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Hey Guys, Tom here from FXhome. Today we’re
going to be looking at Image Enhancements influenced by Anamorphic Lenses & my personal
favourite, the Helios-44 lens. We’re going to start off with a few lens
distorts, then some channel separation, finally, looking at image enhancements tips to help.
I’ve obtained some stock footage I’ve found online, but this process works along
with any footage. The one thing you’ll tend to notice with
old lens and especially anamorphic is the slight distortion around the edge of the frame.
To replicate this, we’ll begin by going into the effects window, opening up ‘warp’
dropdown, find Bezier warp & apply to our layer.
On application, you’ll notice that four anchor points have activated in the corners
of our image. We’ll be using these points to create the distortion. Open each of the
dropdowns and we’re only going to adjust the ‘point’ value- this is the centre
of the edge of our frame. We’re going to be moving the position of the edge along the
Y-axis, that’s the second value of the two dimensions. You can adjust this to any strength
of distort, however, I found subtracting 100pts provides a substantial amount without revealing
errors later- so that’s 440 for the top values & -440 for the bottom points.
You should now have something that looks like an oblong frame.
With our distortion set, we’ll now look into the RGB offsets. Though before we do-
a little preparation first. Enter the layer properties of your footage, and set the blend
option to Add. We’ll then go into the Channel dropdown
of the Effects window and grab Channel Swapper. Followed by a Lens Distort from under Warps. Before altering these effects- we’re going
to duplicate this footage layer 2 times, to have 3 total. We can do this by pressing Ctrl
+ D. Each of these is going to represent one of
the Colour channels, Red, Green & Blue, so by selecting a layer & pressing f2 on the
keyboard, we’ll rename each layer with a respected value.
Currently we’ve lost all the colour of our shot due to the layer setting, so we’re
going to get them back by going into the layer and this is where Channel Swapper comes in.
The Channel Swapper works in altering the values of the based on the ones available,
but for this tutorial, we’re using it to turn off particular values. As I’ve named
this layer Red, I’ll be setting the Green & Blue to ‘Full Off’. This leaves us with
just the Red Channel. We’ll then go into the other layers, and do the same, leaving
the named value untouched. We now have our image colour detail completely
back. This is due to having our layer set to Add, transferring the channels down to
the layer below as they then merge to create a standard image.
For the offset, we’ll select a layer and we’ll adjust the Lens Distort we applied
before duplication. The madness is all making sense now! Open the drop-down and all we’ll
be altering is the Scale of the effect. This is one of those cases where subtlety is key,
too much reveals it’s fake. The scale only needs to be adjusted ever so slightly. We’ll
then repeat this in the other layers. A little tip- the most common offset you’ll notice
with these lenses is the Blue channel, so you may wish to make that one the most prominent. Distort & Channel Offset complete, let’s look
at some exposure bleeds. Create a new grade layer from the New Layer icon. We can name
this Bleeds. Head into Lights & Flares, and as we’ll apply an Anamorphic Lens Flare
to the scene. In here we’re going to make a subtle flare over our image by adjusting
the Threshold & Blur Flare. One of the aspects I love about using the Helios lens is the
personality it has, by this I mean the colour bleeds around subjects & lighting. You don’t
tend to get that very much with modern lens Flare’s looking good- let’s now make another
Grade Layer, this one is going to be for some additional blurring. Go into the Blurs dropdown
& get yourself the Radial Blur onto our new Layer. Another give away with these lenses
is this beautiful spherical blur you get on the edges. Again, subtlety is key on this
effect, the layer gives us 5pts as default, I’m just going to half this, just to get
that little stretch. Obviously, we’ve ruined our subject, so we’ll need a mask for this
layer. Grab the Ellipse Tool from the viewer window and apply an oval mask over the shot,
and once happy with the framing, convert the type to subtract & give it a good ol’ feather.
Let’s generate one more Grade Layer and Duplicate it. Naming one Texture & the other
Framing. In our Texture layer, open the Sharpen dropdown
and apply the weirdly named Unsharpen effect. We’ll use this to provide more focus to
our subject, but what I love about this effect is the preset ‘Add Texture’ it just brings
out the highlights which is all you really want in a sharp image.
Finally, go into our last Grade Layer, named Framing, and this is simply to cover the weird
oval frame we have going on with a Letterbox. We’ll head into Generate dropdown & apply
letterbox. This will automatically apply a 2:35:1 aspect ratio, which is your traditional
cinema sizing. Here we have another clip where I’ve recorded something
from just my phone & applied the same effect. This effect is very simple and subtle but
gives a very cinematic quality. Leave any questions down below, don’t forget
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15 thoughts on “How to fake the ANAMORPHIC LENS look in HitFilm

  1. 2.35:1 was the old Cinemascope standard for a number of yesrs, but SMPTE changed the 35mm anamorphic widescreen projection aspect ratio to 2.39:1 in 1970 and this is also the DCI standard (along with 1.85:1). People still say "2.35:1" out of habit but it's archaic. 2.4:1 is just 2.39:1 rounded to one decimal place. The difference between 2.35 and 2 39 is admittedly very tiny, but it wouldn't hurt to use what's been the standard for nearly half a century.

  2. Very interesting tutorial !!! One thing though: DON'T USE LETTERBOXES! This just adds black bars to the image, that will waste space in the file (only to store black pixels!). Set the project settings to the desired aspect ratio to save only what's necessary. Apart from that alas comme mistake (to the point those black bars are an effect in HF!), this tutorial is really an excellent one! Thank You!

  3. Interesting use for Channel Swapper. I'd have gone for Channel Mixer, and dialed channels to 0. Admittedly I don't think I've used Channel Swapper other than a test swap red and blue or something. I'll have to give it another look.

    I think instead of a Letterbox I'd change the comp size and just crop the top and bottom. YouTube and Vimeo will take the anamorphic crop. If it's 1920/3840 wide, the Player will handle it correctly.

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