Friday, November 3, 2023

Did I Enjoy the Great Joy? A look at the budget anamorphic.

Around May of this year I sat in on a short-film project in Taiwan that was a production for a contest in Taipei. I didn't get to do much on set (may write more about that later), but I did get a few shots with the Great Joy anamorphic set. You can take a look at the lenses here:


The only anamorphics I had previously been around were much more cost-prohibitive versions such as Kowas and Cookes. The Great Joy is definitely not one of these, but it does have a great look to it overall. The only issue I had with the Great Joy series was with their color. 

I had seen on YouTube reviews that stacked the Great Joy against other cheaper anamorphics and most agreed that the Great Joy had a warmer color cast. I found this to be slightly problematic in post. Let's take a look at one of the shots:


This is the initial shot, in log, with no grade:


This is the same shot with a base grade, balancing the exposure and bringing in more contrast and saturation:

The camera was a BMPCC6k set to 5600k. There was an Apurture light set outside the window that was set to 5600k. There was a warmer light in the room on the shadow side, but it was very far back. As you can see there is a yellow/green tint to the whole shot. The pocket 6k skews a bit green, so I had the in-camera tint set to +10. After doing the base grade, I went in an worked on the skin tones and the background separately. This was the result:

That's at least a good baseline to start adding secondary grades and looks after the balance. I love the look, but I'm not fond of the color shift. If you are a solo shooter without much of a background in post production or color correction, this lens might get you into trouble. It really reminds me of the days of trying to grade Slog footage before Sony updated their color science with their new line of cameras. 

If you're an EF shooter, Great Joy seems to be your only option in the budget anamorphic range, save for Schneiders which are almost twice as much. I love how the mount is an interchangeable EF to PL. Although, now Blackmagic seems to be moving to the L mount, which I believe causes a lot more problems than solutions for Blackmagic film and video shooters looking to invest in a lens ecosystem. More on this later. 

So, to make a long story long, Great Joy equals a great look, a nice interchangeable mount, an "affordable" price, but a troublesome color shift.

Andrew J. Fann

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