The Anamorphic / Super35 Discussion

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Lev-S, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. Lev-S

    Lev-S Second Unit

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    I have always heard that one of the central purposes of shooting Super35 was to cater to the pan and scan home video version, as well as to keep cost low. After watching Cabin Fever, I was very impressed visually and was curious as to how Eli Roth shot the movie. The answer is this: Anamorphic Panavision! Now I wasn't a big fan of Cabin Fever, but if budget is a concern when shooting anamorphic, how is it that a $1,500,000 movie (for a frame of reference, Matrix Reloaded was shot Super35 and had a budget of $127,000,000) spent the extra money to shoot their low-budget horror film for the big-screen? Maybe this says something about Eli Roth? I'm baffled!
     
  2. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    This is a subject that has in the past brought out some ‘true believers’, but I’ll try to give a unbiased perspective (I have no axe to grind one way or another).

    I would not expect that very many movies are made in Super35 simply because removing the matte allowed for an easier translation to P&S. Don’t forget that it is additional work for the director, DP and cameramen to make sure that an unmated version looks acceptable. Besides, the P&S aftermarket is likely not that large compared to returns on the film as a whole. The more so when it comes down to how much less it costs to produce a P&S version for the aftermarket from Super35 than from an anamorphic version.

    Super35 does use less of the film (than anamorphic) meaning that there is technically less resolution in Super35 than a ‘scope’ version (anamorphic lens Panavision is not the only one).

    Super35 is vastly easier to work with in post production in such areas as CG effects than ‘scope’ films. You can translate vastly easier to much less expensive. A film such as LOTR or ‘Matrix’ would be extremely difficult to pull off if shot with anamorphic lenses.

    The use of anamorphic lenses also presents some framing difficulties for the DP when compared to shooting with spherical lenses. If you look at a horizon line in an older ‘scope’ movie, you sometimes see it curving towards the edges of the screen. This is less troublesome today, but it is still an issue to be considered.

    Bottom line: Super35 is overall easier to shoot and cheaper to produce, while ‘scope’ films can have shaper pictures with more detail. Personally I don’t think that P&S comes into it, but there are many who do.
     
  3. Lev-S

    Lev-S Second Unit

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    I noticed the curving that you mentioned in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Interesting...
     
  4. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    I've got a question in regards to Cabin Fever using an Anamorphic process over Super35. On one of the commentarys (film-makers one, IIRC) they go to great length about spending the extra money to get Super35. I know very little about the technical aspects of film, but does this mean that one can shoot on Super35 film, with an anamorphic lense?

    Color me confused.
     
  5. Magnus T

    Magnus T Supporting Actor

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    I don't know if one can generalize why director's shoot with anamorphic lenses or Super35. James Cameron shoots in Super35 because he hates the panning and scanning on home video.

    But, Super35 is cheaper and is way easier to lit. Also, directors have much more flexibility in using spherical lenses. They can have objects in the foreground AND background in focus for instance.

    Mel Gibson said however that he would never shoot Braveheart in Super35 because it would ruin the shots of the Scottish landscape and take away the epic feel of the film. I agree.

    Personally I think Tony Scott movies look amazing. This is a guy that truly knows how to shoot with anamorphic lenses. His brother should take notes. Though, from a story telling standpoint, Ridley probably has the advantage. [​IMG]
     
  6. WillG

    WillG Producer

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    this is not the only reason, if it is a reason at all. I think he likes Super35 because he likes 2.35:1 but not the difficulties with visual effects that anamorphic presents. I wonder why more directors don't use a combination of anamorphic (no effects) and Super35 (visual effects) or would this cause too many problems?
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Wow, haven't seen this one for a while.

    There have been extensive discussions on this topic. Some of the most interesting have been preserved in the Software Archive. Look for posts by Scott H, a professional cameraman, who has some valuable insights:

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...threadid=32988
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=109125
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...threadid=36761

    To these let me add the following, which I recently discovered in a personal archive, the original having scrolled off HTF long ago. On October 11, 1999, member Jim Robbins posted the following message, which directly addresses the issue raised by this thread:

    M.
     
  8. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    Those two films are extremely different from a filmmaking standpoint. The Matrix Reloaded was heavily dependent upon CGI, and such CGI is apparently much easier to do in flat as opposed to anamorphic. The total dollar amount of a given film budget doesn't begin to tell the fully story of how and why things were done in that production.

    DJ
     
  9. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    There is no such thing as "Super35 film." The film used in the Super35 process is the same film used in scope processes: 35mm. The difference is in how it is used. Super35 increases the area of the negative that gets exposed during filming. From this enlarged area, a 2.35:1 frame can be extracted.

    One could surely use anamorphic lenses and a Super35-like aperture at the same time, but it would be rather pointless. Release prints would either have to be cropped or optically shrunk to fit back into the standard scope projection aperture, anyway. The increase in resolution from expanding the area of the film that gets exposed would be lost again upon release.

    I don't think that anything like this went on with Cabin Fever, anyway, as it seems rather certain based upon the commentary tracks that it was a Super35 production.

    DJ
     
  10. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    There is no such thing as "Super35 film" (this is one of the many topics covered in the archive threads). The same film stocks are used for both Super35 and anamorphic photography.

    EDIT: I see Damin beat me to it. [​IMG]

    M.
     
  11. WillG

    WillG Producer

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    It's very often that IMDB says a film is in Panavision (Anamorphic) and in reality is Super35. It happens so much that I think what happens is that someone sees in the end titles "Filmed with Panavision Cameras and Lenses" and then reports to IMDB that that film was done "In Panavision." The wording denotes that difference of Anamorphic and Flat/Super35. (Of course sometimes this gets screwed up even in the titles of a film)

    Anyway it's probably the smarter bet for Super35 to be the first assumption for the film process of any 2.35:1 film these days. I believe the days of using anamorphic lenses are starting to come to a close.
     
  12. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Thanks for the info guys. Looks like I need to get some books on the technical side of film-making.

    Based upon the commentary, Cabin Fever was definitely Super35.
     
  13. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Super-35 sometimes uses less film, but not most of the time. Most S-35 films are shot full-area at 4 perf. Some films are being made with 3 perf tall frames (Like Panic Room).

    Of course, Techniscope used a 2-perf frame.

    Anamorphic lenses also make focus "shifts" (quick changes to focus from background to foreground or vice-versa) "bend" due to the anamorphic lens. This is seen in the Indiana Jones movies and Moulin Rouge.
     
  14. Lev-S

    Lev-S Second Unit

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    Damn you IMDB.com! Lies!
     

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