‘The Batman’ was partly shot with these vintage Soviet film lenses

The Batman
Image via WarnerBros.com

While Soviet filmmaking has a mixed reputation – the only time the country ever won the top prize at Cannes was with the 1957 World War II melodrama, The Cranes are Flying – the USSR’s post-revolution film industry is widely regarded as having helped invent the most modern filmmaking techniques used today.

So it’s no surprise that when making The Batman, the DCEU’s billion-dollar blockbuster, the film’s director Matt Reeves and cinematographer Greig Fraser used kits with old Soviet lenses rehabbed and retrofitted by Ukrainian outfit Iron Glass Adapters.

While most of The Batman was shot with modern anamorphic lenses, in the video below, filmmaker Mark Holtze explains that he personally confirmed that the Batman/Penguin chase scene was filmed with Iron Glass rehabbed Soviet film lenses. WARNING: This video is Peak Film Nerd and may be a bit much for some viewers:

According to this article on NoFilmSchool.com, Ukraine-based Iron Glass Adapters began rehabbing old Soviet-era photo lenses and adapting them for modern digital cameras, making sure that kits that once were only expected to fit rudimentary 35mm cameras would fit modern-day wide-screen digital cameras.

When Russia invaded, Iron Glass’ team took a break to go fight for their country’s freedom. But now they’re back and shipping rehabbed lenses once again.  As the NFS report notes, these aren’t technically the best lenses on the market, but they provide an old-school cinematic feel. For a movie like The Batman, whose creative team wanted a simple look that would immerse the viewer into the world of Gotham, they were part of a lens kit that helped define the film’s look.

Before you go out and buy them to make your own Batman backyard film, just know that the cost of the lenses run in the thousands of dollars.

About the author

Liam McEneaney

Liam McEneaney

A professional comedian since the age of 19, Liam has been writing, editing, and performing for various TV shows and websites his entire adult life. He produced and starred in 'Tell Your Friends! The Concert Film!' which premiered at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival. Liam is currently attending the prestigious University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.