Canon High Definition Electronic Cinematography Innovation Enables Director to Shoot a
Digital Movie in Widescreen 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio With Canon’s 2/3-Inch Cine Prime Lens Series
LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., Nov. 6, 2008 – Independent filmmaking is all about the realization of the director’s artistic vision. One of the latest digital “indie” filmmakers to have his cinematic visions fully realized is Roberto Santucci, director of the new Brazilian movie Riding High (Alucinados). Essential to capturing Santucci’s images was his use of lenses from the Broadcast and Communications division of Canon U.S.A., Inc. These included Canon 2/3-inch HD-EC (High Definition Electronic Cinematography) prime lenses, the Canon wide-angle HJ11ex4.7B IRSE portable zoom lens, and the Canon ACV-235 Anamorphic Converter, which provides a unique optical solution for very wide aspect ratio (2.35:1) image capture.
“Riding High is a thriller about two guys and the woman they’ve kidnapped, all inside the same car,” Santucci explained. “The streets are real, so it needs to have that dirt and grainy look, which we can achieve digitally. Making cool looks in HD, instead of on film, is a very normal process now.”
“In order to take full advantage of the digital 24p format, I went for the Canon ACV-235 Anamorphic Converter,” Santucci continued. “This solution allows you to take everything you’ve shot in HD and project it beautifully on a wide screen, since it’s been shot natively in a 2.35:1-size frame. For somebody working on an indie film with an indie budget, this converter has great potential. This is my third film and it’s totally digital.”
By filming with Canon’s ACV-235 Anamorphic Converter, Santucci was able to bring his HD production to CinemaScope ® sized (2.35:1 aspect ratio) screens in a much easier fashion than in the past. His method for filming Riding High was to mount Canon’s ACV-235 Anamorphic Converter between Canon’s prime lenses and the 2/3-inch HD lens mount on his 24p digital cinematography camera. “The great thing about the ACV-235 is that you squeeze the picture horizontally to include all of the 2.2 million pixels present in the 1080 imager and then unsqueeze the images in post, which is analogous to anamorphic capture for film,” Santucci continued. “This gives you complete coverage with all of the pixels spread across the image, as opposed to solutions that call for cropping the top and bottom of the frame and throwing all those pixels away to achieve the 2.35:1 aspect ratio.”
The ACV-235 Anamorphic Converter – the industry’s only such device developed for the 2/3-inch HD camera imager format – horizontally compresses the object image by a factor of 1.32, which fills the 16:9 HD camera imager with a picture having a full height and a width that is effectively 1.32 x 1.78 times that of picture height. Overall picture sharpness is also higher as a consequence. The Canon ACV-235 Anamorphic Converter can also be used with Canon’s HD-EC Variable Focal-Length cine-style zoom lenses or Canon’s portable HD ENG/EFP lenses as well.
“You always want the best quality possible when you’re capturing the image,” Santucci stated. “The ACV-235 Anamorphic Converter allowed us to take full advantage of the 2.2 megapixel sensor in our HD camera. When you’re not using an anamorphic adapter, you’re cropping the sensor and extracting the middle part of it – and obviously losing some of the picture you shot. But if you have Canon’s ACV-235 Anamorphic Converter, then it’s like going to film with the full 35mm image frame. So I believe that if you are going for quality and want to do a film transfer that is really going to pay off in the end, this is really the way to do it.”
“There is a steady transition underway from film to digital in multiple motion-imaging categories,” said Larry Thorpe, national marketing executive, Broadcast and Communications division, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “Major theatrical features, independent movies, episodic television shows, commercials, documentaries, and other remaining forms of film-originated programming are increasingly being created with a host of new digital cinematography alternatives. Canon is a world leader in optics and has years of experience in designing and manufacturing high- and standard-definition field, studio, and portable video lenses, and even 16mm cine lenses. Canon’s current HD-EC product family is designed to meet the exacting creative needs of digital cinematographers.”
Canon’s six HD-EC prime lenses are some of the most compact, lightweight, high-performance, and cost-effective 2/3-inch prime lenses in the industry. The high performance of Canon’s six cine-style HD-EC prime lenses and three Variable Focal-Length cine-style zoom lenses comes in part from Canon’s combination of Hi Index, Ultra Low Dispersion glass and advanced multilayer coatings. They exhibit exceptional picture sharpness as a result of the combined attributes of their excellent MTF (modulation transfer function) profile across the 16:9 image plane, well-controlled relative light distribution, and their superb contrast ratio. This is further enhanced by the HD-EC prime lens series’ minimization of chromatic aberrations. The color reproduction of all six of these lenses closely matches one another and makes the need to re-balance a digital camera’s white reference unnecessary, when lenses are changed during a shoot. All HD-EC primes and zooms feature traditional film-style lens feel and operation that makes them instantly familiar to the most experienced cine users. Canon’s HD-EC prime lenses feature a 280-degree rotation for full focus control and gearing that meets film-industry standards on positioning and threading. Canon’s HD-EC zoom lenses offer dual large luminous scales for zoom, iris, and focus, and a generous 270-degree rotation of the focus control.
“We had spectacular results with the Canon lenses that we used,” notes Santucci. “They always performed extremely well, whether it was for the opening sequence – where we shot the traffic and crowds of Rio to give you a real feeling of the city – or our final night sequence. All of it was shot with the Canon HD-EC prime lenses and the ACV-235 Anamorphic Converter.”
In addition to his use of Canon’s ACV-235 Anamorphic Converter and HD-EC primes, Santucci shot much of Riding High with the Canon HJ11ex4.7B IRSE eHDxs portable zoom lens. The widest HD EFP lens offered by Canon, the HJ11ex4.7B IRSE is designed to produce minimal chromatic aberration and geometric distortion (at the widest angle) and weighs only 4.10 lbs. The HJ11ex4.7B IRSE also features Canon’s exclusive eDrive technology, which enables users to easily program such functions as zoom and focus settings for precise, automated repeatability via an easy-to-use LCD menu, as well as assignable “soft” function buttons and the rocker switch built into the lens grip. Users can program multiple settings or none at all, depending on their personal needs and preferences. It’s a handy feature for many different kinds of production work – including filmmaking.
Aided by a variety of Canon HD lenses, Roberto Santucci’s Riding High has emerged as an indie production fully qualified for the big screen. “I think that Canon’s role in my production has been to give me more quality by exploring all of the technology behind the lenses,” Santucci says. “The ACV-235 Anamorphic Converter is providing access to the full imagery that Canon’s lenses and our crew can capture.”
About Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Canon U.S.A., Inc. delivers consumer, business-to-business, and industrial imaging solutions. Its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), a top patent holder of technology, ranked third overall in the U.S. in 2007†, with global revenues of $39.3 billion, is listed as one of Fortune’s Most Admired Companies in America and is on the 2007 BusinessWeek list of “Top 100 Brands.” To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company's RSS news feed by visiting www.usa.canon.com/pressroom.
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†IFI Patent Intelligence Press Release, January 2008