F. and S. Marriott 140 Newbegin, Hornsea, England, HU18 1PB

May 2010. Stephanie died peacefully on 19th April after a short stay in hospital. She had been suffering from acute cervical cancer. Fred will continue to run the business to the best of his ability. The web site is slowly getting under control again as he tries to take over some of Stephanie's responsibilities, and learns some of the mysteries of Dreamweaver.

Pieces An on-line look at cameras etc. by Stephanie Marriott




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May 2003 - Widescreen FIlming

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Note: Fred and I have used cine equipment to make home movies for years. However, we have never done much with sound (Fred has dabbled a little) and we have never done anything with widescreen. Therefore the information here is strictly theoretical and not verified by experience.

To make widescreen films, you require an anamorphic lens. This "squeezes" the image on the film. If projected with a normal lens, the image can be seen to be distorted. Usually, the same lens is used for both the camera and projector. It is - of course - possible to have two matching lenses for camera and projector but for most people this is too costly.


Choose your camera carefully. In fact, it is not altogether a bad idea to find a lens first, as anamorphic lenses are much harder to find than cameras to go with them, and then find the camera. Although it is possible to fix the anamorphic lens onto the camera lens, it is not desirable. The anamorphic lens has to be used in the correct alignment. Focusing the camera lens will change the alignment of the anamorphic lens, if it is mounted directly onto the camera lens, which will mean adjusting the anamorphic lens. It is much easier to mount the lens on a special bracket in front of the camera lens.

When using an anamorphic lens, there will be some light loss. If you have a camera with t.t.l. metering, this will not matter. If you have to set the exposure yourself, you may need to experiment. Typically the light loss is between a quarter and a half-stop.

Life is easiest if you choose a camera with a prime lens with no focusing, and a t.t.l. meter. To avoid a high risk of vignetting, your lens should have a rear element that is the same size, or slightly larger, then the front element of the camera lens.

If you are using the lens with a camera that has a zoom lens you need to be aware of the minimum focal length available to you. This may not seem very wide - typically it is about 15mm. - 25 mm. - but with a 2x anamorphic lens this will effectively be 7.5 mm. - 12.5 mm. If you try to use wider focal lengths, you will get vignetting on the film.

If your camera does not have a fixed focus lens, you will need to work out the best focusing arrangement. Some cameras should be set to infinity and you then focus using the anamorphic lens. In other cases, both the camera lens and the anamorphic lens have to be set to the correct distance.


You need to get a projector with good light output. Quartz-Halogen lamps are good. Anything with a lamp of 150 w. should also be okay.

Make sure the projection lens is of good quality and that it will not remove too much light. f/1.0 is quite a lot better than f/1.9 in this respect.


I've tried not to be negative about widescreen but you should be aware - if you haven't already worked it out - that I think it is a lot of hassle for little reward. I am not sure that even the finest grain film can handle as much detail as is required to get a really good result.

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