Anamorphic DoF in HitFilm?

Every so often I come here and search for Anamorphic DoF hoping that it's importance has finally been realised by the otherwise cool HitFilm team.

I say "otherwise cool", because not having a feature for Anamorphic DoF in a program such as this, is not cool at all.  How are professionals, or even amateurs who work with Anamorphic lenses, supposed to create a feel of continuity when working with footage that was shot Anamorphic, with work produced in HitFilm?

I've seen others mention Anamorphic more than a few times now.   And ever since the HitFilm team started with the add-on system, I though excellent, at last we would see an option for this.  But no such luck, it's not even a part of any of the add-on packs you have available!

Please, is there any chance you could make this available in one of the add-on packs, a way to do Anamorphic DoF inside HitFilm?

The program is completely useless to me (and people like me) without this ability, and considering the sophistication already demonstrated in HitFilm, Anamorphic DoF should be a piece of cake anyway!

Pleeeeeeeeease add Anamorphic DoF to one of the HitFilm add-on packs!


  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator
    edited September 2016

    Anamorphic DoF is going to be very specific to not only the lens but the settings used for filming as well. It usually takes multiple effects, mattes and adjustments to the virtual camera to match a shot and you can do all of that in HitFilm

    Lens Distort with some scaling adjustment or Bezier Warp is the place to start. Set up a poster board with a series of lines or a grid. You need to be able to scan it and get a shot of it with the anamorphic lens. Import the scanned image and clip and use Lens Distort or Bezier Warp on the image until until you get the distortion to match the clip.

    Use Vignette and/or Vignette exposure to darken the corners or a feathered mask or a matte.

    Lens Blur works with a source layer to use as a depth map it's just going to take some experimentation on your part to create something that's going match what you need. If you feel you need more control then take a look at Frischluft Lenscare.  The OFX version should work in HitFilm but definitely try before you buy because there's no guarantee on that. Like Lens Blur it needs depth maps that you're going to have to create but it has extremely fine and advanced controls. You can also switch to 3D layers and adjust the aperture, focal distance and blur of the HitFilm virtual camera.

    Use a matte to crop to 2.35.

  • edited September 2016

    Thanks for the info and link, Aladdin.

    Already tried all that stuff, but it's just too much work and not really ideal.  To be clear, when I refer to continuity, I'm not actually talking about taking some real Anamorphic footage and trying to match the lens geometry in HitFilm.  That would be nice, but that's not really what I meant.

    I have some projects in mind that I intend to shoot with a real Anamorphic lens.  I also intend to build and composite some scenes using HitFilm's 3D camera system.  So really, I'm after continuity between the real Anamorphic shots, and the shots that were built in HitFilm, or in other words, I only need HitFilm to be able to render Anamorphic DoF natively on it's own 'scratch-built' scenes using it's own camera.  The idea being that although some scenes are real, and some are fake, they all have Anamorphic DoF so have a feeling of continuity.

    To do it, I believe all we need is a way to set the pixel aspect of the rendering camera itself, so if we set it to say, 2x, we'd get something like a 2x Anamorphic DoF from it.


  • @HitFilmer255943  I think you misunderstood a little bit. What I wrote was all about getting HitFilm generated shots to match something real shot with an anamorphic lens not the other way around. If you really want continuity you're going to have to emulate the real world lens geometry and camera settings in HitFilm in some way because that's what determined your DoF in the real world. No matter what program you use, you have to give it quite a few parameters before it can figure out what the DoF should be so it'll never be a one click operation until you make a template project that emulates your lens, your camera and the settings you shot with. 

    Another option is to set up everything in a 3D space and tweak the virtual camera settings to see if you can get what you want. 

    If all you want is just the DoF without matching distortions and such then the simplest way is to use Lens Blur or the Frischluft plugin with a map or maps you make to match the characteristics of your real world gear and settings. 

  • edited September 2016

    I know what you mean, seriously, but it's a lot of messing around compared to just having a setting that allows us to set the Aspect Ratio of the Aperture so that we can get the classic Anamorphic oval DoF rather than just perfectly round.

    Using depth maps is a pain, it's doable, but a pain.

    I appreciate the feedback, but I really can't see me doing it like that, seriously.  I think I'd start looking for alternatives rather than mess around like that, and I really want to avoid that.  In a program like HitFilm it really should be just a simple setting to change the Aspect Ratio of the rendering camera's Aperture.

    The Anamorphic aesthetic is an important part of Cinema, especially if you want that look, so I really hope they'll add it to an add-on pack or something like that.

    Man, I want to see Simon produce a video with the opening words :
    "Today, we look at HitFilm's new Anamorphic rendering camera!"
    (accompanied by that shifty-looking thing he does with his eyebrows) ;-)

    Thanks again.

  • You keep overlooking the first thing Aladdin wrote:

    "Anamorphic DoF is going to be very specific to not only the lens but the settings used for filming as well."

    An "Anamorphic DoF" depends on the squeeze, focal length, the relative size of the imaging plane, etc... Mathematically, it's not a one-click setting!

  • edited September 2016

    Haven't overlooked it, I know it's not mathematically a one-click setting, but there is no 'single' setting in HitFilm to adjust it and there really should be a way to set the Aspect Ratio of the Aperture in a product designed for working with movies!

    Blender recently added it.  If you look under the camera controls on the most recent releases of Blender, there's a new setting called Aperture Aspect.  It's basically just a single setting which you set to whatever aspect you want, and that's it, the DoF is rendered in that aspect - you don't even have to do a de-squeeze - it's perfect.

    So that's what I'm getting at here, just a single setting that allows us to set the Aspect ratio of HitFilm's built-in camera Aperture.

  • Doesn't HitFilm's camera follow the aspect ratio of the original aspect ratio you select before you start working with the project?

  • @CNK, yeah, but Hitfilm's camera isn't Anamorphic. Anamorphic lenses literally squeeze and distort an image. A 35mm full-frame negative is a 4:3 aspect ratio, so, when shooting, say, 2.35:1 the anamorphic lens squeezes the image horizontally, so you have a tall, skinny image. For film, you'd have an anamorphic lens on the projector. For digital, you stretch in post. Either way this stretches out your bokeh and blur. 

  • edited September 2016

    It's like Triem23 said.  Anamorphic lenses literally distort the image and you have to undistort it after it's been shot.  Real Cinemas (and even hardcore home users) showing a true Anamorphic film, have to use a special lens on the front of their projector which distorts the image back in the opposite direction.

    The process creates an aesthetic which looks INCREDIBLY 'Cinematic' because Anamorphic lenses are often used to shoot big-budget movies so we're used to seeing the effect on professionally shot film.  It's a look you get from the Anamorphic process, and just seems to make everything look 'Epic'.

    People often play with grading, flares, and 24p etc to get the "Cinematic" look (and it all helps), but the biggie, the big one that really makes the difference, is Anamorphic DoF.

    I just realised I'm banging-on about this and not everyone will understand what it looks like, so here's a video demonstrating vertically stretched Anamorphic DoF, please watch it Full-screen.

    Thanks for explaining it short and sweet.  Much better you did, cause once I start I never stop :-D

    Anyway, that's my request.  Would love to see this in HitFilm, not only because I need it personally, but because it belongs inside HitFilm.  It's "Anamorphic", an important part of cinematic history, future cinema, and it's a stunning aesthetic.

  • edited September 2016

    EDIT : Forum edits working again, so please ignore this post.

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator
    edited September 2016

    @HitFilmer255943  Are you sure you don't really mean Bokeh instead of DoF? 

    "here's a video demonstrating vertically stretched Anamorphic DoF :"

    Vertical stretching is along the Y axis but DoF is along the Z axis. DoF determines what's in focus and what isn't but not how the out of focus areas are blurred by the optics. An anamorphic lens will stretch out of focus areas along the Y axis but that's the lens Bokeh, not Depth of Field. 

    "Blender recently added it.  If you look under the camera controls on the most recent releases of Blender, there's a new setting called Aperture Aspect.  It's basically just a single setting which you set to whatever aspect you want, and that's it, the DoF is rendered in that aspect - you don't even have to do a de-squeeze - it's perfect."

    That setting doesn't set the Depth of Field. What it does is set a Field of View, the aspect ratio of the camera and tells Cycles how to render out of focus areas emulating the Bokeh of  a lens at that aspect ratio. (it's been around a while but was recently moved to the camera settings as a workflow improvement) It's still on the user to match the DoF of real footage, the unique distortion of the lens and any vignetting characteristics and such. It's a purely synthetic emulation so while a fully generated scene will look like it was shot with an anamorphic lens it won't look like it was shot with your real lens without a lot of extra work. 

    Being realistic you're not going to see something like this in HitFilm, After Effects, Nuke, Fusion etc etc anytime soon because it's unique to Cycles and not even available in Blender unless you're using Cycles. On top of that there are tried and true techniques that are going to work regardless of the software you're using. It's just going to take some prep work to make it happen.

  • edited September 2016

    I refer to it as Anamorphic DoF cause, like you said, DoF is an effect based along the Z axis or 'depth based'.  I've never really looked into whether that's the proper name for it, though.  I suppose I'm just using the term Anamorphic DoF mainly to differentiate it's look from standard round DoF.

    But I'm definitely referring to DoF, not Bokeh.  Funny thing is, that shape feature HitFilm has for changing the shape of the Bokeh, appears to allow any basic shape apart from a stretched oval (unless they updated it).

    But no, what I'm wanting has nothing to do with matching-up lenses, nothing as fancy as that.  I just want to be able to set the Aspect Ratio of HitFilm's camera's Aperture and leave it.

    At least the request is out there now, and if the same is true for the competing products not having it either, who knows, maybe HitFilm can show the rest how it's done by being the first!

  • edited September 2016

    BTW, you just got me curious what would be the proper term for it, and to be honest, I don't know.  Thing is, that video I posted earlier was actually created using two completely different techniques but both of them resulted in the same Anamorphic aesthetic.  Some of it is shot with a real Anamorphic lens, and some of it is created by simply sticking an oval cutout filter on front of a standard lens.

    When I think of Bokeh, I think of the effect that tends to pick-out highlights and do it's thing.  But that Anamorphic blur effect works on everything that is out of focus, not just the highlights.

    So I don't know, interesting though, you got me wondering!

  • edited September 2016

    Well that's great news then, hopefully nothing a line or two of code wouldn't fix by adding the ability to squeeze the circle in the custom bokeh shape settings HitFilm already has.

    Like I said, strange that it has the ability to do all sorts of shapes, but not a vertically stretched oval, cause the oval bokeh is devinitely needed, especially if that's all that's holding it back!

  • While bokeh can be how a lens renders out of focus points of light it's not limited to that it actually encompasses everything that lies outside the depth of field or put another way, how all out of focus regions are rendered by the optics. 

    Some of it is shot with a real Anamorphic lens, and some of it is created by simply sticking an oval cutout filter on front of a standard lens.

    The oval filter is a bokeh filter.  

    Like I said, strange that it has the ability to do all sorts of shapes, but not a vertically stretched oval.

    Not really strange at all when you consider that the shapes aren't supposed to be lens filters but instead meant to mimic a real world iris to create iris bokeh. There's nothing special about the iris with an anamorphic lens it's just an iris and trying to shoehorn an oval shape in here won't do what you want. Iris bokeh is when the iris ends up being reflected by the back of the lens onto the sensor. 

    "hopefully nothing a line or two of code wouldn't fix"

    It's already there but you didn't seem to care for the answer. The tools are there to match most any shot. No there aren't any one or two click solutions out of the box but all it takes is a little time to make some z-maps, save some effects presets and some projects to use as templates and then you do have quick and easy solutions that are specific to your lens and camera. Do it and the big bonus is your stuff will end up looking better than any canned solution ever would.



  • edited September 2016

    I just don't care for the whole depth-map thing, that's all.  But if it's the only way, and adding the ability to get an oval wouldn't work (I personally didn't think it would anyway), well, no choice really.

    I've tried this stuff in various programs over the years, and yes, using depth maps is the way to go about getting the effect.  But Blender's way is the most elegant I've seen by far, just set the Aperture Aspect and ... bliss!

  • Just realised my comment might come across as arrogant, so my apologies if it does.  I appreciate what you're saying, and there's definite advantages in doing it manually like that.  Still doesn't stop me wishing I could just set it and leave it though.

    Just like I set the resolution and frame rate, I just want to set it and leave it.

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