Achieving the "Big Picture" Look with Super-Vision

American Cinematographer, July 1979 | Go to article overview

Achieving the "Big Picture" Look with Super-Vision


An expanding modifier for projection lenses, which enlarges 2 to 15X original size without deterioration in terms of grain or distortion

Super-Vision is described by its developers as a unique optical system designed to expand the magnification capabilities of normal projection lenses without degrading image quality. Edge-to-edge sharpness and resolution is maintained at all levels of magnification without focus shift or color defects. The image is completely free of distortion regardless of the projected image size, diopter, plano-concave auxiliary lens. In use, it is placed beyond the focal point of the prime lens. At this point, the image is fully formed and inverted. The distance from the prime lens to the Super-Vision lens determines the amount of magnification. Focusing is achieved with the prime lens as usual.

Universal Mounting

The Super-Vision lens is housed in a barrel which is threaded to fit the end of the prime lens. Adapter rings are available to accommodate the threads of any make or brand of prime lens. Adapter rings also are available for 16mm projectors. The lens is moved with respect to the prime lens by means of knobs on the outside of the barrel. No modification is required to the projector.

With a given prime lens, the Super-Vision lens will provide continuously variable magnification ranging from two to six times enlargement. In some applications, 15-times enlargement is possible. A 35mm film can fill a 70mm-size screen or a standard anamorphic screen. A 16mm film can fill a standard 35mm screen and Super 8mm and all sizes of slide films can be expanded to fill large screens. A 180° curved screen can be filled with 16mm, 35mm or 70mm film without any degradation. Because of the unique construction of the Super-Vision lens, two of them can be used in conjunction to increase magnification even further.

Numerous Applications

The new lens has been used in a variety of applications. A large number of them are being used in audio-visual applications and many are being used in background projection where the throw for a given size screen has been substantially reduced. The lens also is being used with darkroom enlargers, laser beam expansion and copy machine enlargements.

Another proposed use in the 35mm theatrical projection field is to release pictures with a two-perforation height and expand them to fill the standard screen with the Super-Vision lens. Films will play with standard four-perforation pulldown and without loss of image quality.

The Super-Vision lens was used in both the 1978 and 1979 Academy Awards Presentations for the projection of films clips on the stage of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center.

In the following dialogue, Barnard L. Sackett, President of the Super-V Corporation, was independently interviewed (not by a member of the AMERICAN CINEMATOGRAPHER staff) and he discusses the various capabilities of the new lens system:

QUESTION: At the Burbank Studio demonstrations you kept telling your audiences how your Super-Vision lens will revolutionize the film industry. What is so different about your expanding lens? It's been done before.

SACKETT: It's like asking, what's so great about the 747? After all, the Wright Bros, had an airplane, too. Expanding lenses have been used before. The distinctive difference between SuperVision and all other so-called expanding modifiers is Super-Vision's capability of delivering a larger image without loss in resolution; the light factor is equal from edge to edge; there is no deterioration of the original source material; there is no added grain and there is no distortion. That's the difference.

QUESTION: What's so distinctive about Super-Vision that has all these plusses, like you say.

SACKETT: Firstly, it's not "like you say". Hal Denstman, Industrial Photography, made an independent in-depth analysis of our lens and wrote of his findings in the October issue, 1978. …

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