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Anamorphic Music Video
  • I recently shot and edited this 2X anamorphic music video, rigged up on my DJI Ronin-M. The Kowa 16-H is already heavy, but add an SLR Magic Rangefinder in front, and along with a DSLR, the gimbal is at its length and weight limit.

    The band footage was shot in 3 short hours after a last-minute location change, and we just managed to fully cover the song, having thrown out unnecessary parts of the storyboard. The color effects were shot non-anamorphic, on the NX1 with 16-50 OIS and the trusty GH2 with an 85mm f1.4 Zeiss C/Y prime (pretty sure it's still running either Moon T6 or 7.)

    While there ultimately are a lot of cross-processing effects, the 2X anamorphic look still adds something unmistakable to my eyes. I made the decision early on to sacrifice 4K for an increase in frame rate to 60p for slow-motion flexibility in post, which did come in very handy.

    The Rangefinder wasn't used at all to pull focus during shots, but it made it much easier to refocus in between takes, and it seems to guarantee sharper results if you pay attention to what you are doing.

    Edited in FCPX and effects in Motion

  • 5 Replies sorted by
  • Looks very cool and distinctive. Your anamorphic work is inspiring, have you thought of making a video about your process and any tips you can share working with the format?

  • Looks very good to me. What's the taking lens for the 16H? Any tips for a Kowa new shooter without money for a rangefinder?

  • Yes, I am hoping to do a making-of somehow on the last two music videos I have done. I'm a one-man crew at the moment so there's nobody extra hanging around to document these shoots, but I may pull the front-man for the band in for some interview/explanation of our processes. I need to get some distance on it first though, because I've been re-watching the same 4 minutes of footage for the past month. The prime is a Konica Hexanon 40mm f1.8, at f4 the whole time. It's an inexpensive and simple little thing, but at that sweet spot of f4, it really does work wonders.

    For the fellow Kowa user? Purchase no.1 is Redstan clamps, front and rear. Then the Hexanon (because it's cheap and I know it works. It's the widest lens I can use with an S35 camera.) Then a monitor that can desqueeze the image. The SmallHD AC7 is what I'm using and even just that allows you to actually see what you're shooting and, (most importantly), wether or not it is in focus. Finally, get a Rangefinder or a Rectilux Core DNA.

    I didn't acquire this setup all at once, I've been shooting with the Kowa for 7 years now. I started with that and the Redstan clamps, and I made those work fine on my GH2 for years with whatever old photo lenses I had laying around. I wouldn't be as confident with anamorphic today if I hadn't first spent a lot of time messing about with a dual-focus setup.

    It kinda forces you to think about the trade-offs, what you actually get from anamorphic, and why it is (or isn't) worth that extra effort. It's saved me a lot of extra fiddling/spending, because I know now that 2X is the only squeeze for me. It's that or spherical. I know I prefer to push the setup as wide angle as it will allow, and that a Kowa is more than capable of producing professional level imagery so long as I pay professional attention to its operation and maintenance. The only other anamorphic lens I would consider trying out instead would be a LOMO 35mm Squarefront in good condition, and that's not an easy thing to find.

    If you've got a good Kowa 16-H/8Z/B&H, don't get rid of it. Just don't. Or you may well wish you hadn't later.

  • Thanks for the reply! My redstan clamp is on the way ! Did you try the helios44-2 58mm or Canon Fd 50 1.4 for the taking? i have both to try with, but if you say the hexanon is better, i'll see because its really cheap.

  • I haven't tried either of those. My main advice on lenses would be to not obsess over getting max f-stops or super shallow DOF. Get sharp images. Too many people worry about getting that stretched bokeh and forget that hazy/fuzzy images aren't always the best idea. You're shooting anamorphic. The bokeh will be there, don't worry about it. What really pushes it a lot of times isn't a wide open f-stop, it's a good diopter on front, like the Tokina ATX or the Rangefinder (which is just a variable diopter.) That's why I've come to love the wide 40mm FOV. In order to frame a person for a closeup, I have to focus just about as close as the anamorphic can. That puts the background really far into smear territory, producing the signature anamorphic look. Longer lenses further back do a different thing. They flatten the image a bit more, subject on one plane, background on the other. It's not a bad look, just different. It's all about preference. I prefer to shoot everything on the 40 also out of sheer convenience. Not having to swap lenses is quite handy.