The anamorphic look has been around for a long time, but its popularity at the budget level has increased in the last few years thanks, in part, to the availability of inexpensive interchangeable lens digital cameras. If you've been interested in how people are getting the look and what they are using, Ryan Connolly over at Film Riot has put together a video giving an overview about your options out there and some of the advantages and disadvantages for some of the options. Click through to watch that video below:
One thing to keep in mind with these adapter lenses is that not all of them have the same squeeze factor, so in order to correct the footage in post, you may end up cropping more with some of them unless you want a super wide aspect ratio like 3.55:1 -- which is what an anamorphic adapter with a 2X squeeze factor does to all 16:9 sensors. Other adapters may have a 1.5X squeeze that will give about a 2.66:1 aspect ratio when corrected, so you'll be cropping a lot less, but the effect will also be less pronounced. To get close to the typical Hollywood 2.39/2.40 aspect ratio used today without really having to crop on a 16:9 sensor, you'll have to use around a 1.35X squeeze adapter. The AG-LA7200 from Panasonic is extremely close to this ratio, and it's one of the few adapters that can give both high quality and a proper aspect ratio on most DSLRs and other digital cameras.
The CineMorph anamorphic filter from Vid-Atlantic is an interesting option, as it doesn't actually change your aspect ratio, but allows you to get some of the effects of having an anamorphic filter without many of the issues that are associated with those lenses. The major drawback to that filter is that you must use fairly long lenses to keep from vignetting, so it isn't as versatile as some of the anamorphic adapters out there. I am interested to see more results from that filter as it solves many of the problems that using adapters in front of your lenses can create.
What kind of anamorphic adapters/filters do you use? Which do you prefer on your own shoots? Feel free to share any examples you may have in the comments.