Fujifilm Optical Division Blog

We had such a fantastic experience at NAB 2014, we’re still talking about it…but we’re not the only ones. For those who did not make it to Las Vegas this year, we’ve summarized “The Fujinon Experience” through a series of blog posts. Rounding out the recap, we bring you the words of some of the field’s most experienced and respected production, technology and engineering pros, as they appeared in posters featured throughout our booth.

“In our nearly 30-year history, we’ve always purchased Fujinon lenses for our six production trucks, and have put them through their paces. They are extremely reliable, and only require minor maintenance to keep them working properly. This kind of reliability is invaluable, particularly when working on a high profile assignment, such as the State of the Union Address, which we shot this year. One of the most challenging locations to use lenses is at The National Hot Rod Association’s drag racing events, which are extremely contaminated by gas fumes, car exhaust and burning rubber. If the lenses can stand up to these conditions, they can stand up to anything. The Fujinon lenses we’ve used are all securely weather proofed, so our engineers only have to do routine cleaning and replace front element lens filters to protect the front glass. Then, they’re ready to go.” - Spruce McRee, President/CEO, Crosscreek Television Productions

“We have had great success on all our virtual productions around the world using Fujinon lenses. The encoding, quality and configuration of the lenses are the best combination for our clients.” - Sam Nicholson, ASC - CEO and Founder, Stargate Studios

“I’m a longtime user of Fujinon lenses. The quality of the lenses has always been excellent, and from a technical standpoint it meets all our requirements. The Cabrio lenses in particular fit our niche market very well as a crossover between video and digital cinema. We buy those on a regular basis. We’ve also found the overall cost of ownership to be lower than competitors. Not only do we need fewer repairs on the Fujinon lenses, but when we do, it’s typically only for routine maintenance and service, and the costs are always lower than other companies. Plus, the service is great.” - Tom Dickinson, Chief Technology Officer, Bexel

“Since Nocturne Productions’ inception in the 1970s, we’ve only purchased Fujinon lenses and now have over 100 of their ENG, EFP and RoboCam lenses. Fujinon produces the most exceptional products in the industry, but they also provide unparalleled support. When we’re on a global tour with the biggest acts around, from Lady Gaga to The Rolling Stones, to Paul McCartney, they can’t stop in the middle of a show, and neither can we. If something goes wrong, it needs to be fixed right away, and the personal service I get from Fujinon can’t be matched.” - David Lemmink, Director of Engineering, PRG Nocturne

“We’ve been Fujinon customers here in the Nashville remote operations group for decades. There’s a reason we keep coming back. The quality and performance of Fujinon lenses is beyond reproach. Support from sales and service is unmatched, and they make a lens that meets our every need. Their new Cabrio line is the ideal mix of a cine-style lens with familiar broadcast-style controls. They were the natural choice for our entry into large-format imager technology.” - Danny Walters, Director, Remote Engineering, Music Group, Viacom Media Networks

“Fujinon’s new 99x has quickly proven itself as an effective tool for the "Entertainment and Award Show" side of the TV business. Awards shows such as the Oscars and Grammys need lenses with extreme optical and low light performance; they are placed into critical camera positions with challenging distances to the stage. Camera operators who specialize in these Entertainment shows prefer Fujinon lenses because of their smooth servo "feel," useful lens features, and reliable performance. Fujinon has earned a reputation in the live television production industry for quick and reliable service, emergency loaners, and dependable support.” - Keith Winikoff, Technical Director and Video Engineer for Entertainment and Live Award Show Productions

“The Fujinon Cabrio series has made a big impact on the way our clients shoot. Whether they shoot documentaries, live events or run-and-gun features, they love having the choice of a single PL-mounted zoom, where they might have had two zooms or set of primes. The servo motor serves ENG-style shooting flawlessly and it’s good enough for cinematic commercial shoots. The focal range, weight and quality put the Cabrio series in a class of its own.” - Erik & Oliver Schietinger, Owners, TCS

Have questions or comments about Fujinon lenses? Connect with us on our Facebook page, or tweet us.

Posted: 7/30/2014 1:27:04 PM by Thom Calabro | with 0 comments


Fujifilm Optical Devices Director of Marketing & Product Development, Thom Calabro, introduces Fujinon's new PL 14-35mm T 2.9 Cabrio lens. The PL 14-35mm Cabrio lens has a detachable digital servo drive, and can be used as a self-contained ENG-style lens or cine style lens. This lens is ideal for shooters looking for a lightweight zoom that can be used as a handheld so they can capture wide angles in tight spaces.

Go to www.Fujinon.com, or follow us at www.Facebook.com/FujifilmOptical and www.Twitter.com/FujifilmOptical

Posted: 12/2/2013 11:11:23 AM by Thom Calabro | with 0 comments

We are excited to announce our co-sponsorship of the BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Event, which takes place from September 24-30 at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA.  The film festival—which brings together the world’s top filmmakers, scientists, environmentalists—is a cornerstone of the organization’s mission to provide entertainment, education, and foster greater appreciation for oceans and marine ecosystems.

During the festival, BLUE Ocean will honor Director James Cameron with an award for “Lifetime Achievement in Ocean Filmmaking.”  The award will be presented at the Legacy Awards Dinner on September 27—an exclusive “Marquee Event” for BLUE Ocean benefactors and sponsors. 

James Cameron was chosen for BLUE’s Lifetime Achievement Award because his passion for diving and deep-sea exploration led him to produce a treasure trove of memorable ocean-oriented films. For many of his movies and 3D epics, like “Avatar,” “Ghosts of the Abyss,” and “Aliens of the Deep,” Cameron has relied on a variety of Fujinon lenses.  In many cases, Cameron chose lenses from the Fujinon HA Series of high-performance, 2/3-inch HDTV portable lenses.  The Fujinon HA16x6.3BERM/BERD lens, used on “Avatar,” gives filmmakers a 16x zoom and focal length ranging from 6.3-101mm.  

As many of our readers may know, James Cameron co-invented the FUSION 3D technology used in many of his groundbreaking 3D movies.  For over a decade, Fujifilm worked closely with he and his fellow co-inventors, Vince Pace, ASC, and Patrick Campbell, to customize select Fujinon lenses to meet the exacting requirements of digital stereographic production. Cameron and Pace are co-chairmen of CAMERON | PACE Group (CPG) where Patrick Campbell serves as Chief Technology Officer.

Vince Pace has credited Fujifilm, saying, “When we began developing the FUSION 3D camera system, Fujifilm contributed their experts, engineering resources, and factory support to build precision lenses that captured incredible, outstanding 3D imagery for the big screen.” Custom FUJINON lenses were paired with Sony cameras such as the HDC-F950 and HDC-1500on Cameron’s 3D movies.
Fujifilm’s sponsorship of the BLUE Ocean Film Festival is consistent with its Green Policy, which promotes efficient management of chemical substances during lens manufacturing to reduce environmental risks.

Everyone here at Fujifilm sends their congratulations to James Cameron for this award.  We appreciate the trust and confidence he puts in Fujinon lenses to capture the beauty of the oceans and other breathtaking imagery.  We look forward to a continued close working relationship with James and Vince, and will continue to support their innovative uses of our optical lens technology on their future cinematic expeditions.

Posted: 9/24/2012 10:57:16 AM by Thom Calabro | with 0 comments

Welcome to part 2 of our Q&A with highly-respected Director of Photography, Guy Mossman of Vox Pop Films.

What do you view as emerging trends in the industry today?

Technology is evolving very quickly in the industry and seems to be driving creative decisions.  It’s easy to get carried away with the next great thing. For me, listening and being present to capture story and character is paramount to good storytelling and trumps everything else. The public, however, is increasingly hungry for great visuals to complement the creative storytelling.  The non-fiction DP has to be adept at both.
An obvious trend in the industry today is a shift toward the use of bigger sensors in smaller cameras. Audiences and producers want that shallow depth of field, ‘cine’ look. I do a lot of handheld cinematography for reality shows and commercials, so I need a camera that I can hold and run with for 8-10 hours in intimate, tight situations and use without focus pullers, monitors, or even an AC on smaller productions. Cine-style lens manufacturers are catching on and incorporating ENG form factors into newer designs. All this means smaller crews and lighter production – but not necessarily lighter production values. For the verité cinematographer, it’s an exciting time to be shooting.

Do you have a favorite "go-to" camera and/or lens?

Lately, I have been shooting with the Canon C300 with a variety of PL and EF mount lenses. I look forward to trying Fujinon’s Cabrio lens on the C300 and Sony F3.
What did you do before you started making documentaries in 2000?
I taught art to high-risk youth at a high school in Colorado. That led me to the Peace Corps, which led me to journalism school, which led me to documentary filmmaking.
What are the most significant changes in filming from when you started?
For me, as a newcomer to the film scene, the two biggest changes have been the swift evolution from SD to HD to 4K, and most significantly, the shift to tapeless workflows. Non-fiction producers and networks are still slowly getting used to the tapeless workflow. I have found a way to make it work pretty reliably in most conditions. Other than this, it’s pretty much the same: people are people.
What are you working on now?
In 2008, I started Vox Pop Films with my wife, Lisa, to produce and direct commercials. When we are not doing commercials, Lisa and I are working on our first feature documentary together called "Patient 13." It follows a small team of quirky, eccentric inventors and scientists on the verge of engineering a cure for Type 1 diabetes. The lead inventor has Type 1 diabetes himself and insists on being the 13th participant in his own trial. We should be in production through 2014. Lisa has Type 1 diabetes as well, so it’s a topic very near and dear to us.
I also freelance for other directors, and lately have been focused on establishing myself as a DP in the commercial world.

What is something you think people would be surprised to know about you?

I’m a pretty laid back guy, so most people are surprised to learn I was a lead- singer for a punk rock band in Charlotte, NC during my high school days. We were called Slam Chowder.  We drank a lot of Yoo-Hoo.  Our hit was called “Daddy was a Vegetable.”

See more of Guy Mossman's behind-the-scenes photos on the set of "Buck" here.

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: 8/23/2012 1:52:34 PM by Thom Calabro | with 0 comments

"Buck" premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival where it won the U.S. Documentary Competition Audience Award. It has since received overwhelmingly enthusiastic, positive feedback and recognition. The film, which focuses on the life, career, and philosophy of the real-life "horse whisperer" Buck Brannaman, owes some of that credit to star cinematographer, Guy Mossman. We had the privilege to sit down with the highly-respected DP/Director to discuss film making, his views on the industry, what’s next from him, and more.

How did you get involved with Buck, and what was it like to film?
My wife and producing partner, Lisa Hepner, was asked to direct a few shoots in California in 2007, and she introduced me to "Buck’s" director, Cindy Meehl. I DP’d the shoots and ended up capturing one of the pivotal scenes in the film. So much of what we do as non-fiction DPs is intuition and having a feel for the subject and situation – hopefully we make it beautiful or visually interesting at the same time. I was drawn to "Buck" immediately and had a good rapport with Cindy, so I was extremely fortunate to finish the film with her. There were a number of very talented DPs who worked on this film, including Dyanna Taylor and Luke Geissbuhler, and their beautiful work is evident in the film, too. It was a true honor to be working alongside them and learning from them in this way.
You mentioned that you shot some key scenes with the Fujinon XT17x4.5BRM-K17 lens. What about the lens do you find so useful?
It’s a versatile lens with really good reach, which was important for shooting the horses; they are very sensitive animals and, with this lens, I could get in close without being too close physically. I thought it did a great job shooting outdoors where there was plenty of light.  It’s a 1/3” bayonet mount so it’s not the best performer in low-light situations, but it was sensitive enough to shoot in most indoor situations.  Also, we were shooting in very hot and dusty conditions for extended periods of time, and the lens did a nice job of withstanding vibration and dust.  The servo was also great.
You obviously spent quite a bit of time working with horses while shooting Buck. Is this something you’d done before, or were there boundaries you needed to learn to get your shots (and not get hurt)?
I had never spent a lot of time with horses so it was an incredible learning experience for me. They are such sensitive animals and very smart.  I had to learn and understand a little about what Buck was doing with the horse (and with his clinic participants). Cindy was very good at explaining the subtleties of his work, having studied under him for many years. Most of the time, we were shooting at a distance, but when Buck was brushing the horse or preparing the saddle, I was able to gently get up close with the camera.

Is there one instance you can pinpoint that turned you on to filmmaking?

I fell in love with documentaries later in life. I grew up watching dramatic features, foreign films, and music videos like many in my generation. It wasn’t until I first saw Martin Bell’s and Mary Ellen Marks’ film, "Streetwise", about homeless teenagers in the downtown streets of 1980’s Seattle that I thought to myself that this is what I need to be doing. At the time, I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay and had been raiding the video collection of my Country Director, Diego Hay. In the collection were documentaries - "Sherman’s March", "Burden of Dreams", "Grey Gardens", and "Streetwise" – that blew me away. "Streetwise" really resonated with me, as I had been working with street kids in a small town in the interior of Paraguay. Over the next two years, Diego and I went on to make a short documentary about issues facing the teenagers of Coronel Oviedo. I discovered that documentary filmmaking combined all of my interests: art, storytelling, and people.
While in Paraguay, you produced and directed short documentaries for the Peace Corp and the United Nations Development Program. Tell us about that experience.

I was teaching a Sex Ed class to community members, and I wanted to get them fired up to talk about certain issues they faced in the barrio – in particular, exceedingly high rates of teenage pregnancy. Everyone spoke the indigenous language, Guarani, and very little Spanish, so, as you can imagine, it was impossible to find a film in Guarani that community members could understand, much less connect with.  That´s when the Peace Corps director proposed that I make the short film if he could find the money. He found the money.
For my graduate school master´s thesis, I went back to Paraguay in 2004 to make a series of short videos for the web with the United Nations about the community radio movement in Paraguay.
These experiences in Latin America have influenced me tremendously, and I am often asked to shoot overseas, especially in Latin American countries.

What is it that draws to you filming non-fiction rather than anything else?

I have not shot a scripted narrative yet, so I can’t say I wouldn’t be drawn to it. Non-fiction, however, is my passion because I feel a responsibility as well as a creative impulse to give voice to important issues and people of the day. Shooting stories and commercials about real people can be a transformative experience and no less strange or compelling. It’s an amazing opportunity to connect with people who are totally different than you. To convey what’s singular, humorous, or remarkable – that’s the challenge.  It can be exhausting and the risks are significant, but it needs to be like this in order to build trust with your characters. And trust is our currency. 

It’s not a passive “fly on the wall” experience; it’s one where you’re in the room, interacting, and you’re welcomed into their “circle of trust,” as the DP Joan Churchill said. And you’re willing to take a chance and commit. If you’ve done your homework and have a bit of luck, you’ll seize that fleeting moment or capture something profoundly emotional and meaningful. It’s a great feeling at the end of a long day. I believe Roland Barthes called it the punctum.

Stay tuned for Part II of this interview.

See more of Guy Mossman's behind-the-scenes photos on the set of "Buck" here.

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: 8/7/2012 12:44:38 PM by Thom Calabro | with 0 comments


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