Sweetwater taps Fujinon lenses for HD truck

Los Angeles, CA-based
Sweetwater Digital Productions has acquired a complement of 32 Fujinon HD
lenses for the company’s new high-end production truck, “Cobalt.” The bulk of
the new lens order is equipped with Fujinon’s Precision Focus Assist technology,
a built-in feature that addresses precise focus issues in HDTV production.
The lens package for
Cobalt includes: four XA88x8.8BESM/PF HD telephoto lenses, four HA27x6.5BESM/PF
high definition studio lenses, twelve HA13X4.5BRD/PF super wide angle ENG-Style
lenses, eight HA16X6.3BERM ENG-Style lenses with extender and four
HA22X7.3BRD/PF HD ENG-Style lenses. The new truck was designed
for high-end special event production. The 53-foot mobile unit, outfitted with
Fujinon lenses and up to twenty Sony 1500 L Series cameras will be used on live
broadcasts, awards shows, concerts and a wide variety of other entertainment
productions. The new truck’s first show was Film Independent’s ” Spirit
Awards” broadcast live from Santa
Monica, CA and is
currently being used on “Last Comic Standing” and “Secret Talents of
the Stars.” The Cobalt truck will also be used for the upcoming live
broadcast of the “43rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards” from Las Vegas in May.
According to Sweetwater
Digital Productions Co-owner, Joe Shackelford, Fujinon lenses were selected to
satisfy the high quality standards on this truck. “We wanted the best lens
money could buy,” he explained. “Fujinon lenses were chosen because they are
the best optically performing lens for our application. We wanted the least
amount of ramping as well, which is another standout feature of Fujinon
lenses.” (Ramping refers to the loss of available light as a lens zooms in.)
The bulk of the 32 lenses
feature Fujinon’s patented Precision Focus Assist (PFA). PFA is Fujinon’s
built-in feature that addresses precise focus issues in HDTV production
stemming from the format’s shallow depth of focus and the lack of size and
resolution in camera viewfinders. PFA precisely adjusts the lens for optimum
focus. Using this system, a selectable area of the video image is sampled as
the focus point.
The One Shot Preset
Zoom/Focus feature of the Fujinon lenses supports a very useful television soap
opera production technique – the use of “shot boxes.” Soap opera camera
operators use shot boxes to pre-program a long list of shots. As scenes
progress, they hit the button to move through the camera movements. Fujinon’s
One Shot Preset Zoom/Focus allows a shot to be memorized and repeated with
digital accuracy, which comes in particularly handy when a show host or talent
is at center stage while the stage is dark. In such low light, proper focus can
be difficult.
“This excellent feature
allows the use of shot boxes when desired because Fujinon has created a servo
focus that feels like a manual,” said Shackelford. “It lets operators
capitalize on the ability to plan for talent hitting a certain mark, thereby
taking the guesswork out of focusing in low light.”
Shackelford said that he
anticipates Fujinon’s HA16X6.3 ENG-Style lens will become a popular choice for
entertainment shows. He cites the lens’ ability to provide a wide look while
still able to zoom in tight, thus eliminating the need to change between a wide
angle and a production style lens. This happens often during award shows as a
production number segues into the presentation of an individual award.
“Having a wide lens that
can solve the issue of lens changes during commercial breaks is an example of
our continuous effort to meet the needs of Directors and Camera Operators using
our equipment,” added Shackelford. “Fujinon has helped us do that all along.
They are tirelessly innovative, anticipating an end-user’s situation and
providing us with a solution for it.”

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