The Anamorphic Cookbook – Draft.

December 11, 2015

I was drawing my plans for next year and started to think a good (better?) Anamorphic Guide might be something interesting to work on. EOSHD’s guide is barely ok and now that I look at my own guide, it has its flaws plus there’s a ton of things I learned AFTER writing it that could benefit future readers. Also, the game has changed with the arrival of FM, Rangefinder and Rectilux, totally warping whatever was the standard for double focus and projection lenses. We have more options to choose from instead of using adapters all the way, SLR Magic is making their anamorphic lenses, DSO is coming up with the Olivia, John is always a little box of surprises and so on. 2016 might be the year when Iscoramas officially lose their throne.

So I was thinking of starting such enterprise. I have a rough idea of most chapters and you can see the list at the bottom of this post, but if I’m working on my non-existent budget, this can take a while or not happen at all. Some friends suggested me to start reviewing other kinds of gear so I can get sponsors for the Youtube channel but, you know, I’m not that much into other gear! HAHAHA! These lenses are my thing and if you guys can help me stick to it I will continue to deliver good and new content on a constant basis.

Here’s a brief story of my life so you understand what I mean when I say I have a non-existent budget for this. I’m a film school graduate from Brazil – University of São Paulo -, and the Anamorphic on a Budget guide was my graduation work because I fell in love with the lenses and had the hardest time finding information about them online. Information in Portuguese was NONE, people literally didn’t know what anamorphics were. After that I moved to Vancouver, Canada, where I still am and went through Vancouver Film School’s 3D Animation and VFX program. During this year I got depressed and lost 25 pounds – you can see me getting them back through the first reviews – but being here motivated me to translate the guide to English. I also met a LOT more people interested in anamorphics compared to what I had in Brazil, and started to make the videos, which also taught me plenty new things – about the lenses, about having an eye for image quality, about talking to a camera (that was one of the hardest parts) and about what interests the audience. Now I’m starting a Creative Writing program at Langara College and will freelance with camera work and VFX to pay for school and get food on the table. I still have money coming from Brazil, but the conversion rate is almost 3:1, so it’s more of a last resort.

Back to the book, I was thinking of two very different paths. Path number one would be Kickstarter for this project alone which is a one-time thing. Be a backer and get a digital copy plus version updates, whenever they’re available. The second path is Patreon, and it entails a monthly payment for anyone who’d like to support my research and weekly videos since I’ve already spent some money on them (larger Dropbox account for the original RAW chart files, clearing customs for the SLR Magic gear, Rapido clamps, a ton of step rings that were only used once, a larger bandwidth plan for the website due to increased traffic, renting lenses once or twice, replacing my tripod that snapped in half and that kind of thing) and having a better budget will allow me to dedicate more time and put more effort into the project, pushing for more than one post per week, going into subjects other than lens reviews such as “WHY SHOOT ANAMORPHIC?”, or how the lenses work, how diopters work, more test shots and experiments, you get the idea. Plus, supporters will be able to provide input about what they want to see reviewed next, first chance to buy whatever gear I decide to sell – yes, this will be happening, there’s no need for me to have 30+ lenses while attending to Writing school – and some other cool stuff (like oval apertures, custom t-shirts and whatever I can come up with). The point is neither the channel nor the blog will be paid and there will be a free content anyway. The goal is to increase the amount and quality of content!

Later on, if the book succeeds, I’m considering a fancy printed version, since it will look and feel awesome, but I need to get the content going first!

Rough chapter list and what they will include initially. Very likely to be expanded.

– Origins
– Hollywood (failed attempts / it’s a hit!)
– What is the “cinematic look” (flares, bokeh, artifacts, aspect ratio)
– Recent/Famous uses and extra material (True Detective, Total Recall, Interviews, Bordwell, etc)
– Fetish vs Storytelling (flare and bokeh for themselves vs using these elements to strengthen a story)

Anamorphic Storytelling
– Wider frame composition
– Negative space
– Cinematic experience (inherited epicness)
– more in this chapter. needs research and not of the technical kind.

Lenses vs Adapters/Attachments
(LOTS of individual lenses info in this part, I plan on renting a few cine lenses for tests and all, plus all I’ve gathered from the published and unpublished reviews).
– Renting vs owning gear
– Cine lenses
– Adapters (1.33x, 1.5x, 2x, odd values such as 1.75x, 1.9x, 1.42x)
– Taking lenses and their effects on the anamorphic (russians, Zeiss, Canon L, zooms vs primes, light loss, why is the helios 44 so amazing? taking lens sets)

Diopters and Achromats
– Visual differences (benefits from using diopters, added shaprness)
– How diopters “affect” stretch and bokeh for the better (“the diopter look”)
– Single Focus Solutions (or Variable Strength Diopters): how do they work? FM, Rectilux, Rangefinder comparisons.

– Cinemorph filter (both the front one and the Sigma version)
– How to make a flare filter
– Modding the Helios 44, Pentacon 29, 135mm, etc (aperture mods)
– DSO lenses (vs MotionSix, etc)
– Faking in post (crop, wide angle distortion, optical flares)

– Cameras (GH4, 5D3, 50D, BMPCC, Ursa, RED…)
– Monitors and EVFs with anamorphic desqueeze

– Destretching (AE, Premiere, FCP, Nuke, Photoshop)
– Dealing with mumps (irregular stretch along the frame)
– Corner Pin (to fix mild misalignment)
– Tracking and compositing (VFX post)