Giant Whacking Lens for Dreamy Storybook Film

The first 1/2L task I asked of builder Kyelynn was to frame out my all-important clear-spot fresnel lens.
These salvaged old tv plastic lenses are VERY soft (so tender a paintbrush leaves a mark!) and require full support to use effectively. She found the perfect tutorial for building the frame for these lenses on YouTube. Most folks use them to cook with sunlight off-grid. I may be the first person to use one for stop-motion filming effect.

The speaker stands holding it up were curb-lottery finds right out front of the house! But they had a key part missing... no problem...!

I had a small amount of very old Ice Resin leftover and cast the missing brake part using the wonderful Composimold product to create the mold. Kyelynn was amazed at what mold-making could do.

She stopped at a hardware store before the next visit and brought the missing hex nut that fit the new replacement part as well as right-sized nuts and bolt sets used to hang the framed lens on the stands. The frame stand is stable and fully adjustable for height and tilting so I'll be able to control the amount of distortion in each shot.

Scenes from the set room through the new lens.  These are straight from the phone
but the film scenes will have tons of digital editing and heavy vignetting at the edges.

Just beginning to get the way to work the lens, ways to whack the angles to stretch the edges of things. It's kind of like what I imagine a giant tilt-shift lens might be like. The effects changing depending on what distance the lens is placed, and the distance and angle the camera is positioned to the lens.

Close up gives a dreamlike effect, further away exaggerates the refraction as if looking through a water-filled bag. Lens flares can be controlled with black-out curtains on windows and wearing dark clothing while filming.

One may wonder why use magnifying lenses like this for stop motion. The answer is here and here. But in short, it's because I want this world called Halfland to be highly textural and detailed but seen as if through an antique lens with all its lovely distortions and blur. This project has to be slightly dreamlike rather than give edge-to-edge clarity.

I've been stumbling toward this all along. For example, this set of reference images of what I most wanted 1/2L to look like from a 2007 (!) blog posting: 



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