Thornwood, NY—No matter if it is Star Wars, Harry Potter or Avatar, today just about every film features special effects. For many small film productions, having visual effects in their movies is often beyond their budgets. At the 2017 NAB Show in Las Vegas, Zeiss debuted metadata technology that makes it possible for even low-budget productions to make an “image fit the look of the footage” without requiring expensive tools. The company has equipped its new Zeiss CP.3 XD compact lens family with Zeiss eXtended Data.
Zeiss eXtended Data in CP.3 XD Lenses
“Zeiss eXtended Data is the first metadata technology which stores the lens distortion and shading—for every single frame,” explained Christophe Casenave, Product Manager at Zeiss. “Moreover, all /i-Technology metadata are recorded, including the focus distance, aperture value and depth of field, which is supported by most cameras.”
As a result, the technology is ideal for working with visual effects, added Casenave. By using the metadata, it takes a few clicks to modify the image generated on the computer to fit the lens characteristics, and to then splice it together with the footage to create a realistic image. Distortion and shading can be corrected or amplified in postproduction.
“It used to be that only big blockbusters could take this approach,” said Casenave. “Cine lenses that provide metadata are relatively expensive. And, up until now, distortion and shading had to be manually measured—a time-consuming and expensive process.”
However, since Zeiss has incorporated the technology into its compact CP.3 XD cine lens family, low-budget productions can now take the same approach to creating their special effects. “With Zeiss eXtended Data, we are offering Hollywood technology for everyone, providing small film teams with new creative opportunities,’’ Casenave added.
End-to-End Solution through Partnerships
With the Zeiss CP.3 XD, the company also gave thought to storage and processing. Consequently, Zeiss has additionally teamed up with partners in the industry. Ambient developed the MasterLockit Plus system together with Zeiss. The system records all metadata along with a time code in case the technology is not supported by a camera. This allows film productions to work with Zeiss eXtended Data no matter what equipment they use.
Furthermore, thanks to the cooperation with software developer Pomfort, distortion and shading can be modified on the set in real time using Pomfort’s LiveGrade Pro tool. This permits the film crew to get a sense of what the final look will be during the shoot. The film clips and lens data can be consolidated and also organized with Silverstack, Pomfort’s file manager.
Zeiss plans to further expand its new metadata technology. “Our customers will then be able to upgrade to the new version, making the CP.3 XD a long-term investment,” said Casenave.
CP.3 XD Cine Lenses
The 10 prime lenses in the Zeiss CP.3 XD line range between 15 and 135 millimeters, covering the full frame. The lenses are engineered to deliver “outstanding results, even in light situations with a large dynamic range.” For example when there are both highlights and shadows within the same scene.
The maximum speed of the seven focal lengths between 25 and 135 millimeters is T2.1; the 15mm, 18mm and 21mm lenses have a speed of T2.9. With a front diameter of 95mm, the lenses are also built to be lightweight and compact. They are said to be well suited for handheld filming or shooting with gimbals, Steadicams or drones.
Zeiss also improved their focusing system to make manual focus smoother. The company says the system is comparable with Zeiss Master primes and can also be operated with a small motor. The focus rotation angle is 300°. Furthermore, the lenses are equipped with an interchangeable mount, so they can be used on almost any camera.
In addition to Zeiss CP.3 XD lenses, the company also introduced a version without metadata: the Zeiss CP.3 lens family.
CP.3 Lens Pricing and Availability
These Zeiss CP.3 XD lenses will be available this September with the following suggested retail prices: 15mm/T2.9 XD, $7,490; 18mm/T2.9 XD, $6,690; 21mm/T2.9 XD, $5,790; 25mm/T2,1 XD, $5,790; 35mm/T2.1 XD, $5,790; 50mm/T2.1 XD, $5,790; 85mm/T2.1 XD, $5,790; 100mm/T2.1 XD, $6,690; and 135mm/T2.1 XD, $7,490. The CP.3 28mm/T2.1 XD will ship in October for $5,790.
The following Zeiss CP.3 cine lens will be available in June 2017 each for $4,390: 21mm/T2.9; 25mm/T2.1; 35mm/T2.1; 50mm/T2.1; and 85mm/T2.1. In July, Zeiss will release the 18mm/T2.9 for $5,290.
In September it will ship the 100mm/T2.1, $5,290, as well as the 135mm/T2.1, $6,090. The 28mm/T2.1 will be offered in October for $4,390. zeiss.com