A process which horizontally compresses a video or film image, effectively squeezing it width-wise. The reason for doing this is to fit a widescreen image into a smaller space, which can later be expanded to the original width.
The anamorphic technique is used in a number of ways, for example:
- An anamorphic lens allows a widescreen image to be recorded on a standard camera.
- A widescreen movie can be compressed into a 4x3 recording, then later restored to 16x9 for viewing on a widescreen television.
- An anamorphic lens can be used with a still camera to produce panoramic photos.
If an anamorphic image is displayed without being expanded, the image appears squeezed, people look tall and thin, etc.
An anamorphic lens works by having a different curvature on each axis. This means that light is gathered from a wider angle on one axis (horizontal axis) than the other (vertical axis).