ZEISS Cinematography introduces the first service of its new CinCraft system for the digital application of lens looks into compositing and matchmoving workflows.

ZEISS CinCraft Mapper

ZEISS is launching a new digital service that delivers frame-accurate lens distortion and shading data for the VFX industry. This data is essential for digital compositing and matchmoving in order to achieve a cinematic result that is as realistic and precise as possible. “Normally, lens grids must be recorded and processed in order to obtain this data – a process that is not only very time-consuming, but also error-prone and limited in scope,” said Jonathan Demuth, Product Manager, Digital Cinematography at ZEISS.

“In a few steps, CinCraft Mapper now supplies this data directly on the basis of the metadata – including lens type, focus distance and aperture – captured during film production. Lost clip metadata can also be added without difficulty. For compositing and matchmoving artists, this means that they can not only receive accurate data without having to rely on previous capture and workflow procedures, but also that the entire VFX process will be simplified and accelerated. The VFX studio also has the direct advantage of a more efficient workflow.”

ZEISS CinCraft Mapper delivers precise, frame-accurate lens data with which complex shots with multiple, dynamic focussing distances, such as car chases, can be edited more easily, quickly and completely, without the need to make assumptions due to incomplete data. “CinCraft Mapper expands on the ZEISS eXtended Data (XD) system that we introduced with the ZEISS Compact Prime CP.3 and have subsequently integrated into each new cine lens family,” said Christophe Casenave, Head of Cinematography Products at ZEISS.

ZEISS CinCraft Mapper2

Based on Cooke /i* technology, the XD system also displays information about the lens’ distortion and shading characteristics in real time. When using it, crew members can monitor lens settings in real-time, pre-visualise modified images and to use automated search functions within data wrangling output.

“VFX artists no longer have to rely solely on eXtended Data generated by lens and camera equipment on set. Now additional and historic lens family shading and distortion data can also be accessed via the CinCraft Mapper service. At the same time, the service is also compatible with the existing XD system,” Christophe said. CinCraft Mapper delivers industry standard ST Maps for distortion and Multiply Maps for shading. These can be used directly in compositing and matchmoving software such as Nuke, Flame and 3DEqualizer.

“Mapper serves as the beginning for our CinCraft ecosystem. We are already looking forward to adding other services in the future, which will support many aspects of lens look development for VFX and other applications,” said Christophe.

For further information about ZEISS CinCraft Mapper, availability and the possibility of testing the service, visit the dedicated website