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Films shot in the Anamorphic process are instantly recognizable. They have a quality and resonance that other lenses can’t capture. Anamorphic films seem to capture an almost 3D quality onto film’s 2D medium. The process makes creative use of aberrations such as long horizontal lens flares, oval bokeh and highly curved corners that all add a sense of heightened reality.
Films are real but not necessarily reality…and the subconscious effect of Anamorphic lenses delivers an exaggerated look that is hard to replicate. This process is much more than just a wide aspect ratio..as demonstrated in The Ultimate Aspect Ratio Guide.
Films shot in the Anamorphic process include: Jaws, The Royal Tenenbaums, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Pulp Fiction, Die Hard, The Parallax View and countless others. Getting your hands on Anamorphic lenses is very difficult for the low budget filmmaker…so I created my own After Effects project template that replicates the look and feel of the Anamorphic process. If you drop your footage into the timeline…you will have access to 3 options that help you achieve the magical look without resorting to additional adaptors or lenses. This workflow has been optimized for cameras that capture 16:9 footage and for lenses between 28mm to 35mm (Full frame equivalent).
The Anamorphic lens that I chose as the holy grail to emulate is the Panavision Primo 40mm Anamorphic. It was the ONLY lens used on Roman Polanski’s Chinatown and used 95% of the time on Wes Anderson’s films Rushmore and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
When editing any project, there are moments when a visual effect can be applied to help the story be told. These effects can emphasize something to make it more evident, subtly isolate a certain element or blend several assets into one shot. Sometimes these effects are added only as eye candy to add production value to a project. Ideally, you are not adding visual effects to hide mistakes or to cover up deficiencies in the story…but this has been know to happen. (Guilty as charged!)
Self-funded, low budget, indie filmmaking is wonderful for the creative and artistic freedoms you are granted as you strive to tell the story and share it with others. You are the filmmaker, the studio, the investor and the distributor. This great power comes with great responsibility and heavy consequences. I’ve spent the last 5 years of my life working to finish a feature film entitled…THE GRIND. The literal and figurative irony does not go unnoticed…but it also drives me to complete my mission.
One of the famous unwritten rules in “Hollywood” is never invest your own money. I’ve broken that rule for 5 years as I’ve invested both a shit-ton of money and time to finish the film and release it to the world. My roles on this film are: executive producer, DP, editor, colorist, composer and sound mixer. I had been hired to do these jobs on previous feature films, but never all on one film.
Before I dive in, here’s 5 years of editing encapsulated into one image…the final timeline.
I’m always on the lookout for tools and assets that make my film editing and post production workflow easier, quicker and more efficient. Many of them can be expensive and very specific to certain tasks…others are free and just as effective.
I’ve shared many of these in the past…but now I have compiled an updated list of all free assets on this one page. Every filmmaker can now easily harness the power of the creative and generous people that provided all these tools and assets.
There are many other free plugins/presets/templates available on the interwebz…but I wanted to share only the ones I use on a daily basis. There are 335 listed below…and I’ve tested or used every single one of them. The results you can achieve are only limited by your imagination. Dig in and enjoy!
An easy way to make your project look more ‘cinematic’ is to overlay film grain, light leaks or other film-specific attributes. They can be used to emulate film stock, create transitions or for experimental and aggressive looks. There are many expensive options you can buy to achieve these looks…but for the low budget filmmaker FREE is a fabulous price!
I’ve compiled assets from 11 companies that graciously offer their HD video files at no cost whatsoever. Even though they are free…they are high quality and when applied properly…create a convincing and authentic effect. Enjoy!
The boundaries of the canvas that filmmakers use can take many forms. The Aspect Ratio of the frame size varies from The Kid’s 1.33 to Ben Hur’s 2.67 and everything between and beyond. There is the Academy Standard of 1.37, the HDTV standard of 1.78, Vistavision’s 1.85 and more. I would like to share a plethora of aspect ratios (with examples) so you, as a filmmaker, can decide which one will best serve your story. At the bottom of this post…I’m including a FREE template package that covers just about every aspect ratio ever used. Feel free to use them on your own project or share it with other filmmakers, so they too can harness the power of the frame.
I decided to compile all these assets after seeing the wonderful and educational video posted by FilmmakerIQ that does an amazing job explaining the aspect ratio and its historical context. After watching it, I was reminded of a widescreen template package I downloaded years ago and but now can no longer find on-line. I’m more than happy to keep it alive and inject it back into the interwebz so that any current or future filmmaker will have access to all the geometric framings used over the years. Read more…