Fujifilm Optical Division Blog
Welcome to the second half of our interview with Aerial Director of Photography at Aerial Filmworks, Ron Chapple!

5. Do you have a favorite "go-to" camera and/or lens?
We have both the Fujinon 42x 9.7mm and 13x 4.5mm lens kits for our Cineflex systems. (We own 3 of the 42x lenses, and one 13x lens.) While most of our clients request the longer lens for the amazing range, I personally like the wide lens. With the wide, I can get images that feel as if they are wrapping around the helicopter. In December, I filmed in the narrow canyons of Big Bend National Park where we had less than 200 feet between 1,000 foot canyon walls. The Fujinon 13x wide was perfect!

6. You film a lot of wildlife. For example, the PBS/Nature film, "Bears of the Final Frontier" must have been a challenge. What is that like?

Our first premise is that wildlife must be filmed without any awareness of the helicopter. Having the right long lens is critical to getting the shot.  If any animal is startled or intimidated by the helicopter, we immediately cease filming. The big "no no" in nature documentary work is seeing the backside of the animal running from the camera. On the "Bears…" project, we were fortunate to have a strong wind that pushed the helicopter noise away from the animals, and by using the 42x 9.7mm lens from 1,500 feet away, we were able to get really great images of the bears interacting normally.
7.  What are the most significant changes in aerial filming from when you started until now?

The newest trend we are seeing is what the industry calls "Piece to Camera" where the actor or presenter looks at the Cineflex to deliver their lines. We are circling the scene zoomed in to the actor , and then pull out to full wide to reveal the whole scene. The new PBS series "America Revealed" has many of these scenes. We have filmed the host skydiving from 10,000 feet, riding along in open cockpit airplanes, standing on top of huge industrial cranes, and flying in ultralights. Last week in Costa Rica, I filmed two actors in a helicopter flying low through the rainforest!

8. Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Yes! Lenses and cameras are critical hardware for any creative business. The part of this business that always is most impressive is the teamwork! Everyone in the entire process is important, from the people that make the lenses, build and design the Cineflex, to the creative director, helicopter pilot and logistics crew. We all have our unique role in bringing great images to the viewer.

For more information on Aerial Filmworks visit http://www.aerialfilmwork.com/.

For more information on Fujifilm Optical Devices, go to www.Fujinon.com, or follow us at www.Facebook.com/FujifilmOptical and www.Twitter.com/FujifilmOptical.
Posted: 5/23/2012 11:10:12 AM by Thom Calabro | with 0 comments

1. Is there one instance you can pinpoint that turned you on to photography and cinematography?

In high school, I was always the kid that could not quite figure out the whole social scene. When I discovered photography, my whole world opened up to new ways of communicating. I could now create an image and get really interesting responses from people.  
2. What do you view as emerging trends in cinematography today?

For me, creative trends are far more interesting than technology trends. In our business, we are seeing the need to have aerials, or establishing shots, in all productions from full scale nature documentary to reality shows to indie films. Aerials are unique in their power to set a place and mood for the film.

Planet Earth established the Cineflex V14HD as the "must have" camera for any nature documentary. Now, almost every "Made for TV" program needs aerials.

3. What were your FIRST and BEST experiences using the revolutionary Cineflex HD technology?

Everyday! I absolutely love exploring new landscapes and communicating the beauty of the planet with the Cineflex and Fujinon lenses. My personal favorites are The Andes mountains, glaciers, Grand Canyon, and filming volcanoes. Lately, we have been working in Latin America where the landscape is just now being explored with the Cineflex camera systems.
4. You started working mainly in fashion, annual report photography and advertising.  How did you transition from that to the range of everything you do now?

I think anyone starts business with the opportunity at hand. I was based in Charlotte, NC when I started business 30 years ago. At that time, the only work was from textile mills and banks. My only business strategy was to differentiate my studio by specializing in location work rather than studio. From my start in commercial work, I then produced images for license as stock for many years before moving to aerial HD video. As a caveat, I have been shooting aerials for many years, so moving into aerial film was an easy transition. Creating aerial video is really just creating many, many still images in sequence. Every image composition must be perfect, and transition into the next image.

Stay tuned in to our blog for part two!

For more information on Aerial Filmworks visit http://www.aerialfilmwork.com/.

For more information on Fujifilm Optical Devices, go to www.Fujinon.com, or follow us at www.Facebook.com/FujifilmOptical and www.Twitter.com/FujifilmOptical.

Posted: 5/9/2012 10:06:37 AM by Thom Calabro | with 0 comments

In this first installation of our multi-part series on Lens Care Maintenance, we’ll discuss the appropriate materials and methods to properly clean your lens.

Whether you’re a weekend shooter or a seasoned photographer, you no doubt have experienced this common scenario: you shoot your best work only to find that the pictures are useless because there was dirt on the lens.

When you see the same spot on a set of pictures you take, you must clean the camera lens as soon as possible. In some cases, small spots can be eliminated, but more often than not you will have to shoot the pictures again or take a loss on once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities gone forever. Here are a few key elements to ensure your lens is cleaned properly.

Step one: Use an air gun and lens brush to wipe off any loose dust. If you’re on location and don’t have either of those, you can gently blow on the lens, but this should be your last resort!

Step two: Choose the right cloth, and give it a good shake to loosen any lingering fibers before wiping the lens. At Fujifilm, we suggest using a micro-fiber cloth for a number of reasons:
     1. They will not scratch or smear the surface
     2. They are chemical free
     3. They are anti-static
     4. They lift dust and oil from the lens

If you don’t have a micro-fiber cloth, choose a cloth made from soft, silky material—preferably one made for optical lens cleaning. Never use a hard material, like your t-shirt, or you can transfer debris and even scratch the lens. Always wipe the lens in a gentle, circular motion, beginning in the center and working your way outward, and use a lifting motion rather than rubbing the cloth against the lens to avoid causing any damage.

Step three: Use the right cleaning agent. For normal smears and smudges, it is not necessary to use a lens cleaning fluid—just a cloth will do. If you do need to use liquid, place one or two drops of a lens cleaning liquid or isopropyl alcohol on a cleaning cloth. Never, ever apply liquid directly on the lens. If you use too much cleaning fluid or place drops directly on the lens, the fluid may seep into the lens, which can result in internal fog or something worse, causing permanent damage.

It may seem simple, but the type of cleaning materials you choose and how you use them greatly contribute to the lifetime of your lens. For more information on Fujifilm Optical Devices, go to FujifilmUSA.com.
Posted: 8/31/2011 2:12:40 PM by Thom Calabro | with 0 comments

Andy Brandy Casagrande IV, known to most as Andy Casagrande, is one of the world's top wildlife cinematographers. Despite his busy schedule, which includes a new series on National Geographic WILD, several shows for the Discovery Channel’s annual, highly anticipated Shark Week and countless other projects, he took some time to talk to us about his life, his work and his love of Fujinon lenses.
Fujinon: You have shot in places people usually only hear or read about, and many of those locales have some pretty challenging environments. From an operating perspective, what is probably the biggest obstacle you've faced during a shoot and how do/did you combat it?
Andy: The biggest obstacles I have had to overcome while operating cameras and high-tech gear in the field have always been related to weather. If it's too hot, the cameras overheat. I’ve even had some melt! If it's too cold, the cameras can freeze and the electronics fail to function.  Shooting polar bears and lions have always been my most challenging project. Oh, and Great White sharks are not easy either!  Salt water & electronics do not mix…and neither do sharp teeth and soft flesh!
Fujinon: You mentioned that you used the Fujinon 25x lens to capture footage of polar bears—polar bears that, it should be mentioned, you waited SIX MONTHS for in the freezing Arctic (pictured right). After all that time and dedication, there's no doubt it was a shot that meant a lot to you. Why that lens?  
Andy: I use Fujinon lenses because they are some of the best in the world. I chose the 25x Fujinon lens to film the polar bears because it is an extremely light and compact lens but it packs a very powerful punch. Amazing range, super sharp images and so small—I love it and it's perfect for wildlife filmmaking!
Fujinon: Is there one instance you can pinpoint that turned you on to cinematography?
Andy: I was born with an extreme fascination of Great White sharks. These predators are what inspired me to become a wildlife filmmaker.
Fujinon: Wildlife clearly has you intrigued, both personally and professionally. What is it that draws you to this type of work versus another category?
Andy: I'm not a people person and I try to stay way from people as much as possible. Animals don't complain and take too long to put on their make-up, they don't make bad jokes, etc.  I was just born this way; I love wildlife.
Fujinon: What was your first "big break" in this industry?
Andy: I was working as a research cameraman in Cape Town, filming and photographing Great White sharks for science. Then, National Geographic came down to Cape Town to deploy its “Crittercams” and make a documentary with the scientists I was working with. After the shoot, they offered me a full-time staff job in Washington, D.C. as a filmmaker in their Natural History Unit.

Fujinon: Your new show for National Geographic WILD, "Killer Shots," premiered just this month. For those who haven't seen it, what can they look forward to and is there anything you'd like fellow cinematographers to take note of?
Andy: Yeah, “Killer Shots” is a cool series. I focused on Great White sharks, lions, cheetahs and polar bears. It's a cool concept because it's a behind-the-scenes show about what it takes to be a wildlife cameraman and bring home some “Killer Shots.” I used all types of the latest advancements in technology, including rebreathers, slow motion cameras, infrared cameras, thermal cameras, remote controlled cameras, bite-cameras, tow-cameras, breach-cameras, etc., etc.—it was AWESOME!
Fujinon: There are a lot of “Shark Week” fans out there and you've done quite a bit of work on that series. In fact, you shot three shows for this year's “Shark Week.” What are some of the precautions you take when shooting in shark-infested waters, both for yourself and your equipment?
Andy: I don't take any special precautions aside from keeping my eyes open and my hands/legs/arms/feet away from the sharks’ mouths.
Fujinon: You have custom created some pretty nifty camera-rigged contraptions. What's the most inventive thing you've ever done with camera equipment to get your shot?
Andy: Tough question, but my bite-cameras have yielded some amazing images—images that I could not possible have gotten any other way…unless I got bit myself, which is not an option!
Fujinon: Is there anything else you'd like to add?  
Andy: Be nice to strangers and live the life you dream.
The Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” starts July 31st at 9:00 p.m. e/p and airs through August 5th. Check your local listings for specific shows or view the full schedule here: http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/shark-week/tv-shows.html.  To learn more about Andy’s work, visit his website: http://www.abc4explore.com/ OR watch this ABC Nightly News piece: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/wild-nat-geos-killer-shots-14024961 To learn more about what Andy does as a National Geographic cameraman, go to: http://events.nationalgeographic.com/events/speakers-bureau/speaker/andy-b-casagrande/ To check out the video gallery from ‘Killer Shots” on National Geographic WILD, go to:http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/nat-geo-wild/shows-1/killer-shots/
Posted: 7/29/2011 9:48:47 AM by Thom Calabro | with 0 comments


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