Monthly Archives:

October 2018

Anamorphic

Hypergonar 16 ST

October 21, 2018

I found this Hypergonar in the first used camera store I got inside, in Japan. It’s a French projection lens by the father of anamorphics! Use the code “Tito” for 15% off on the Phantom LUTs.

USEFUL LINKS:

All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

Tito Ferradans here today with a story from Japan. I spent all of April in Japan – which is also why I stopped posting around that time – working with a friend in a very cool project that involved tons of vintage lenses and exotic optics.

One day we went out to hunt for cheap glass and my friend was telling me how he’s always been on the lookout for anamorphics on his usual vintage shops, but never found anything, I’m telling him how I had a similar experience back in Brazil. We walk into the first store, Lemon Camera, in Ginza. I glance into the shelves and go like:

“Hey, dude. That’s anamorphic. Right here.” And I point to this Hypergonar. It wasn’t super cheap (Lemon Camera is pricy!), but still much cheaper than eBay, so he gets it right away. That’s how I got the chance to review this scope.

. Focus was a bit stiff on this one, so if I didn’t have JSD’s FVD I’d be in a sea of trouble. My biggest challenge shooting with this rig was holding it steady because of the overall length and weight. Image quality is ok when stopped down, still showing a fair amount of blooming – this is us at Miyajima, aka Deer Island. We thought it was a good idea to climb this huge hill (Mt Misen), and we almost missed the boat back! The Hypergonar is quite soft when shooting wide open giving it all a somewhat dreamy look, and the flares are pretty trippy. I think I like this footage mostly because of colors than because of the image quality. Oh, and this was using the XYZ LUT, from Joel Famularo. You can find a link in the description to get them. Use the code “Tito” for a 15% discount.

This is only one of the many variants of Hypergonars out there. They were made in France by the almighty Henri Chrétien, the father of anamorphic lenses. It’s definitely a projection lens. The metal walls are super thick, adding a ton of weight to the setup. The lens weighs around 680g! Focus comes down to 1.5m and it’s suuuper double focus.

It doesn’t have back or front threads, which means you’re gonna need clamps to mount it and align. The weight of it throws stress on the taking lens, so use lens support. I mentioned I had a FVD for single focusing and in order to connect that, I had to take out the front of the barrel of the Hypergonar using a tiny screwdriver. This also locked focus.

Going prices on eBay are all over the place, from 400 to 650 bucks. I feel anything in that range is still too much for what this lens does and the hassle you’ll go through to shoot with it.

Image quality is never ok wide open, even using proper diopters, which might be a case of alignment, but it sharpens up a lot stopped down. Edges are shady, and if you can shoot 4:3 and avoid edge areas entirely, go for it.

Flares are maybe the only remarkable thing about this lens. They show this “infinity” symbol that I’ve seen very few times and that could be a cool thing to make your footage stand out. But then if you’re relying in only flares to stand out, I think you’re in trouble. Cool, still.

Vignetting is not terrible. Unusable at 50mm unless you crop some more in post, but almost clears full frame at 85mm, which means you can clear 2.4:1 around 65mm. 135 is completely clear. I’m yet to see something vignette at 135mm.

Overall this is not a bad scope, but it’s faaaar from being in my list of favorites – or even my list of second runners. This lens shows a lot of the traits I dislike about projection lenses: It’s unnecessarily heavy and long, offers no help to mounting and using filters, and delivers just acceptable images.

At least I had the chance to play with it and you get to learn from that experience. You’re welcome. Hahaha. I’ll take a like as payment. Thank you so much. On that note, if you like getting free information about anamorphics and dodging the process of buying lenses you’re not gonna love, you should subscribe to the channel and check out the collection of videos that came before this one. I’m Tito Ferradans, and I’ll see you next week.

Anamorphic

Unbranded 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter

October 14, 2018

The Century 1.33x was one of the first lenses I tested in this channel. How does this unbranded version compare to the Century? Someone should start making these again for cheap.

USEFUL LINKS:

All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

Hello ladies and gentlemen. Tito Ferradans here for a quick episode about an unbranded 1.33x adapter. This episode is brought to you by JSD, who shipped me this lens from Japan so I could try it out before parting with it. Here’s some footage:

In almost every aspect this adapter is a clone of the Century Optics 1.33x. They were made in multiple flavors: Soligor, Optex, Century and – apparently – unbranded too. It performs nicely when stopped down but again we start to see bokeh artifacting and loss of resolution on faster apertures if I’m not being smart with my diopters.

1.33x stretch is a great combo for 16:9 sensors, stretching out to perfect Cinemascope without requiring any crop. This one is super light, 170g, just under half a pound and very compact when compared to most adapters.

This is a fixed focus adapter, which means that you’ll rely heavily on diopters for getting anything closer than 4m (12ft) sharp. That whole “focus through” concept is nonsense. Whenever you’re focusing with just the taking lens, you’re compromising your image quality. Get yourself a front clamp – or make one! – and use a cheap diopter kit with this one.

Mounting is easy, this lens has 52mm rear threads and it came with a 37-52mm adapter which I can only think it was meant to be used with handycams. While the Century has a screw-lock mechanism for alignment, this one relies on a rubber band type of thing, which was surprisingly reliable and fast to adjust on the go.

These used to sell for $300 when I got into anamorphics, then jumped to $500 and nowadays they go for $750. I think that’s a bit much, and their maximum value should be around $550 – ideally less. These unbranded versions are harder to come by on eBay but that’s no excuse for hiking the prices.

When it comes to image quality, the center is pretty decent at any aperture as long as you use proper diopters, but the edges are blown to garbage the wider you go, and recover a bit when stopped down. As most fixed focus adapters, this one also dislikes longer lenses and you can see the quality drop from 50 to 85mm and more on the 135mm.

Flares are a nice mix of blue and purple. Personally this is one of my favorite tones for flares. If SLR Magic was able to reproduce this instead of radioactive blue, they’d have a much better market acceptance.

The only aspect that this adapter outperformed the Century was vignetting – and I can’t quite point out why without having both to compare. While the Century can only clear down to 35mm on full frame, this one can go almost to 28mm, with very slight dark corners.

The ability to go wider with the taking lenses makes anamorphic distortion more pronounced in a good way – not the crazy warping you see on the Kowas or the Aivascope. I like this adapter, it’s super easy to use, small and light, and it brings out most of the anamorphic look. Pair it with an anamorfake and you’re set for bokeh, flares and distortion – the Pentacon 29, Mir 1B or Contax 35mm are all excellent candidates.

AFTER you subscribe and like this video, I’d love to hear your opinion about 1.33x adapters combined with anamorfakes for boosting up the look? What’s more important in a rig, size or stretch? On that reflecting note I’m ending this episode. I’m Tito Ferradans and I’ll see you next week.

Anamorphic

Bolex Moller 16/32/1.5x

October 7, 2018

The Bolex Moller 16/32/1.5x holds celebrity status among anamorphic adapters. It’s time to compare it to the very similar Moller 32/1.5x and see if the craze is justified.

USEFUL LINKS:

All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

Tito Ferradans here for a review that’s two in one. Earlier back this year Evan Burns was kind enough to let me have BOTH of his Moller lenses for a little bit while he didn’t need them. The fun part is that one was a Bolex Moller 16/32/1.5x and the other one was just Moller 32/1.5x. The footage that comes is from the Bolex Moller, but I shot technical comparisons with both lenses so you could see the differences.

WOW, this lens is sharp. As soon as I mounted it and went out to test I knew they were worth their high price. I used a Rectilux HCDNA to make the system single focus and due to the smaller size of the Bolex (especially when compared to 2x projection lenses), I almost couldn’t lock it to the HCDNA using the original screws, and benefited from reduced vignetting when compared to bigger scopes. I was able to easily run and gun and nail some pretty intense shots due to focus being so clear. By the way, do you also know anyone that bikes in the snow? Bokeh looks amazing and oval, which was a surprise due to the lesser 1.5x stretch factor and the flares are gorgeous. Aaah, can I keep one of these?

In years playing with anamorphics I had never actually seen one of these lenses. They’re fairly large, or at least larger than I expected, but not bulky. It’s one of those lenses that have the perfect size and weight for what they do. For reference, they weigh 370g each.

Focus throw is long, just like the Iscorama, almost full circle, and it comes down to just under 1m (3ft). Oddly enough, these ones extended when focused to infinity and became shorter at minimum focus. I’ve heard different stories from other users, so if you have any insight, please leave a comment below!

The back has non-standard threads, which require clamps. Redstan makes some fine clamps for the Bolex and Rapido also offers some great options. From there you can find your alignment through the flares. The front has regular 62mm threads, which saves you some money buying another clamp. Just step rings will do.

If you’re already in love and desperate for one of these, I have bad news. They only show up eventually and their prices are pretty high. The latest I saw was between $2000 and 2500, not too far behind of an Iscorama – even closer when you add the cost of a single focus solution.

Image quality of the Bolex is insane. This adapter goes hand in hand with any taking lens you pick, never hindering its resolving power, no matter the aperture. Corners are also quite good, as long as you don’t push it to vignetting. When we compare the Bolex to the Moller it’s easy to see the Bolex has better coatings and contrast, but IQ doesn’t change much between them.

Flares are purple/blue on the Bolex, which is quite sci-fi and modern, but not too much. This is like the exact opposite of the Iscorama in terms of color tone, but the same when it comes too mood. Due to different coatings, the Moller has neutral flares, which take on the color of your light source. Not a common trait these days and it’s directly related to the lesser contrast we saw in the previous test.

When it comes to vignetting, the two are the same, clearing dark corners just over 50mm on full frame. The Rectilux HCDNA makes vignetting a bit more intense, requiring slightly longer lenses to clear the entire shot. It’s not too bad, and you’ll be fine if you’re going for a 2.4:1 crop instead of the whole 2.66:1.

These are two of the best adapters I’ve ever played with, the Bolex taking the superior edge here over the Moller. I can understand why their users love them so much and the cult that exists around them. I wouldn’t think much if given the choice between a Kowa B&H and a Bolex Moller.

What would your pick be? After seeing this footage, are you still convinced that anamorphic has to be 2x stretch? Are we gonna see an even higher increase in the prices for the Mollers now? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Subscribe to the channel to be notified of new videos – like the comparison between Bolex and Iscorama that I have coming up – and like this video if it was useful to you! I’m Tito Ferradans and I’ll see you next week.

Day-to-Day

VIFF 2018

October 6, 2018

Since I moved from Brazil to Vancouver in 2014 Vancouver International Film Festival has been my most anticipated event every year. I always attend and watch all sorts of films. I work in film, so watching stories from places other than Hollywood, in languages other than English, on the theatres with lots of people is something I treasure immensely.

Two days ago I went to watch “Baikonur, Earth” with Ariana. It’s a film about a little town in Kazakhstan from where all Russian spaceships and satellites are launched. It’s a visual documentary so I didn’t see much of a “story” to it. Ariana didn’t like the film and I enjoyed lots of it – I like pretty visuals. Andrea Sorini, the director of the film was among the audience, so there was a little Q&A. Things got really interesting when one of the questions was something like:

“I’m from there, Baikonur. I grew up in that place and I came here tonight to relive a little bit of it. I was hoping you’d make me cry, but… You didn’t. You chose a very cold approach to the place and its culture. Having lived there, I can tell it’s one of the few places in the world I feel we, humans, exist as a species, as a civilization. People are happy and they celebrate lots of things, but your film doesn’t show that. What you chose to show is actually very different from the place actually is”.

An academic debate did not follow. The director focused that he was showing his perspective of the place and reinforcing that they had been there for only fifteen days to shoot the film and they didn’t quite have time to check out other things than the ones they were specifically looking for.

After we left the theatre, Ari and I argued for the longest time about which side was right: the filmmaker with a vision, trying to convey a feeling with images and sounds, or the guy who lived there most of his life. I went down the path that any film, by choosing to show something, automatically chooses to NOT show something else. There is no film that covers all perspectives. Not even the news do that these days.

The next day we went to watch “Amateurs” (Amatörer).

//SPOILERS AHEAD.

“Amateurs” is a Swedish film about the small town of Lafors which is candidate to receive a big foreign investment. In order to secure they’re going to be picked, they decide to make a film showcasing what makes Lafors special. They have no budget though, so they go to the local school and encourage the students to make films showing why their town is great and deserving of the big investment.

Obviously the student films don’t cut it as what the city council is expecting, so they bring in an experienced filmmaker to make the video. The movie is then intercut between the pro – and the city council – making the showcase of what they value in Lafors, and these two students that won’t give up on making their own film about the town.

As this has to tie with the beginning of this post somehow, at the end of “Amateurs” we get to the same discussion we witnessed the previous day. One of the films looks great, everyone enjoys, is short and pretty, and it shows an idealized version of the city. The other one is five hours long, but it shows everyone’s perspectives. It succeeds, to some extent, but most of the audience gives up and leaves before the end.

One member of the city council is the only person – besides the girls – that stays in the theatre until the end, and he is very touched by their work.

//SPOILERS END.

Throughout the film there are discussions about being foreign, discrimination, class differences, what is the truth, and how much of cinema is far removed from reality, as well as how boring and bland reality is. “Amateurs” also addresses the frequent question of “who are we trying to reach with this film?”, whenever we’re making something new. All of these themes are a big deal for me.

“Amateurs” made me cry hard at the end and it provided me food for thought for months to come – much of it because I had watched “Baikonur, Earth” the night before and engaged in a giant argument about it.

Films influence how I see the world. They offer me different perspectives and make me change how I make my own films. One day I’ll get one of mine up there and I can only hope to inspire others the way they inspire me.

I love that I have the chance to experience this every year thanks to VIFF

Anamorphic

Phantom LUTs

October 3, 2018

I’ve been fiddling with color correction more these days, and a lot of it is thanks to these LUTs that make my life so easy. Use the code “Tito” for 15% off on the Phantom LUTs.

USEFUL LINKS:

All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

Tito Ferradans here for a quick word on color correction. When I first started this channel, I was shooting everything RAW on the 5D3 in order to achieve maximum dynamic range and flexibility in post. That was a hell of a workflow. When I switched to the Sony A7s2, I started out shooting SLog for the world tests, but after spending too much time to get consistently good looks on the footage, I decided to switch over to Andrew Reid’s color profiles (the EOSHD Color) when shooting the world tests.

Then I was recently approached by Joel Farmularo and he invited me to try out his set of LUTs designed for Sony’s SLog colors and aiming to achieve a style matching of an Alexa or a Film look. Quite a bold beginning. So I switched back to SLog (still using some of EOSHD color’s settings) and shot footage for weeks, using these LUTs as a base for color correction – some of it has already showed up in the reviews, like the Letus PRO, some of it is still to come.

I had this extreme opinion that LUTs always give you the same look – with the teals and the oranges that the whole world is tired of seeing – but it turns out it this was not to be blamed on all LUTs! With Joel’s Phantom LUTs I can quickly get a good starting point for my slog footage and go from there. They all have a common thread among them, either the Alexa pack or the film pack, but each one has its own subtle personality while still grounded to a neutral style.

My ONE favorite thing about these LUTS, besides the time-saving aspect, is that they deal wonderfully well with Sony’s blown highlights. When you clip something in Slog, it looks bad. It looks horribly bad. I’ve always had to fight hard to make the clipped areas look smooth and match the neighboring non-clipped pixels. The Phantom LUTs address this issue pretty well – Joel calls these blown-out highlights “candle wax”, and I like his choice of words – giving it a sort of soft glow/diffusion, like what you’d get with a bit of filtration and non-clipped highlights. :)

I’ve had a few people message me asking about them, so I figured I’d make this video and forward all your requests towards Joel. You can find links to his website where you can get the LUTs as well as a discount code that helps me too – since the more partnerships I make, the more this channel grows. So go on, check them out, watch Joel’s videos about them and incorporate these to your own footage!

Let me know what you think of the looks, hit the like button and post any questions in the comments below! This is part of my effort into diversifying from ANAMORPHIC CONTENT only! Before you go you should hit subscribe and check out my other – anamorphic! – videos. I’m Tito Ferradans and I’ll see you soon.