Technologies such as HD and 3D are reshaping how we record, produce and distribute programming. Viewers are becoming more savvy with each passing day and now expect crisp, lifelike images to jump out from their home theater systems and movie screens. These demands have necessitated advancements in lens technology that are helping professionals capture the sharpest images possible and deliver those robust pictures viewers now insist on.
In part one of our five-part series on lens technology, I’d like to review advances made on digital cinema lenses. For years, died in the wool cinematographers steadfastly held on to their 35 mm film over digital video. Recent lens and camera developments, however, are giving these experienced professionals compelling reasons to think about converting.
Today’s digital cinema lenses can replicate much of their film counterparts. How? By using new designs and technologies. For example, the diagonal image size of a CCD in a traditional HD camera is 11 mm. A 35 mm film format lens has a diagonal image size of 27.26 mm. New digital lenses are now available that have the same angular field of view as the most commonly used 35 film format lenses, so cinematographers can easily adapt to the HD format.
Cinematographers also demand minimal changes in field of view during focusing. Traditional digital lenses suffer from a phenomenon called focus breathing in which there are slight changes to the field of view during focusing. Inner focus and floating methods has been developed that reduce focus breathing to a level so low it does not interfere with the visual content of the production.
That’s only a part of the story, though. Cinematographers also demand more precise, aberration-free images. To meet this demand, lenses now incorporate a low dispersion and high refractive index glass, such as calcium fluoride or fluorite, to reduce chromatic aberrations.
Plus, each glass material is coated by a special EBC coating that decreases flair and ghosts. It also provides for a high contrast, flat field, razor sharp corners and a high MTF image with low-color fringing throughout the image plane.
In cinematography, lenses are chosen for each scene according focal length. This makes it extremely important for all lenses to have the same color-balance. Advanced design and manufacturing processes are now being employed so lenses exhibit the same transmission characteristics.
To learn more about lens technology and how it is helping reshape digital cinema, visit Fujinon.com.
Lyon Video, based in Columbus, Ohio, services broadcast networks coast to coast with mobile units, facilities, and crews. Some of their notable sports clients include: ESPN, Fox Speed Channel, CBS Sports, and ABC. They also have a production company that handles broadcast productions for several Major League Baseball teams, namely the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians. Their non-sports production and programming includes the Antiques Roadshow
and Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction
Fujinon lenses provide the quality, durability and serviceability that are critical requirements for our HD and 3D business. We’ve dedicated over ninety percent of our fleet to a variety of Fujinon lenses because they have the road-ability and stand up to ranges in temperature and environment – from baseball in Arizona in August to outdoor hockey in Chicago in December.
For long lenses, also known as box lenses, Lyon uses Fujinon’s XA101x8.9BESM super telephoto field lenses, XA88x8.8BESM telephoto field lenses, and 10 XA72x9.3BESM lenses.
On all our mobile units, we like to give our clients, the producers and directors, the longest lens out there, which is the Fujinon XA101x8.9BESM. With many of the outdoor sports like football, auto racing, or baseball, where you may be very far away from the action, the long lenses capture the personality of the event for the production teams, and for the networks.
For handheld configurations, Lyon uses Fujinon’s ZA22X7.6BERM ENG-style HD lenses with 2X extender, plus the ZA12x4.5BERM super wide angle HD ENG lens with 2X extender. Both lenses feature Fujinon’s Quick Zoom, which provides a rapid zoom to the telephoto position to check focus with the push of a button. Then, it returns the lens to the previously selected zoom position when the button is released.
Lyon’s new MU-11 truck is 3D, 3G and Fuji. It’s 3D ready, has 3 gigabit bandwidth throughout the rig and rolled out in September outfitted with Grass Valley’s LDK 8000 Elite cameras, their 8300 Live Super SloMo camera, all paired with Fujinon lenses.