Bend space with anamorphic lenses.
Anamorphic lenses share some of the principles of construction with spherical lenses, but these lenses have cylindrical elements at the front, which are more oval than circular. When light passes through these lenses, you get what cinematographers call a squeezed image.
This distorted anamorphic image is later de-squeezed in post-production by a video editor, and it allows for different aspect ratios, as well as unique effects.
Aspect ratios and distortion effects
Close-ups and bokeh effects
While anamorphic lenses are excellent for capturing sweeping vistas and theater-sized aspect ratios, they typically don’t focus well when close to subjects, which is why they’re often used in action films or scenes where there’s plenty of motion or a wide landscape.
While they might struggle with capturing close-ups, anamorphic lenses are incredible for light flares and interesting bokeh effects, especially when compared with spherical lenses.
When using a lens of either type, think about depth of field and how close your subject is within the context of the camera and the background. “You get a lot more depth with anamorphic lenses, and that can result in your background getting a little blurry, but you’ll get some nice bokeh effects,” says Davis.