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Moondog Labs Has Brought Anamorphic Filmmaking to the iPhone

iPhone Anamorphic LensThough shooting with anamorphic lenses isn’t anything new, the aesthetic it produces, the dimentionality and oval bokeh, has become more and more popular among independent filmmakers. Unfortunately, lenses and adapters are often too expensive for indies to utilize them — unless of course you’re a smartphone filmmaker. Moondog Labs, based out of Rochester, NY, has developed an affordable 1.33x anamorphic adapter for the iPhone 5 and 5S that produces the distinctive horizontal lens flares and wide aspect ratio of anamorphic shooting. And it’s cheap! Continue on to find out more.

The iPhone natively shoots in 16:9, and like any anamorphic lens/adapter, Moondog’s adapter, compresses a wider image onto the sensor, where then, in post, you stretch it out to give you the anamorphic look.

It’s important to point out, however, that although the adapter excels at providing the wide aspect ratio, distortion, and horizontal lens flares, it does not provide the oval bokeh typical of anamorphic. Of course, considering that you’re shooting with an iPhone, which doesn’t provide the shallow depth of field needed to create significant bokeh, these limitations are to be expected.

To learn more about Moondog’s anamorphic adapter, check out their Kickstarter campaign video below:

Here are the specs of the anamorphic adapter, taken right off of their Kickstarter campaign:

  • 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

Moondog is offering a few pledge options that will get your hands on one of their adapters ranging from $85 to $125. The earlier you pledge, the cheaper it’s going to be. They plan to go into full production mode in February 2014, and ship the adapters to Kickstarter pledges by March 2014.

As far as post goes, any of the major NLEs work well with iPhone footage, but Moondog is working with the iPhone app FiLMiC Pro to create a workflow specifically geared toward “desqueezing” your footage:

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.

moondog adapter

Lens designer and optical engineer Scott Cahall founded Moondog Labs in 2007. He and his team have been working with the concept of creating an anamorphic adapter for the iPhone since 2011, testing several prototypes. To find out more about Moondog Labs, check out their website here. Also, take a look at their Kickstarter campaign to learn more about their anamorphic adapter.

What do you guys think about Moondog Labs’ anamorphic adapter? Let us know in the comments.


[via HHH]


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Description image 53 COMMENTS

  • C’mon guys enough

    • once again, please include kickstarter in the headline for relevant articles.

      A kickstarter project does not equal an available product.

      Please also bare in mind that this is a prototype that will likely change if/when it becomes available.
      kickstarter project articles on NFS is getting tiresome, and barely a step up from reading rumors sites.

      the subject line, “Moondog Labs Has Brought Anamorphic Filmmaking to the iPhone” suggests this is a product available to market or near market. The reality is it is most likely no where near to market.


  • Ummm….. yes please.

  • Interesting start. When you produce an adapter that can fit on a DSLR or a mattebox, I’ll be getting really excited.

    • Letus direct already has one out and the first to use it was Ryan Connolly from Film Riot

  • Nobody wants this…

  • I’m normally not interested in stuff like this, but I think this is pretty cool actually.

    • Cool indeed.

      And I had never thought how handy a 1.33x anamorphic would be: 16:9 to 2.40:1 and 4:3 to 16:9 is pretty sweet

      Two downsides for this particular one:
      * there’s not a lot of bokeh on such a tiny sensor anyway
      * it doesn’t seem to flare much, except with the very brightest sources and only if they’re pointing directly at the lens

  • All right people, that’s it. Just shut the whole low budget filmmaker thing down. It’s run its course. Nice knowing you all.

  • Will this fit android phones or older iphones (4s/4)?

    • I would imagine all phones are slightly different in the placement of the camera. I wouldn’t count on this working on anything other than the iPhone 5/5s or else they would have marketed as such.

  • I think it looks fun.

    Nikon (or similar lens maker) would make a bundle if they took all of their primes and made an anamorphic version.

  • The footage looks lovely. But seriously, everybody know much cost an iphone. Would I prefer to buy a DSLR at the same price? Of course. Filmmakers buy cameras, consumers buy iphones. How many consumers know about anamorphic work?

    Yet I have seem people who claim not to have money for equipment, so they can’t even afford to buy a camera in order to shot their dream movie. But hey… Why do they had every single version of the past iphones? Used (T3I + Magic Lantern) + 400$ = Hell Yeah!

    • Christian Anderson on 11.22.13 @ 11:10AM

      “Filmmakers buy cameras, consumers buy iphones.”

      Huh? Last I checked, filmmakers also buy iPhones and consumers also buy cameras.

      • Come on Christian, you understand. There are people such as myself who need to choose between buying a tv, or a RM 333 preamp. When money is not the issue anybody buy whatever he/she please. But when that is not the case, somebody need to put some food on the table.

  • I honestly don’t understand the animosity in some of these comments. Sure, it’s not an adapter for “professionals” (which to me is a relative term), but I feel like so many people jerk around their high standards. Filmmaking is a passion and just because some people are looking for high budgeted $100,000 equipment for their films, doesn’t mean NoFilmSchool should leave out the people who have a passion and no budget but want to continue to do what they like to do.

    I for one think this is an awesome little adapter. I have my Blackmagic camera which I use to most my shoots, but when I’m out on hikes with friends or traveling, there’s no way in hell I’m bringing that thing with my shoulder rig around just for fun footage. I have my iPhone 5S, a rad little Steadicam Smoothee, and now I’m going to be pledging for the first time on Kickstarter for this thing. Why? Cause it’s fun and easy and it will make my already impressive iPhone footage look just slightly cooler for my own sake.

    I get so bummed out when I read comments from people thinking they’re too good for low budget filmmaking things. It’s too much of a let down for those that just have a passion for pressing record.

    • Christian Anderson on 11.22.13 @ 11:13AM

      It’s all based in insecurities. Let yourself be free to enjoy what you enjoy by allowing others the same privilege.

    • You’re missing the part where this site posts either cheap things for mostly irrelevant applications (iphone adapters and crap) or calling things that cost $3000 “more affordable”.

    • It’s the internet. You could cure cancer and someone would get pissed.

  • It’s kind of silly, kind of gimmicky, not exactly necessary by any means, sure. I think we’re all just grumpy that there isn’t a DSLR adapter like this for $85-125. But c’mon, this is actually a pretty fun little gimmick! I might get one just because.

  • Engineers have been working very hard and for quite a long time to make the smartphone photo/video features on par with the point&shoot cameras. The software and the processing power is almost there. They need to improve sensors and the lens adaptability. Sooner or later, they’ll probably catch up with the P&S. And, by then, P&S will be taking photos and videos barely distinguishable from the DSLR/DSLM. Which, themselves, won’t be far behind the pro cams. Sony took a major step with the detachable lens/cam and Nokia took another with their 41 Mp sensor. Combine those two; add a next generation processor and you will have a decent 4K capable smartphone.

  • This thing is awesome and I may get one EVEN THOUGH I DON’T OWN AN iPHONE. I’ll borrow one and shoot a music video with it.
    Its a toy, but given how much doco stuff is captured on iPhones these days I think there’s absolutely a market for this.
    Re the other comments re anamorphic adapters/lenses, NAB ’14 will blow your mind. We’re going to be knee deep in them by this time next year. Can’t say any of them will be ‘budget’ but they will be ‘cheap’.

    • That is great news! Also I don’t own a iphone but love this thing! Simply because it brings anamorphic closer to the mainstream consumer market, would love to see lots of ‘cheap’ anamorphic primes hitting the market!

  • If you’re saying, “Low budget filmmaking is dead!” – and you shoot with a DSLR, you don’t see the irony: you are the low-budget filmmaker.

  • So they’ll have an app that’ll help de-squeeze the image before you even import into an actual NLE?

  • I will not buy it….

  • very useful

  • I think this is awesome. I have shot no-budget footage for a conference with an iphone, having this would have been even better.

    The biggest problem I see is the rolling shutter jello effect, but that is a problem even on the blackmagic and dslrs.

    I think its cool that nofilmschool caters to low budget, mid budget and high budget. We do stuff on dslrs, reds and alexas depending on what our budget is. And therefore I need the latest info in all segments.

  • I’ve mentioned this before. has started off as a blog regarding low budget and DIY kits for anyone not having budget to do so. A few years ago there was more attention on building your own steadicams or dollies and now it seems this kind of filmmaking is shunned. If you’d rather see articles without cheaper options for broke filmmakers go to an AV forum or another blog catering to that kind of group. I’ve visited this site since it’s inception because I can’t afford film school and I’m not lucky enough to run across someone with a RED or even a DSLR. Most of us here do what we can do with what we have. That’s why I love this site.

    Filmmaking doesn’t have to be expensive, just creative. When my rich uncle can drop several hundred dollars for a DSLR then I’ll move up with the rest of you guys but I don’t think it’s a cool thing to put down a gadget just because it oozes mediocrity. Let it be.

    • *” started off as a blog regarding low budget…”

      There was a minor typo there, I know how much users will be scrutinized for grammar when people disagree with them so I’m just preparing.

    • Nice piece of news.It would be really great to cleeopmmnt the two good PL priced zooms on the market right now (Duclos 11-16 and Red Pro Zoom 17-50), but I don’t think Sony or Canon will sell their new units under $10k especially the zoom 70-200. A glass of that range competing with a 6k tag? I’m not that confident probably more around 8k, but I’m hoping for a more “affordable” price, please! It would be amazing if that could be true.

  • Their biggest problem is that by the time they go to market, the hardware they support (the iPhone 5 platform) will only have 6 months of life left. Apple changes the hardware every two versions….The iPhone 6 will be announced in Sept, and the shape will undoubtedly change.

    They have a very short sales window.

    MAYBE the new phone will still work with this adapter, but I doubt it.

  • I’m a little bit confused about the statement above, “Expands camera horizontal field of view (FOV) by 33%; vertical FOV is unchanged.” I was under the impression that you only gain back vertical resolution with anamorphic lenses and that your horizontal FOV would be the same. Am I missing something?

    • The adapter is basically a half circle of glass that sits infront of the lens. Light comes into the front, and the glass focuses the light into the lens. This results in a horizontally squeezed image.

      From there, as not to lose any sharpness, you squeeze the top and bottom of the video closer together to get the scale to CinemaScope. The adapter takes more light horizontally, so your lens will be wider, but because of the ‘crop’ from cinemascope your vertical fov is lost leaving you with the regular focal length there.

  • anyone shooting anamorphic on an iPhone likely won’t know the difference between almost real anamorphic and a regular 16:9 ratio with a more intense letterbox horizontally.

    Just shoot 16:9 on your dslr, tape over the top and bottom a little, then crop to 2.55:1 or 3:1 in post with FCP..

    This is neat, but really I think it’s pretty silly

    • “anyone shooting anamorphic on an iPhone likely won’t know the difference between almost real anamorphic and a regular 16:9 ratio with a more intense letterbox horizontally.”

      Unless one of us uses it, of course. Then, that person will actually know what they’re doing with it. Perhaps we’re closer to the intended market?

  • I wonder how long it’ll take for someone to shoot a vertically-oriented video with this attached… if you think unjustified 9:16 video is annoying, get ready for 1:2.36!

  • I think for a low budget filmmaker, this can be quite helpful thing.

  • I noticed on their website it says the $85 and $105 pledge levels are “All Gone!” Only $125 is available. While I think this is a clever idea and would be fun to use when I’m just shooting something for kicks with my iPhone, I’ll wait to see if it sells for less than $125 once out on the open market next sumer.

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