold, I realised how much time was wasted just looking for important and trustworthy pieces of information or user tips regarding a lot of lenses. Some are so rare that it’s hard to even find someone that owns one! And I don’t mean that in Portuguese, but in English, roaming across forums, video description or long-time abandoned websites.

Based on this experience I decided to give something back to those who helped me so much and provided me with answers along this path. I proposed the creation and development of a database with individual pages for each lens, including there pictures, strong and weak aspects of lens, as well as plenty of technical data such as weight, glass size, stretch factor, manufacturer, different names for a single lens, custom clamps, attaching methods and so forth.

The idea evolved a lot but it’s hard to find people with enough free time willing to fill in the information for the remaining lenses. I’m slowly trying to make it overall more acessible, but for the time being the database only contains the most “common” lenses and the ones that went through my own hands or very close friends who borrowed them for a couple days so I could gather the required data.

Lenses pages can be accessed and altered by anyone. I’m constantly backing up the data locally, preventing the case of accidental deletion or someone acting with bad intentions.

The criteria to decide which fields should be there for every lens were discussed at a specific thread, created by me and counting with the input of several other anamorphic users at EOSHD forum.

TO CHAPTER IIIH – FAKING THE LOOK >>

< < BACK TO CHAPTER IIIE - DAMAGE AND SERVICING

DIOPTERS, OR CLOSE-UPS

For a proper result when working with anamorphic adapters, the constant use of close-up filters is required, thus many anamorphics need some modification to their front part, since they don’t have standard (or any) filter threads. These are the front clamps, which tend to be very specific to each anamorphic model and usually have 58mm or 72mm filter threads.

Buying step rings on eBay and shipping them straight from China or Hong Kong is a very simple and cheap way to use different filter sizes if you need them. While online step rings go for something between US$1 and US$5, it’s very hard, in Brazil, to find them for anything less than US$20. Redstan front clamp for Kowa Bell & Howell, 72mm filter thread. For the vast majority of lenses, minimum focus is around 2m. In some cases, 1.5m, which is still a very long distance to achieve a standard close up shot (shoulders and head) or anything tighter than that. Besides, when using any aperture wider than f/4, focusing can become a challenge on its own. Diopters – or close-ups – are actually auxiliary lenses with filter threads that consist of one single optical element or two (achromatic doublets or achromatic diopters). They’re grouped according to their focal range, measured in DIOPTRIAS (to make it more understandable, DIOPTRIAS will be called “strength” from now on). There are lenses with strengths ranging from +0.25 up to +10 (the plus signal means they’re converging lenses). A diopter is always placed in front of a complete lens/optical system and its effect is to “limit” the distance represented by the infinity focus mark. What we shall call the “new infinity” is much much closer and stands for the closes focusable distance which can be determined according to the strength of the auxiliary lens. The math is quite simple, but we first need to define two variables. All measurements will be done in meters. MaxF = maximum focusable distance, in meters. S = diopter’s strength $\text{MaxF}=\frac{1}{\text{S}}$ Taking +0.5, +1.25 and +2 strength diopters as examples, we have, respectively: $\text{MaxF}=\frac{1}{0.5}=\frac{1}{\frac{1}{2}}=1\times\frac{2}{1}=2\text{m}$ $\text{MaxF}=\frac{1}{1.25}=\frac{1}{\frac{5}{4}}=1\times\frac{4}{5}=0.8\text{m}$ $\text{MaxF}=\frac{1}{2}=0.5\text{m}$ As the strength increases, maximum focus distance shortens. But, in a practical way, how do these lenses improve anamorphics performance? Simply because their image quality is considerably superior when focused closer to infinity, losing quality as the subject comes closer to the minimum focus mark, between 1.5m and 2m. If infinity is now limited to a couple meters or centimeters ahead through the auxiliary lens, excellent results are now achievable in this area that used to be minimum focus. There are two obvious consequences to using them, though. The first one is that it becomes impossible to focus anything further than the predefined distance. The second is that every single focus mark on the lens barrel is now wrong. It would be necessary to recalculate every single one of them by the new rules, but this process is very much useless. It’s faster and easier to eyeball focus when using diopters. As for minimum focus, for diopters up to +1 strength it’s simpler to consider half the maximum focus as a safe distance to get good quality images. Anything closer than that starts to dive into that “close focus” zone we’re trying so hard to avoid and you should just swap the current diopter for a stronger one. When considering stronger diopters (anything higher than +1), 3/4 of the maximum focus distance is the closest I’d go if I want to keep a high image quality. Taking a +2 diopter as example, maximum focus sits at 0.5m. Anything closer than 0.35-0.4m already has a low image quality. Let’s see some examples. Pay close attention to the defocused objects in the background. On the first image, almost everything is in focus, but in the last one, the icons on the monitor are barely recognizable. 50mm taking lens + Iscorama 54 @ minimum focus: 2m. 50mm taking lens + Iscorama 54 + +0.5 diopter @ minimum focus: 1m. 50mm taking lens + Iscorama 54 + +1 diopter @ minimum focus: 0.5m. 50mm taking lens + Iscorama 54 + +2 diopter @ minimum focus: 0.25m. There is an operation to determine precisely the minimum focus of a lens when attached to any diopter. This operation can also be used backwards in order to determine the strength of an auxiliary lens if you know the lens minimum focus with and without the diopter – particularly handy for poorly written eBay listings or buying weird zoom lenses diopters that don’t have their strength explicitly written on the side. X = lens minimum focus without the diopter, in meters X’ = lens minimum focus with the diopter, in meters S = diopter strength $\text{X'}=\frac{\text{X}}{(\text{SX}+1)}$ eBay is a great source for diopters of all sizes. It’s just a matter of looking for the ones most appropriate to the lens you’re using. A standard for the smaller lenses (like Century, Kowa, Optex, Sankor, Iscorama 36…) is the 72mm thread. Bigger lenses such as the Iscorama 54 or most projection lenses require bigger diopters and, consequently, more expensive and harder to find. The idea here is not get attached to any particular brands. Most of them have some sort of “magical” numbers to portray the diopter’s thread and strength but usually the sellers already have that information and put them directly onto the listing information. Otherwise, a google search is a great way to getting extra information. I’ve identified some weird patterns along the way and in order to make things easier, I’m putting them right below. Fujinon: The first number is the maximum focus distance, the second number is the filter thread. For example Fujinon 16086 has its focus limit at 160cm (which equals a +0.6 strength) and an 86mm thread. 190101 stands for 190cm maximum focus and 101mm threads. Fujinon has some weird and good diopters that aren’t usually picked up by the common buyer, so keep and eye for them. Canon: The newest series (250D and 500D) have their measurements in milimeters. 250mm stands for +4 and 500mm stands for +2. The “D” comes from “double element” which means they are achromatic doublets. The older series use similar measuring, like the 1300H, which equals 1300mm, 130cm or +0.75, or even the 900H (quite rare), with 105mm threads and +1.1 strength. A good option in order to cover a wider range of thread sizes is the use of several step rings to achieve the proper fits. The problem is that these rings can easily get stuck or lost. A different solution is to look for threadless diopters. The ideal ones are called Series 9 and have a diameter of 83mm. With the glass at hand, you just need the right adapter. Taking the Series 9 as example, adapters were usually made by Tiffen and Kodak in sizes that range between 67mm and 86mm. This means you can use the very same diopter with lenses that have widely different thread sizes (67mm, 72mm, 77mm, 82mm and 86mm), covering almost every anamorphic currently available. Both adapters and diopters can be hard to find, but they come up every once in a while and for a fairly low price. The adapters consist of two aluminum rings that screw on top of each other, holding the glass in between them. Then, you just screw the whole thing in front of the lens, as a regular filter. Adapters and rings for Series 9 filters. And what is so special about these achromatic doublets, by the way? Their prices are way higher than regular diopters and they’re much harder to find too. Fortunately, they exist. These were first used in situations that require very short distances between lens and subject and extraordinary image quality (the kind of thing you expect from a microscope, for example). The kind of result you simply can’t get when using single-element diopters, which will always create strong chromatic aberration. The two optical elements (a positive and a negative one) are combined in a way they cancel out their weaknesses and enhance the resulting image quality, specially around the edges where the chromatic aberration is easier to spot. The doublets holy grail is Tokina’s 72mm +0.4, which goes for around US$350.

While looking for more information and ended up coming across a list of achromatic doublets made by various brands including detailed information such as thread size, strength, rarity and even a price range. From my own experience following the selling and buying online I’ve also came up with a short list with the most common and desired close-ups along with their price range over 2013. Might have a changed since then.

• Tokina +0.5 72mm – $150 • Kenko +0.5 72mm –$90
• Tokina +0.4 72mm Achromatic – $350 • Kenko +0.3 105mm –$350
• Canon 500D +2 72mm Achromatic – $100 • Sigma +1.6 62mm Achromatic –$20
• Angenieux +0.25 82mm – $330 • Kinoptik +1 82mm Achromatic –$530
• Foton-A +1 or +1.25 – $900 • Tiffen +0.5 to +2 138mm –$50 or more
• Tiffen +0.5 to +5 Series 9 – $1-50 • Tiffen/Kodak Series 9 Adapters –$20-40
• Tiffen +0.5 to +2 4.5″ – 10-50 (rare) TO CHAPTER IIIG – ANAMORPHIC LENS-YCLOPEDIA >> < < BACK TO CHAPTER IIID - CINEMA LENS (2X) DAMAGE AND SERVICING Just to be clear: all the anamorphics taken into account for this research are no longer in the making. The last batch, for the digital video market, was discontinued around the year 2000. Before these, most of them come from sometime between 1960 and 1980, for 8mm or 16mm projectors and cameras. Due to the fact that people are so curious about them and all the weirdness involved in putting them to use, a great number of lenses go through multiple different owners over a short amount of time. Not to mention those which were kept stored away for decades in less than adequate conditions and have suffered with humidity, heat and fungus. A lens can present a multitude of problems. The most common ones are scratches and fungus but there’s also glass separation (when the cement between glass blocks grows weaker and they start to fall apart from one another), cleaning marks – which can ruin image contrast -, and many others: focusing can become stiff, threads might crack or bend, screws and bolts get lost, plastic parts break, I think you got the idea… It’s quite common that a recently purchased anamorphic requires some servicing, polishing, recoating or collimating. In many cases the lens is still working good, but these procedures bring its quality up sensibly. When I bought a LOMO Foton-A, it had to go through a lot of mods – mount replacement, declick the aperture, general cleaning and gear installing. The chosen one for the job was Olexandr Kalynychenko, a specialist in russian cinema lenses based in Ukraine. Communication was always in english and Olex is always very clear and straight with the things he informs and suggests, sending pictures and explaining every single detail including the costs for the operation and if it’s a good investment or not. Using myself as an example, we had a lot of talk about how we could adapt the anamorphic front support to work with 15mm rails (light rig standard), in which I sent him ideas and he also gave me his input. We ended up with such a practical solution that he decided to make one for himself as well and offer it to future customers. LOMO Foton-A with custom 15mm rails support. During the servicing process he also sent me a couple pictures of the disassembled lens pointing out a small plastic piece that was partially cracked. He said that the lens would still work as it was, but the thing could snap at any moment. He offered to make me a new one and gave me his price. I decided not to take chances with a small plastic piece messing up the lens and asked him to replace it. The pictures below are the exact ones he sent me. The Foton-A wasn’t the only lens that gave me trouble. My original Iscorama came with its front glass very messed up. After some questions and tips at EOSHD Anamorphic Forum I shipped the lens to John Van Stelten at Colorado, USA. John is the guy responsible for Focal Point Lens, and before ISCO closed its doors, he was the man officially responsible for all fixes and repairs on ISCO glass in the USA. Communication was quick, we exchanged a couple messages and I showed him the problem using a couple pictures. He explained me his theory about the damage and gave me instructions on how to check if it wasn’t too serious as well as a price for polishing the external surface of the glass and recoating, but could only be totally sure of the process once the lens got to his hands. On his message after receiving the package and taking a closer look at it he pointed out other problems and the fact the he couldn’t fix them: a deeper scratch in the rear element and the torn off focus stopper (this was explained in Chapter IIIB – Iscoramas (1.5x)). There are some pictures to compare the lens before and after shipping it for servicing at Chapter VB – Isocramas – Episode 02. In both cases – LOMO and Iscorama – the servicing wasn’t cheap, but it was way cheaper than I expected (living in Brazil gets you thinking awful things about the price of things), and even cheaper than trying to find a new, perfect model of the same lenses. If you have a defective lens and it did cost you some serious cash, trying to fix it is a much better option than just giving up hope. In order to make this task easier, here’s a list I’ve put together with reputable “lens doctors”. I feel the need to repeat that I only had personal experience with Olex and John but the others are tips and suggestions from other anamorphic users who had lenses fixed by these guys. ANAMORPHIC IN GENERAL Super 16, Inc (New York, USA) – Bernie O’Doherty fixes and collimates anamorphic lenses. According to him, a slight 1/64 to 1/32 of a degree off in alignment can mean the difference between a perfect image and one that needs f/4-5.6 to look ok. And customers ares used to this low quality when it comes to anamorphics! Of course, some lenses have design flaws that prevent perfect images, but the great majority of lenses – anamorphics included – can benefit from good servicing. Redstan always says wonders about Bernie too, that he fixes lenses since the 70s. contact info: bernie@super16inc.com ISCORAMAS Focal Point Lens (Colorado, USA) – John Van Stelten was the official tech assistance for ISCO in the United States until the company was bought by Schneider. John has seen a lot of Iscoramas. He’s one of the few techs who offer polishing and recoating. It’s not cheap and can be risky but in many cases it’s the only way to completely kill any trace of damage to the coatings or to the glass. He uses an autocollimator, which is an essential tool to reassemble lenses properly. contact info: john@focalpointlens.com LOMOS Olex Camera Services (Ukraine) – Olex is amazing. His messages are always clear and show that he A LOT about any lens you might need some more information. If you have questions, shoot him an email, I’m pretty sure he’ll tell you what you need to know, and quickly. contact info: olex.camera@gmail.com RafCamera (Bielorussia) – Rafael is a businessman. When LOMOs were first coming to the DSLR market he was the first one to grab the opportunity and sell a great deal of lenses and accessories. He currently still sells some old accessories and makes custom gear for LOMOs as well (adapters, gears, levers). He has a good reputation at eBay and can provide you with some ideas of where to look when seeking specific parts for lenses. contact info: support@westernbid.com One thing is key when walking the path of servicing you lenses: patience. Every single piece is fagile and the adjustments are quite delicate. Besides, if you pick a decent guy to fix your lens, he’s very like to have a queue before you because of his good work that many other people want. TO CHAPTER IIIF – DIOPTERS, OR CLOSE-UPS >> < < BACK TO CHAPTER IIIC - DOUBLE FOCUS (2X) D – CINE LENSES (2X) The final group of anamorphics described here: the best was saved for last. Anamorphic Cine Lenses still exist in great numbers abroad (remember, this article was written in Brazil), and by 2012-2013, are being announced by many major optics developers (Cooke, Zeiss, Scorpio, Angènieux and Hawk) for cameras like RED, Panavision and Alexa. Sadly, for this work, a single cinema lens reaches tens of thousands of dollars and falls outside the definition of “high quality for affordable prices”. I won’t go over them in detail also because there’s one single anamorphic Hawk kit in São Paulo (probably the only one in Brazil) and a couple of its lenses are in bad condition. As presented in Chapter II – Introduction, the cinema anamorphic lens goal is to double the amount of image captured on film so there’s not much math required to figure their stretch of 2x. Currently Hawk makes some with 1.33x stretch but all the others (old and new) have a stretch factor of 2x. These lenses have no quirks and “buts” when it comes to usable aperture and close focus. Among the best options at low prices (between US800 and US$4000) are LOMOs, designed and manufactured at the technological apex of Soviet Union. There are two main series of prime lenses: Squarefronts and Roundfronts and their names already hint how they look. Most common mounts are also two, OCT-18 and OCT-19. OCT-18 is the oldest of the two and it’s the russian version for the international Arri Standard Mount, just a tad bigger. Lenses with this mount go deep into the camera and twist inside the mount itself due to a locking pin which acts as a focusing mechanism. This results in a very short distance between the rear glass and the camera sensor, preventing its use in cameras that have mirrors inside, working properly only with mirrorless models, like Panasonic’s GH series, BlackMagic Designs and now many of the Sony Alpha series. OCT-19 mount is also the russian version for another international standard, Arri PL, a little larger as well. Came after OCT-18 and replaced it for being sturdier and easier to handle. The curious part of this story is that both mounts (OCT-18 and OCT-19) were developed from cameras captured during World War II and redesigned so the russian lenses wouldn’t work in cameras other than Soviet Union’s. Arri PL and OCT-19 side by side comparison. It’s fairly easy to find lenses with both kinds of mounts. OCT-18 go for lower prices, but both are extremely cheaper than any non-russian anamorphic cinema lenses. Squarefronts are older, from 1960-70 and their look is unmistakable, its front is, literally, square. Every lens features the acronym NAS (HAC, cyrillic) which stands for anamorphic attachment, pointing out that these lenses are composed by two distinct optical blocks, a spherical one and an anamorphic one, similar to the many other options presented so far in these posts. Soviet’s greatest innovation is a combined focus system in which a bolt connect both optical blocks and the focus scale in them is absolutely identical. This way, by focusing with the anamorphic focus ring the user automatically adjusts the spherical block’s focus as well. It’s a very simple solution and beats every other idea so far in terms of efficiency. The biggest issue of having separate parts is the need to have a proper support system that won’t let the anamorphic block topple over and crash on the ground. There are some decent solutions and ideas over the web of how to achieve this safety and still keep gear to a minimum with great mobility. LOMO 35HAC4-1 50mm T/2,5 OCT-18. An interesting aspect of these designs is that some of the anamorphic fronts are compatible with more than one spherical back. The most common case is having a single anamorphic front for 75mm and 50mm backs or 50mm and 35mm backs, lowering the cost for a complete set and also making our camera bags lighter! On the following decades came the Roundfronts, BAS (БAC, in cyrillic) acronym, meaning anamorphic block: the lens doesn’t split in half, it’s a single unit containing both spherical and anamorphic blocks and a single focus ring. It’s an anamorphic lens that works as… a regular lens, without quirks. For this basic reason they reach much much higher prices than their older squarefront sisters. Their mount is usually OCT-19 or Arri PL (when upgraded to work with modern cameras). Many professional cinematographers like using Roundfront sets nowadays because they have a very different look when compared to modern anamorphic lenses, which tend to be clinical and strile, without any personality. Squarefront and Roundfront LOMOs side by side. Among these prime series LOMO also developed a couple zoom lenses, harder to find and steeper to buy. Between these, the easiest to afford is the Foton-A, which works with squarefront’s combined focus mechanism and can be split in spherical and anamorphic blocks. Foton-A 37-140mm T/4.4 OCT-19 split anamorphic and spherical blocks and +1 diopter. There are also single block zooms, like roundfronts, but these are almost impossible to be found for sale. When they show up online, prices are always above US$10.000.

Even some more years ahead, around the 1980s, a couple rear anamorphic adapters were developed and released to the market. These were designed to work with a very specific group of lenses, the super-zooms. Lenses that ranged from 20-25mm up to 100-250mm. The most popular ones were Angènieux’s and Cooke’s, which shared very similar designs. The adapter was to be attached behind the last optical element of the lens and squeezed the image right before it reached the film.

Shiga Rear Anamorphic.

Russians wouldn’t stay behind and, as they had lenses “inspired” by the same designs, soon made their own rear adapters as well. On their case, just for a couple LOMOs, and each adapter worked only with a specific super-zoom.

Rear anamorphic adapter for LOMO 35OPF-18-1 20-120mm T/3.3 OCT-19.

As these adapters came between the back of the lens and the film strip, they automatically caused some light loss – usually 1 f/stop – and an “increase” in image size, in a similar effect to an tele-converter.

The easiest way to wrap your head around this idea is to imagine the whole thing as a projection system. If the screen is close to the projector, your image is brighter and smaller. As you increase the distance between them, the image becomes bigger and some of it falls off the screen. So, when this kind of adapter is installed, the focal length of the lens doubles. A 25-250mm becomes 50-500mm, a 20-120mm becomes 40-240mm and so on. The greatest advantage here is that even though the focal length has been doubled, due to the 2x squeeze, this increase is only noticeable on the vertical axis. It’s quite confusing to explain this with words, so I’m calling some images to help me right below.

Spherical 20mm.

Spherical 40mm, 2x tele-converter.

It’s easy to see that, even with a longer lens (40mm compared to 20mm) the image loss happens only in the vertical axis. With these little accessories the need to make anamorphic super-zooms was dead, providing a quick way to swap between spherical and anamorphic version of a single lens.

Sure thing, a rear anamorphic adapter gets rid of flares and oval bokeh, which are some of the most desired features nowadays – features despised by most DOPs during the 1970-80s – so a lot of folks today wouldn’t be interested in them. But for those who only want to shoot CinemaScope without dealing with too much optical noise (flares and bokeh) nor discard image through cropping, the rear adapter is the best way to go.

During my research around Brazil I had a great deal of help and support from my colleague Gustavo Fattori when we had the chance to take a look at a Hawk set at a local rental facility (Rentalcine, São Paulo). We used a RED Epic for testing. It was a wide set – 35mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm and 135mm – of Hawk B-Series, with 2x stretch.

The 35mm is a behemoth: the front glass measures almost the same as a dessert plate and the lens weighs over 3kg. Edge distortion is very strong as a wide-angle lens usually does, but even more prominent due to the bent glass. Right after this one, we tried the 50mm, which had a loose back element inside the lens and required servicing. Lens flare, in both cases, wasn’t too fancy and both were also pretty dark (even though they were marked as T/2.2). We ended up not even trying the other ones.

RED Epic (5K Ana) + Hawk B-Series 35mm T/2.2 Anamorphic.

Another curious piece of information regarding this set is the “B-Series” naming once Hawk’s official website only mentions C-Series and V-Series. I found only one single reference, in a forum, saying that this is a less reliable and cheaper design, developed exclusively for the Indian cinema market and not made in great numbers or anywhere else in the world. This gets me wondering: how the heck did an Indian cine lens kit ended up in Brazil? What kind of deals this thing went through? Anyway, this is just me, wondering the story behind random stuff.

Even defective, dark and questionable in terms of quality, these are already much superior to any projection lenses, mini-DV adapters, Iscoramas and even LOMO Squarefronts. Its quality is only matched by Roundfronts, but stil stays way back when compared to the anamorphics Hollywood uses nowadays.

TO CHAPTER IIIE – DAMAGE AND SERVICING >>

Matte Painting foi uma matéria bem aleatória. As aulas começaram muito bem, e no meio do processo eu peguei birra de alguma coisa que ainda não sei – a idéia, o conceito, a execução, meu trabalho, não faço idéia – mas fui deixando de lado, enrolando e fazendo esforço mínimo até agora de manhã. Hoje é o último dia para entrega de trabalhos. Tinha uma porrada de coisa pra fazer e tirar o atraso, outras que a gente tinha feito em aula, semanas atrás, e eu não lembrava direito como reproduzia, enfim, só emoção!

Pra começar, o que é, exatamente, esse assignment? A idéia aqui era construir uma imagem 2D no Photoshop, quebrada em camadas bem definidas, seguindo o conceito de “city on the edge”, e depois usar essas camadas já divididas pra criar paralaxe e sensação de movimento tridimensional através de projeções no Maya. Para a minha, achei que seria legal ter uma coisa no deserto, com tons quentes e fugir do tradicional montanhas, castelos e neve.

O primeiro passo era fazer um documento-referência com imagens que seguissem o estilo que a gente queria alcançar no final do projeto. É um arquivo gigantesco, tá aqui embaixo.

A partir dele, cada um tinha que fazer cinco sketches bem simples, pequenos, em preto e branco, com variações de composição para a cena.

Depois, com o feedback recebido em aula, escolher dois desses e acrescentar cor na mistura.

Nesse passo eu mandei os meus pra pedir feedback nas cores e o Tom mandou de volta essa outra composição, misturando elementos variados de tudo que eu já tinha apresentado até aqui. Gostei MUITO da imagem dele, e acabei seguindo com essa como base até o final.

Em seguida, começamos a empilhar fotos por cima dos desenhos até chegar na imagem final, que seria convertida em 3D. Minha evolução foi em grandes passos, como dá pra ver abaixo.

Comecei a mexer no Photoshop pra fechar a composição da minha imagem e recortar todos os elementos direitinho – pelo menos esse pedaço eu já tava mais encaminhado. Não que não tenha mudado um monte, mas eu já sabia o que tinha que fazer. Fui começando a me divertir fazendo a parada, e quando chegou a hora de jogar tudo pro Maya, que as pecinhas foram se encaixando, fiquei decepcionado comigo mesmo por não ter começado a fazer esse assignment mais cedo.

Do Maya eu voltei pro Photoshop pra arrumar um mooonte de detalhes, a fim de deixar o movimento mais fluido, e fiquei nesse dueto Maya-Photoshop por algumas horinhas. Por fim, terminei de montar o quebra cabeça, criei uma depth pass rapidamente, já usando a estrutura existente – ao invés de usar o padrão de depth pass, que ia foder meus planos todos e mandei renderizar. Então, com as layers separadas bonitinhas, no Maya cada uma vai para um plano diferente e elas são espaçadas entre si para criar a sensação de movimento. Tá aqui uma imagem angulada de como é essa estrutura.

E aí vem a animação, pro resultado final: