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Create compelling widescreen films and photographs with your iPhone ...ending Saturday at Noon ET

Anamorphic lenses were introduced for filmmaking in the 1950's to create an immersive, panoramic experience intended to compete with the widespread adoption of television.  In addition to a wide aspect ratio, the anamorphic aesthetic is characterized by horizontal flares, distortion that creates a unique sense of depth or dimensionality, and oval "bokeh" or blur for out-of-focus areas. For these artistic reasons, anamorphic filmmaking has been enjoying a decades-long renaissance.  However, due to the complexity and expense of the optics involved, anamorphic lenses are not readily available to most independent filmmakers.  We believe there are stories best told with an anamorphic aesthetic, so we have developed an affordable 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter specifically for the iPhone 5/5S.

How does the Moondog Labs 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter work?  The built-in iPhone camera captures a 16:9 aspect ratio in video mode, like this:

Nominal iPhone video capture format, 16:9 aspect ratio
Nominal iPhone video capture format, 16:9 aspect ratio

Shooting with the 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter optically “squeezes” a 33% wider scene onto the sensor, creating a raw image that looks like this (note the wider view, but thinner looking objects):

Raw anamorphic video capture before "de-squeeze"
Raw anamorphic video capture before "de-squeeze"

When you restore or "de-squeeze" your video to the proper scaling in software, your final video looks like this:

Anamorphic video after de-squeeze, 2.4:1 aspect ratio
Anamorphic video after de-squeeze, 2.4:1 aspect ratio

The Anamorphic Adapter works the same way for still photographic mode, transforming the native 4:3 aspect ratio to panoramic 16:9.

Native 4:3 photo format:

Nominal iPhone photo capture format, 4:3 aspect ratio
Nominal iPhone photo capture format, 4:3 aspect ratio

Shot with our 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter and de-squeezed to full 16:9:

Anamorphic photo after de-squeeze, 16:9 aspect ratio
Anamorphic photo after de-squeeze, 16:9 aspect ratio

There are many free or paid software packages available to de-squeeze video or still images created with an anamorphic lens – for example Final Cut Pro or Handbrake for video, and Adobe Photoshop or GIMP for still images.  For the best workflow, we are working with FiLMiC Pro to incorporate a 1.33x anamorphic de-squeeze in their first quarter 2014 release for full in-app compatibility with the Anamorphic Adapter.  To help you through the de-squeezing process, we will post simple instructions on our website and link to them here on our Kickstarter project page.

The Moondog Labs Anamorphic Adapter beautifully exhibits the wide aspect ratio and the classic horizontal purple flares and distortion that are characteristic of vintage anamorphic lenses.  Unfortunately, the short focal length lenses used in mobile phone cameras lack the shallow depth of field needed to create significant bokeh in most situations, including the oval bokeh traditionally associated with anamorphic lenses.

Technical Specifications

  • 1.33x afocal anamorphic adapter
  • Expands camera horizontal field of view (FOV) by 33%; vertical FOV is unchanged
  • Increases video aspect ratio from 16:9 to 2.4:1 (with software de-squeeze)
  • Increases still image aspect ratio from 4:3 to 16:9 (with software de-squeeze)
  • Compatible with iPhone 5/5S
  • Precision all-glass optical design
  • Single layer anti-reflection coatings
  • Precision CNC-machined aluminum housing
  • Secure clamping attachment mechanism, compatible with screen protectors
  • Mass: 49.4 grams (1.74 oz)
  • Overall dimensions: 32 x 26 x 38.5 mm (21.32 max. extension from iPhone)
  • Patent pending design
  • Designed & assembled in the United States
  • Compatible with Glif™ tripod mount
Our third-generation protoypes shown on the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5
Our third-generation protoypes shown on the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5

Reward Options

We have early-bird pricing reward levels, and all Kickstarter backers will receive a significant price break compared to the expected retail price of the Anamorphic Adapter, so check out the reward levels in the right sidebar.

Holiday Gifting - If you are a thoughtful gift-giver planning to share an Anamorphic Adapter with some lucky filmmaker or photographer for the holidays, we will have a professional photo gift card describing the Anamorphic Adapter available for download so that you can print it and wrap it in time for holiday giving.

Product Status & Kickstarting Production

Based on our experience with camera lens design for photography and filmmaking, we started exploring this concept in 2011.  We have assembled and tested several prototype versions of the Anamorphic Adapter to refine the final product design presented here. We are confident that we have a great design that is robust for production. We have vetted domestic and international suppliers for quality and capability of each component, and have qualified sample quantities from them.  The Anamorphic Adapter will be assembled in Rochester, NY by our experienced optical manufacturing and assembly partner with components from both domestic and international suppliers.  We would love to be 100% U.S. sourced, but the economics of making an affordable Anamorphic Adapter require international sourcing for some components.

Project funding will go toward component tooling and assembly process fixtures that will allow us to scale from small quantities to production, and will also go directly toward buying components in volume to build units for our backers. 

Background

Anamorphic Format (Wikipedia)

Films Shot Anamorphically (Wikipedia)

The Changing Shape of Cinema: The History of Aspect Ratio (FilmmakerIQ)

Everything You Need to Know to Start Shooting Anamorphic (NoFilmSchool)

The EOSHD Anamorphic Shooter’s Guide (EOSHD)

Video soundtrack by Aled Roberts Music

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Launching a new product always has some risk, but it’s something we’ve done before with even more complex products, so we are confident that we will be able to manage the process smoothly. We have carefully screened our suppliers for capability and evaluated small quantities from them during our prototyping phases. We have not had the opportunity to order large volumes of parts from some of our suppliers, so there is some risk that quality or schedule concerns will come up as we scale into production. That said, we are confident that we will be able to manage the production process to deliver a high quality product… and we will keep backers informed about our progress throughout. We have indicated that backers will receive units in March 2014, but we will be working very hard to get units to you as soon as possible – we can’t wait to see what you create!

FAQ

  • We specifically designed the Anamorphic Adapter to fit smoothly and securely on the iPhone 5 and 5S. Other iPhones (4, 4S, 5C), the iPod Touch 5, and iPad Mini have case designs with dimensions that are not compatible with the Anamorphic Adapter - and going beyond the Apple world, devices have even more design variations.

    We are open to developing Adapter variations for other devices if there is enough interest in the community. We don't have any specific plans for that at the moment, but we are listening!

    Last updated:
  • The Anamorphic Adapter was designed to clamp securely to the iPhone 5 and 5S. It can be used with a typical screensaver, however it is not designed to fit over a full case or thick backer plate. It may be compatible with full cases that have removable sections around the camera. For example, it is compatible with the Quick Flip case.

    Last updated:
  • We do not recommend using the Smoothee as a Steadicam with the Anamorphic Adapter. In our experience, the Smoothee is delicately balanced, and we were not able to get it to balance well with the Anamorphic Adapter without adding noticeable additional counterweight.

    Our Gen 2 design actually explored using a plastic housing to reduce weight for this reason among others, but the feedback we got was that the rugged quality of a metal housing was too important to many filmmakers to sacrifice.

    Last updated:
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    Show your support in any amount to help make great new tools accessible to mobile filmmakers and photographers. In addition to whatever you've learned from our project page (making you comfortable slipping the word "anamorphic" into conversation at parties...), you'll receive backer-only updates and good Kickstarter karma.

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    FIRST BACKER PRICING: Receive one of the first production 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter lenses for iPhone 5/5S at a very, very special Kickstarter introductory price to get things started. Reward includes a microfiber storage bag.

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    EARLY BACKER PRICING: Receive one of the first production 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter lenses for iPhone 5/5S at a very special Kickstarter introductory price. Reward includes a microfiber storage bag.

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    KICKSTARTER ONLY PRICING: Receive one of the first production 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter lenses for iPhone 5/5S at a special introductory price for Kickstarter backers only. Reward includes a microfiber storage bag

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Funding period

- (30 days)