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40mm SPHERIQUE ø 2 1/2 800 ISO Why did anamorphic fall out of favour? As acquisition negative stocks and print stocks became better and better and most theatre screens became smaller and smaller, Super 35mm was a good replacement for making wide screen fi lms. Super35mm did not incur the extra expense and hassle of shooting anamorphic that required special cameras and equipment modifi cations. In the digital realm, instead of having to modify cameras and work with a squeezed format until it’s projected, the image can now be ‘unsqueezed’ right out of the camera. The camera’s viewfi nder no longer needs a special optic; you just fl ip a switch and you can view it normally. Modern video monitors all have switchable aspect ratios making viewing on the set and during production simple and no more expensive than shooting with spherical lenses. Who is using anamorphic now? In the fi lm world, cinematographers used to have dozens of fi lm stocks to choose from and hundreds of processing options to achieve a unique look for their fi lms. In our digital era, these options have been reduced considerably to just four chips. With no disrespect to our camera colleagues, digital is a boring format. With fi xed pixels, there is no intrinsic dynamic interest in a digital image; the image has a sterile and antiseptic quality that has today’s cinematographers looking for ways to project personality and character into their fi lms. This is one reason why there has been such an interest in old fi lm lenses like Cooke TV-BAY094OCT14 v118.indd 63 Speed Panchros, Baltars and others. Using older glass gives a less sterile and more fl attering image. It’s a way of getting character into the digital image. Shooting in traditional anamorphic using new, state of the art glass and mechanics is another solution to add character and texture into an otherwise sterile format. The ‘anamorphic funkiness’ that traditional anamorphic lenses introduce adds character, personality and visual interest that gives the cinematographer a lot of creative freedom. Last year, Cooke announced a range of new Anamorphic/i lenses from 25mm through 135mm. They are already being used on features in the U.S. and around the world: Lazarus with Bojan Bazzeli, DP, in Budapest, in LA DP Amy Vincent is shooting Sinister 2 while Straight Outta Compton is being shot by Matthew Libatique, DP, and Antoine Roch has shot a feature film in France titled Un Homme Ideal. There are many television commercials being shot in anamorphic now as well. Two additional focal lengths, a 180mm and 300mm have just been announced, and all of the lenses should be available in 2015. Test footage of the new Cooke Anamorphic/i lenses may be seen at Watch Les reporting from IBC in this interview 07/10/2014 15:42