isco

A Look Through Anamorphic

I've always been inspired by movies and their lighting, the drama, the widescreen perspective. When I dive into a shoot I always see it as widescreen or that 2.39:1 aspect ratio but always thought to get that you just cropped your image down and gave it the black caption bars. And you could...but you wouldn't be getting that look that you saw in the movies. Like, how'd they get that shallow depth of field on such a wide shot or smaller details like why is the bokeh oval instead of spherical? Or how are they getting such a wide shot on a 35mm film?

Then I read how DSLR videographers were using anamorphic lenses and adapters to create just like the classics. I was instantly interested because I thought why couldn't you do that for still images as well. Found out some were. I had to try it. Upon reading more I found out to get that wide shot in the movies anamorphic lenses are shaped oval inside. A quote from photographer Sam Hurd explains it best about how it works, "(Anamorphics) Literally squish the image horizontally using a special lens so it could take up more vertical space, fitting a wider image on the finite area available to them on 35mm film. They could then un-squish the footage in post using a lens with the exact opposite amount of squeeze, returning the proportions to normal. The resulting effect is a panoramic aspect ratio that has the depth of field (DoF) of a longer telephoto lens but with a wider FOV."

What follows are my first attempts at using anamorphic on a portrait shoot.