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Anamorphic lens on iPhone makes dreamy film in New Zealand

Cult of Mac 2019-08-08 00:22:27
Shot on iPhone – with a big assist from an anamorphic lens.
Screenshot: Mathieu Stern/YouTube

In your pocket is a camera capable of making films that stretch across a silver screen. But to get that sweeping, horizontal field of view, you want to make room in an extra pocket for one important accessory – an anamorphic lens.

Rather than explain it, Parisian photographer and filmmaker Mathieu Stern shows off the wow factor an anamorphic lens delivers with a short film he made in New Zealand using an iPhone 8 Plus.


Stern has a popular YouTube channel where he adapts antique lenses to the latest Sony DSLR for videos and photos. The old glass presents shifting colors and creamy, dreamy out-of-focus backgrounds.

For his latest offering, Stern uses modern optics from Moondog Labs, the first brand to make the cinematic lens for iPhone. It was a Moondog Labs lens on an iPhone 5s that director Sean Baker shot the critically acclaimed Tangerine, which wowed audiences at Sundance in 2015.

Since Moondog Labs, mobile photograph accessory brands like Moment and Sandmarc have produced popular anamorphic lenses for smartphones.

An anamorphic lens is essential for those horizontal, shadowbox-framed scenes that capture our gaze. The glass elements also bring a unique flair when pointed directly into a source of light, such as a street lamp, headlight or setting sun.

When you see Stern’s three-minute Valentine to the Land of the Long White Cloud, you won’t need to understand the specs of an anamorphic lens to want one.