Sim’s Effigy Lens System – Bringing Large Format Photography Lenses to Digital Cinema

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“When the creator of Valley of The Boom, Matthew Carnahan asked me to provide him with some unique images for a test, I was perplexed. Sim introduced me to their exclusive Effigy system and it was like, ‘Eureka. That’s it’. When Matthew saw the results, he adopted it immediately.”

            François Dagenais, CSC
            Director of Photography

The unique aspect of the Effigy system is that it is not a “lens” but it is a “lens system”. The Effigy works to adapt lenses that are made for Large Format photography to work with Digital Cinema cameras. The system can use many different lenses ranging from modern lenses to very unique antique lenses made in the 1800’s and anything in between. Two of the most interesting lenses included with the system is a 178mm lens originally built in 1945 for WWII spy plane cameras and another that was originally from an X-ray machine.

The first adoption of the Effigy Lens System was for National Geographic’s Valley of the Boom, utilized any time the characters spoke directly to the camera. In this case a spy plane lens was used to produce an extremely blurry background that separated the person from their surroundings and created a surreal image. Initially, the concept was to use the lens whenever actors broke the fourth wall, but after seeing what the Effigy was capable of, more shots made their way into the script.

With eight unique lenses available in the Effigy Lens System, cinematographers can create unique looks sought after in today’s productions.

Effigy Lens system with spy plane lens on “Valley of the Boom”