At JML Optical, we specialize in creating precision optical components for film projectors, cameras, and other high-tech equipment used throughout the entertainment industry. Our products enable filmmakers to create high-quality movies and images, while movie theaters utilize projection lenses for film productions to reach audiences with crystal-clear imaging and excellent picture quality. Learn more about the options for cinematographic camera lenses and how our team can help.

Image Capture and Projection

Cinematography relies on professional-grade equipment just as much as it does a specific creative vision.  In the early days of film-based entertainment, people placed glass slides into magic lanterns to create the illusion of moving images through projection, while others created discs with a sequential series of images to project animated actions when the device would spin. Over time, the entertainment industry refined and developed these technologies to capture images with increasing speed to produce recordings with more intricate movements, as well as to project clearer and longer sequences of images. 

Varying cameras lenses can capture the same scene differently. Three key factors when considering the right lens for an application include:

  •   Focal length. The shorter the focal length, normally stated in millimeters (mm), between the optical center of a camera’s lens and its sensor, the wider the field of view angle that the lens will capture for a given sensor width. Zoom lenses allow for adjustable focal length for wide angles or close-up shots, whereas prime lenses are fixed and operators must physically move to achieve the same effect.
  •   Aperture and t- or f-stops. Aperture is the size of a lens’ opening, which is often set by an adjustable iris. A particular aperture in a lens sets the t- or f-stop which determines how wide a cone of light gets focused into any particular image point. The wider this cone, the brighter the image for a given exposure time. Picking the best t- or f-stop requires considering the scene brightness and the desired depth of field. A lens with a larger aperture is said to be “faster” than an otherwise identical lens with a smaller aperture, terminology that arose from consideration of how fast film could be adequately exposed.
  •   Depth of field. Depth of field is the range of object distances that remain in focus without adjusting the focus of the lens. This is related to the depth of focus of the lens which in turn is strongly influenced by the optical speed. 

Camera Lenses in the Entertainment Industry

Choosing the right cinema camera lens is an essential part of creating films. Some of the most common lens types that capture images and film sequences are:

  •     Wide-angle lenses, 14-20mm or more. These capture a wider image than the human eye would naturally be able to see, with the benefit of capturing the entirety of busy or complex scenes as well as large scenery or objects. Ultrawide options are also available.
  •   Standard lenses, 50mm. Standard or “Nifty Fifty” lenses create a basic image without isolation, blurriness, or a width greater than the human eye’s capacity
  •     Telephoto lenses, 75mm. These lenses compress fore-, middle-, and background images to emphasize certain subjects or details of the view or make them seem isolated.
  •     Anamorphic lenses. Drawing on their non-spherical shape, these lenses allow operators versatile options for aspect ratios. Many display formats – both movie and television – are quite a bit wider than they are tall. The recording medium, whether film or digital sensor, is closer in shape to a square; the aspect ratio is not as extreme. Anamorphic lenses allow the camera to “squeeze” the image horizontally so that the wide field of view is recorded. When projected or displayed, the image is stretched back to its full width, either with an anamorphic projection lens or through digital means.

Projection Lenses in the Entertainment Industry

Projectors are increasingly popular for commercial and residential use. They can produce small images for home theaters and personal entertainment systems, project training videos in larger commercial settings, generate simulations for theme park rides or planetariums, and cast large-scale productions in the world’s biggest indoor and outdoor theaters onto a screen without sacrificing image quality or viewers’ immersion in the film.

High-quality movie projector lenses can provide excellent picture quality and high-contrast images in two- or three-dimensional options while remaining cost-effective. We manufacture a wide range of lenses that can guarantee high-contrast resolution in images with minimal distortion and blurriness.

JML’s Capabilities in Entertainment Industry Optics

We make high-quality lenses that allow organizations throughout the entertainment to capture and project engaging images. Our products include professional camera lenses for filming motion pictures as well as projection lenses for projecting standard and wide-screen images across different screen sizes in movie theaters and more. All of our lenses are built to provide long-lasting control over image quality, with customizable options for lens dimensions, robust housings that protect the sensitive components, and protective coatings that can withstand even outdoor environmental conditions.

JML specializes in manufacturing cylindrical, spherical, aspherical, and plano/flats glass lenses. Our team can machine rugged housings, incorporate the lenses, and build out completed lens assemblies, all with our in-house capabilities. Our entertainment industry clients benefit from our world-class engineering department, a state-of-the-art lean manufacturing facility and clean room, and our dedicated and highly technical customer support team.

Choose JML for Optics in the Entertainment Industry

JML is a leading designer and manufacturer of professional-grade optical equipment for industries ranging from entertainment to healthcare. We’ve been serving our clients with optical lenses, complete assemblies, and prototypes since 1972. Contact us today to learn more about our capabilities or request a quote to start your project.