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Fujinon HD ENG/EFP Lens Enables Acclaimed Filmmaker To Shoot Documentary Profiling Cambodian Dancer With Just One Lens

DP Bob Elfstrom Travels To Angkor Wat With One Lens For Wide-Angle, Zooms, And Everything In Between (February 26, 2007)
DMN Newswire--2007-2-26--Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Bob Elfstrom recently traveled to Angkor Wat, Cambodia to shoot part of a yet-untitled documentary on a rising star in the world of dance, Sar “Sy” Sokvannara. Mr. Sokvannara is a gifted Cambodian dancer who’s trained at the School of American Ballet and is currently an apprentice with the Pacific Northwest Ballet School in the Seattle. The documentary, produced by Catherine Tatge of Tatge Lasseur Productions, chronicles Sokvannara’s journey as a dancer as he uses the skills he learned from traditional, ritualistic Cambodian dances on the ballet stage in America.


Elfstrom purchased Fujinon’s HA16X6.3ERM HD ENG/EFP lens to use with Panasonic’s HDX900 DVCPro HD camcorder to shoot the documentary. Introduced during NAB 2006, the HA16X6.3ERM is the first lens to combine wide angle and high magnification (16X zoom ratio), enabling production crews to carry just one lens for a range of shooting environments.


Elfstrom explained that thanks to Fujinon’s HA16x, he could maintain his signature style of filmmaking without purchasing a second lens: “Previously, I’d never seen a single lens with a zoom focal length that could do the job, on location, the way I like to do it.” Elfstrom’s style of shooting shows an almost athletic ability with a handheld camera. Elfstrom has received Emmy awards for his work on PBS’ Arabs and Israeli series and NOVA, NBC’s high definition documentary version of “Law and Order” and Best Documentary Emmy award for “Finding Lucy” an American Masters portrait of Lucille Ball.


Because of his frequent travel schedule, a single lens offers a practical benefit. “I don’t ship my camera body and lens, they’re just too valuable,” he said. “I carry them with me. In the world of a camera operator, one lens that can be used for both wide angles and zooms is a great breakthrough.” Elfstrom also appreciates the cost savings offered by having just one lens for multiple uses. “When I made the decision to purchase an HD camera, I was pleased to see I didn’t have to add two lens purchases onto the cost of the camera.”


Before acquiring the lens, Elfstrom captured a performance of Sy Sokvannara Sar during a performance of “The Nutcracker” at the Pacific Northwest Ballet. In retrospect, having to repeatedly switch out lenses proved frustrating. “I was filming from the front and backstage, and I had to keep switching lenses when I changed location. Much of the show I had to shoot with my long lens. But when I went to Cambodia with my new Fujinon glass, I took just that lens with me and could shoot from anywhere I wanted. With this lens, I go out with less gear and do the same job better than before.”


For Elfstrom, capturing the action as it unfolds is critical in making a compelling documentary. Elfstrom says shooting with the HA16x lens made it possible to capture the nuances of a homecoming party for Sokvannara.: “I didn’t have to interrupt the flow of what I was trying to document. I stayed close to him, shooting hand-held at the widest angle possible as he was congratulated by others. And when I needed shots of other guests at tables some distance away, I used a tripod and reached out with the long end of the zoom lens to shoot their faces as they looked at him with pride and awe. I worked less encumbered and saved significantly by using one lens instead of two.”


Fujinon is a major manufacturer and distributor of optics and lens assemblies for the broadcast, digital cinema, and industrial markets. The company's line of television zoom lenses are used in virtually every segment of the broadcast industry, including electronic newsgathering, studio and field production, and high definition television. For more information about Fujinon broadcast and communications products, call 973-633-5600 or visit our web site at

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