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HD Remote AquaCam Employs Fujinon HDTV LensHydroFlex enables underwater shooting with camera control unit. (May 26, 2004)
Noted underwater cinematographer Pete Romano, President of HydroFlex, Inc., has developed the company's new "HD Remote AquaCam" to ease other feature and TV film shooters into submerged HD production. The HD AquaCam incorporates a Fujinon HA13x4.5 wide angle HDTV Cine Style zoom lens with Preston iris, focus and zoom hand unit controls on a Sony HDW-F950 camera.
Romano is a seasoned underwater feature film cinematographer, having served as underwater DP on "The Italian Job," "Pearl Harbor," Saving Private Ryan," "Waterworld," "Armageddon," James Bond's "Tomorrow Never Dies," and "The Abyss." Although he's shot with film throughout his 30-year career, he believes underwater cinematography is well suited to high definition video production.
Fujinon's HA13x4.5 wide-angle lens, coupled with remote camera and lens controls, in an underwater housing offers video producers an innovative new tool. Fujinon's wide-angle lens allows shooters to get closer to the subject, and less water between the lens and subject means a crisper, more colorful shot. All iris, focus and zoom functions are controlled with the Preston hand unit, which is operated from the surface.
The HD Remote AquaCam was designed to mount on HydroFlex's underwater pan and tilt remote head, but because of its elliptical shape the AquaCam can also be handheld and moved through the water easily.
"The HA13x4.5 is the widest lens out there, and with this special housing we're able to take full advantage of that," explained Romano. "We built the housing specifically to accommodate this lens. I'm amazed at the clarity and detail of the images we've taken so far. They're just spectacular. And the lens works flawlessly with the Preston unit, which all AC's in town are familiar with."
Romano believes the continuous, underwater operation of the camera is a significant benefit that will propel more HD underwater production: "Once in the water, the camera doesn't come out until you've wrapped. All iris, focus and zoom controls are done above water via remote control. With a film camera running at 24fps, a load of film lasts four minutes of running time. And you have to worry about your film consumption. You've got to come above the surface, dry off the camera that can weigh around 85 pounds, reload, and go back down again. And you're keeping the talent waiting that entire time. The HD AquaCam runs continuously with full camera function and lens control."
The impetus behind the Remote AquaCam came at the urging of Marker Karahadian, President of Plus 8 Digital in Burbank. Karahadian recommended that Romano add a housing for the Fujinon wide-angle lens and Sony camera to his equipment roster to get Romano's film clientele familiar with the benefits of HD production.
Because the Fujinon HA13x4.5 is integrated with the well-regarded Preston remote control unit, film shooters can get up to speed quickly. "The Preston system really brings a degree of familiarity to the film AC's and DP's," said Romano. A witness camera, which sends images to a 2.5" monitor mounted on the Preston hand unit, is incorporated into the AquaCam's design. It provides the camera assistant with the lens data to assure critical focus. "The Remote AquaCam is the simplest system out there for underwater HD photography," added Romano.
Romano recently used the Remote AquaCam for a Vitalis commercial, directed by famed fashion photographer Howard Schatz for ad agency Cason Nightengale Creative Communications in New York; a short for the Los Angeles production company Headquarters called "Cornell's Revenge;" and a promotional video for designer Luis Vitton.
HydroFlex designs, builds and rents an extensive line of equipment and accessories for filming underwater and on wet locations. For over 18 years, HydroFlex has provided watertight support for some of the most acclaimed feature films, television programs, commercials, music videos, and documentaries. Several HydroFlex products have earned industry recognition and awards, including two Technical Achievement Awards from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. For more information, please call 310-301-8187 or go online to www.hydroflex.com.
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 1-973-633-5600 or visit our web site at www.fujinonbroadcast.com.
Related Keywords:HD Remote AquaCam, AquaCam, Fujinon, HDTV, HydroFlex, underwater, Pete Romano, HA13x4.5, Cine Style zoom lens, lens, Preston, Preston iris, Sony HDW-F950, Marker Karahadian, Plus 8 Digital, Preston remote control unit, Vitalis, Howard Schatz, Cason Nightengale Creative Communications,