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Cooke anamorphic
  • Hey! Long time no see, been swamped in work - I thought I'd check in with some information that might be of interest as we shot a short last week on some wonderful new Cooke anamorphics. They took a huge chunk of the tech budget, however in the light of things I felt it was really worth it. Now, some purists say these and the Arri / Zeiss anamorphics are too clinical for their preference. In my opinion they are just right for keeping a safe production workflow when you can't always adapt the way you shoot to "the ideal" or when you have to adapt the way you shoot to what you shoot.

    Let me recap. We shot the short on an fs700 coupled to an Odyssey 7q+. Wonderful, powerful couple, even if I'm not the biggest fan of Sony colors. I decided to stick between 2000 iso and 6400 iso for night shots, as we didn't have the budget for a lot of lighting equipment. 6400 iso noise is a bit bad, but workable. At most I could augment and mold natural light. We decided pretty early on that Anamorphic lenses would add a cinematic twist but also contribute to a sense of realism / immersion we were after in the production. Now, these new and very expensive anamorphics are sharp enough / corrected enough to be shot wide open and the mechanics are obviously top notch, making them as functional as any high quality spherical lens. Another things is; the short was shot almost entirely hand-held and when it comes to anamorphics, that can really skew things up badly if an adapter is only slightly off axis f.i.. I was a bit worried during the first day of shooting, as we didn't have a working live-grade setup for correcting the footage, however, I did not need to. These are perfectly corrected to not skew things up in a bad way, no matter how you shoot.

    We ended up with the Cookes as the Arri/Zeiss ones had been booked by someone else, but they did not dissapoint one bit. After checking some tests online I chose the 40 and 75 as the former looked to have less CA / have better correction than the wider 32, while the 75 had some CA but allowed for different framing (The Arri Zeiss ones seem to be pretty identical, but the Cookes have some differences in-between them) and differences in distance emphasis, depending on location space. The lenses are massive, over 2 kg's, and I had to put together pieces from 2 different rigs to make it work, all in all we ended up with setup weighing in at around 10 kg's. After that, however, we hardly had to think any differently, though at the end of the shoot my eyes seemed to want to squeeze reality into 2x.

    The bottom line, having lenses of this quality in the production allowed us to use anamorphics in the first place, to get a clear anamorphic look without the potential caveats of working with them, never taking time from the shoot. For a more extreme look, well, you may have that option with a bigger budget but then again, it's always possible to push things in the grade. (in doing both I retain control)

    The lenses can be used at 2.3T (with sufficient sharpness), though I prefered to stay at 2.8 for most night exteriors. I'll add some sample frames here shortly, and update when I get into pregrade. If there are any surprises, I'll let you know.

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  • Ok, had forgotten about this (topic) but the short is out now. Hopefully we'll be doing a series of it. (it's in swedish, no subs - maybe you have a chance to see it subtitled at a festival near you at some point) Youtube compression makes some of the scenes suffer, so it actually looks better on a "non-professional" screen / panel. Really happy with the offline result though.

    edit: p.s. I don't know what happened with the upload settings as it's displayed in 1080p60 for some reason. Shot in 25p. I'll tell them to look into it as the cadence seems off.

  • Great look! Unfortunately I can't understand a word of the short

  • Thanks! I understand it's kind of incomprehensible. :) I have no power over the distribution, so for now it's only in swedish w/o subs. The story is about a girl, Fia and her relationship to her father who (because of fatigue syndrome and psychological issues) is uncapable of taking care of her. She has to act as his parent, sort of, and navigate that situation between trying to have a normal life and normal relationships with her friends and boyfriend (who also abandon her in different ways)... Elsa, the girl she meets later on, is different than her peers and they strike a connection.

    The story for this short which doubles as a trailer for a whole series, was written as a collaboration between the director and a reference group of kids (from BRIS) who are the same age as the main character. BRIS, who paid for the project is an organization for childrens rights in society.

  • Just noticed the vertical pincushion distortion, which is especially strange on the 32mm and 40mm wideangles. Seems like a major design mistake to me.