Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay about the difference between anamorphic and spherical camera lenses.
If you’re a film fan, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the word “anamorphic” before. But what does it actually mean? While, unless you are a camera-wielding person or a film student, you’re probably going to have to follow your curious impulse and do a little digging. Which may very well be how you wound up here. Hello!
Indeed, filmmaking is a very scientific art. And uber-technical discussions can be a bit daunting for those of us who don’t work directly in the industry. But, as the video essay below astutely notes: understanding the subconscious effects of practical concepts can be very rewarding, even for recreational cinema dorks. Knowing how the sausage is made can make you appreciate the sausage even more.
The video essay tackles the question of “what is an anamorphic camera lens?” by contrasting it with its practical and creative opposite: the spherical lens. The essay unpacks the physical differences between the two lenses and the practical reasons you would choose one over the other. Finally, the video concludes with examples of creative applications of both lenses, which can create a boundless host of implied effects from claustrophobia (The Lighthouse) to nostalgia (Moonlight) to a sweeping sense of grandeur (Lawrence of Arabia).
Watch “The Difference Between Anamorphic and Spherical Lenses Explained“:
Who made this?
This video essay is by In Depth Cine, a YouTube account dedicated to providing its audience with practical rundowns and explainers on some of the more technical aspects of movie-making. Gray Kotzé, a documentary DP based in South Africa, is the man behind the channel. You can check out Kotzé’s portfolio on their website here. And you can check out In Depth Cine on YouTube here.
More Videos Like This
- If you want more comparisons of spherical versus anamorphic lenses, here’s a side-by-side from the Danish YouTube account Wedio.
- Here’s another sample of In Depth Cine’s work: how Quentin Tarantino shoots a film at three different price levels.
- And here’s In Depth Cine’s breakdown of a bunch of cinematography-related questions, including how they collaborate with colorists.
- Here’s more of In Depth Cine’s work on what a 2nd AC, or second assistant cameraperson, actually does on a set.
- And one more: In Depth Cine’s opinion on why certain modern filmmakers are opting to shoot their movies in black-and-white.