Definition September 2021 - Web


Going the s t r e t c h Anamorphic lenses have found their place in episodic series – but what do they mean for the industry as a whole? Arri Rental sheds some light T he practical applications of WORDS. Lee Renwick

critically successful production. There is some correlation, though – it helps to craft more exacting results, as Surtees explains. “The best series can only be a combination of quality stories and, most importantly, the skill of the filmmakers. Our main job at Arri Rental is to give those creative storytellers as varied a toolbox as possible, to capture all the elements of their story in a way that best serves it.” So, what exactly can a set of anamorphic lenses bring to a production? It’s a distinctive look, but not one that’s always easy to pinpoint. “There’s a greater difference in how various anamorphic ranges render an image, compared to spherical lenses,” says Surtees. “There’s no best lens, it’s just a question of personal taste and the particular project. “Broadly, anamorphic can have a softer, more abstract quality than

anamorphic glass extend beyond their use in feature film. Indeed, these lenses premiered as we know and love them, very briefly, just a decade after World War I. But, it wasn’t until the fifties that they became popularised as a moviemaking technique. When they did, the move was a directly competitive one. And what fierce rival of cinema inspired such revolutionary innovation, you ask? Television. It’s fitting, then, that this particular technology didn’t make its way to the small screen for a further 50 years. After a recent boom, their use cannot be denied – there’s no novelty here any longer. “There’s been huge growth recently in the use of anamorphic for episodic television. Notably, it’s been for the streamers, rather than domestic television,” says Simon Surtees, technical marketing specialist at Arri Rental. “What’s accounted for that growth? I think it’s the increase in the volume of production. There are more stories than ever being told by more filmmakers. So, it’s not surprising that there’s been an increased interest in more diverse kit. “Any viewer will notice the budgets and production values of many shows increasing, coming in line with some big studio pictures. The first time I saw that was when Arri Media – as it was named at the time – serviced Band of Brothers , but the mantle was picked up in a big way by Game of Thrones .” As we’re all aware, a larger budget doesn’t necessarily lead to a more CHANGING TRACK The Underground Railroad team used spherical lenses for most episodes, but anamorphic for the three which took a departure from the linear narrative


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