Filming Type: SPHERICAL, What Does That Mean

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chuck C, Jun 18, 2002.

  1. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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  2. Hendrik

    Hendrik Supporting Actor

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    ...do you have a still camera? a video camera? a Polaroid camera? a MAXXUM SLR? an ancient Kodak Brownie? an old 'fold-out' camera inherited from your grandfather? a Canon IXUS? a digital camera? an old 8mm or Super 8mm or a 16mm movie camera?...
    ...all of these use(d) 'spherical' optics ... the latter can be short-focal-length [a.k.a. 'wide-angle'], extreme short-focal-length [a.k.a. 'fish-eye'], all the way up to long- and very-long-focal-length [a.k.a. 'tele'] as well as multi-focal-length [a.k.a. 'zoom'] lenses) ... as opposed to the anamorphic(*) optics used to film CinemaScope or "Filmed in Panavision" (or DyaliScope, or FranScope, or SuperScope, or WarnerScope, or...) movies...
    (*) http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/widescreen/squeeze.htm
    . . . [​IMG] . . .
     
  3. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Spherical lenses are mostly used on films shot in the 'Super 35' process. A good way to spot if a movie was shot using spherical lenses is to look for oval shaped light flares that appear when a light shines directly into the camera during a movie. Films shot in Panavision that uses anamorphic lenses, produces a different type of light flare, in those films it's a bright blue streak of light that shines across the screen. The Die Hard films exhibit this a lot.
     
  4. Hendrik

    Hendrik Supporting Actor

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    "Spherical lenses are mostly used on films shot in the 'Super 35' process...."
    ...the above statement is true enough, except that the word 'mostly' should be scrapped... as stated in my previous post any optics that are not anamorphic optics are, in fact spherical optics... and one of the main reasons given (by Directors and DPs) for using the 'Super 35' (or, for that matter, 'Super 16') process is precisely to avoid having to use anamorphic optics in order to create a wide (1.40:1) image on what is, in essence, a narrow film format...
    ...all movies made before the advent - in 1952 - of CinemaScope (and similar, competing processes, including - I think - the USSR's SovScope) were filmed with spherical optics, from the early 1890s test scenes coming from Edison's lab all the way up to "The Robe" and "How To Marry a Millionnaire" by way of "The Great Train Robbery", "The Phantom Of The Opera", "The Blue Angel", "Gone With The Wind", "The Best Years Of Our Lives", "A Streetcar Named Desire"... spherical optics continue to be used for all movies that are not specifically 'true' widescreen (by 'true widescreen' I mean movies with AR 2.0 or wider - 1.66:1 and 1.85:1 don't really count), regardless of whether the 'Super 35' (or 'Super 16') process is used or not... they are also used for many (but by no means all!) 'true' widescreen movies...
    "...A good way to spot if a movie was shot using spherical lenses is to look for oval shaped light flares that appear when a light shines directly into the camera during a movie..."
    ...sorry, no cigar!
    ...the 'oval shaped light flares' indicate that anamorphic optics were used to film the scene...
    (signed) Passing Pedant
    . . . [​IMG] . . .
     
  5. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Hendric,
    thanks for the clearification, but I am POSITIVE that i've seen either oval or round light flares when watching a movie shot in 'Super 35', i'm sure of it.
     
  6. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Spherical simply means the film was shot with an ordinary round lens.

    A spherical lens doesn't distort in any way and is used for open matte, academy frame, and normal 65mm films.

    A good example is Cast Away. The film was shot at 1.33:1 for all non-SFX shots using a spherical lens. The SFX scenes were probably shot on VistaVision, which also use sperical lenses, but the film is run through the camera horizontally. 1.85:1, 1.33:1, 1.66:1, 65mm films with 2.21:1 aspect ratios, VistaVision, and even Cinerama used spherical lenses. These lenses are NOT used only for super-35. ANY film not filmed in Panavision or a scope format was filmed with a sperical lens.

    A scope or anamorphic film (2.35:1) uses a special lens which distorts the horizontal image. It squeezes the image horizontally on film. It takes another anamorphic lens to unsqueeze the picture.
     
  7. Hendrik

    Hendrik Supporting Actor

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    John Williamson: ...ahh... you may be 'sure of it' but you're still wrong! wrong!! wrong!!!
    . . . [​IMG] . . .
     
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  9. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  10. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Hendric,
    as you can see, others have seen them as well.

    Why so heavy handed in your post? You've got a wink smiley, but the excessive exclamation points are not necessary.
     
  11. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  12. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    While we're on the topic, what exactly does it mean when something is said to be shot "flat"? Not in terms of 3-D, but it's often used in conjunction with spherical....are they synonymous?
     
  13. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  14. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    exciting, thanks all

    so which is "better"? anamorph. or sph. ?
     
  15. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  16. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    A couple of problems with Anamorphic lenses can be depth of field, light pickup (amount of light needed), and of course the obvious bending of lines near the edges of the frame.
    A better way to spot spherical vs anamorphic is to look at the cigarette burns. You burn a circle on the frame (unless you aren't so good with the cigarette [​IMG] ) and if you then show that frame anamorphically that true circle on the cell will be streched wide into an oval.
    If it is shown flat then the geometry of the circle remains unchanged.
    Which is better really makes no sense to ask once you understand it. It is a lot like asking which is better for playing music, guitar or piano.
    What is true is that the knee-jerk aversion to non 2.35 films around here lately is getting a bit out of hand. While HTF wants OAR and it's fun to utilize your widescreen set, 2.35, 1.85, etc have no inherent "betterness" over other ARs. It's all about what the director is trying to show and how he wants it shown.
    Yet the LBX/OAR fight has made some people into widescreen monsters. If Fincher wanted to do a 1.37 black and white film tomorrow I'd be all for it, or at least as interested as always in his work.
     
  17. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  18. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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  19. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  20. Seth Paxton

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