Anamorphic lenses provide a distinctive look and produce staggering visual aesthetics that can easily add more production value to any project. The squeezed bokeh along with the unique flares these lenses create have been catching the eye of professional videographers and enthusiasts alike for many years. There are also numerous software solutions and techniques that try to emulate those effects in post. However, there’s no better way than getting this particular look right in camera. Here’s an alternative way to make a DIY anamorphic lens adapter that can give you everything except for the stretch of the image. Sure, it’s not what you will get from a real anamorphic lens, but considering that you can create this setup for less than $10 it’s definitely worth trying.
Apparently, the effect produced by most anamorphic lenses can be replicated in a way by using a simple sheet of black construction paper, some fishing wire and a rubber strap. All you need to do is to cut precisely a circle using the construction paper with an oval in the center that can be placed in front of your lens. Make sure that the lens you tend to use will be at least 50mm or above. If you use a lens that is wider than that, then you will get vignetting on either side of your images.
To start off, put your lens on the construction paper and trace around it with a pen or pencil until you get a perfect circle. After that try to draw an oval in the center of the circle. The next step is to cut carefully out the paper by following the outlines that you’ve already created.
Take the circle piece of paper you’ve just cut out and put it on the lens. Grab the fishing wire and place it across the oval of the paper as shown in the video, by securing it with the rubber strap. Note that different wires will yield different results, so feel free to play around and see what type of effect you will get. Alternatively, you can produce a similar effect by scratching a UV filter with sandpaper by using the technique showcased in the video below.
Either way, it’s another fantastic way to emulate anamorphic flares directly in your camera. And, if you are wondering whether you can get a dedicated anamorphic filter you can try some of the Schneider’s Pink True-Streak Filters.
Within filter’s glass, there is a combination of fine line types that create the effect of a scene or image that has been recorded with an anamorphic lens and then displayed using a complementary reverse projection lens. Keep in mind, though, these Schneider filters aren’t cheap as only one of those will set you back around $400, so you better take your chances by going down the DIY road instead.