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Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Nov 19

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11/19/2008 12:34 PM  RssIcon

Director of Photography Christoph Vitt adjusts a Canon FJs55 High Definition-Electronic Cinematography cine-style prime lens during production of the Gabriel mini-series.MegaFilm’s Elaborate Costume Drama for Mega TV Achieves a Cinematic Look

By Utilizing a Full Set of Canon’s Six Cine Prime Lenses and a Cine Zoom Lens

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., November 19, 2008 – The creation of high-quality television programming requires top talent and the best production technology available to achieve the director’s creative vision. For MegaFilms (the filmed entertainment division of the Spanish Broadcasting System), this meant shooting its acclaimed 12-hour miniseries, Gabriel with a full set of six High-Definition Electronic Cinematography (HD-EC) prime lenses and an HJ8x5.5B KLL-SC cine zoom lens from the Broadcast and Communications division of Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging.

“We set out to do HD programming for Hispanics that is different from anything else that’s out there now,” explained AGUSTIN, managing director of MegaFilms and Gabriel’s co-creator, writer, and director. “We don’t do telenovelas with 40 scenes a day here. We want to do the highest-quality programming shot in 24p/1080i HD with film-style lenses, and that’s where Canon comes in.”

“These are the best digital cinematography lenses on the market,” elaborated Gabriel’s Director of Photography, Christoph Vitt, regarding Canon’s FJs5, FJs9, FJs14, FJs24, FJs35, and FJs55 2/3-inch cine prime lenses and the HJ8x5.5B KLL-SC cine zoom lens. “The projection is fantastic off of the Canon HD-EC line. Apertures are super-accurate. The highlights come off great. Also, the T-stop shoots between 1.4 and 1.7, which is really nice. The more stops I can open, the more it makes the HD image look like film. My focus-puller and I are both amazed at the close-distance range you can get, up to one foot, which is unbelievable. No one else does that. Without the Canon HD-EC line, we would be lost. I really love these lenses.”

Engineered to address the growing trend toward digital cinematography for episodic television and motion picture production, Canon’s broad range of 2/3-inch cine prime and zoom lenses are designed with the tactile feel and industry-standard markings familiar to film-oriented directors of photography. Canon’s six cine prime lenses feature a generous 280-degree rotation angle; the three cine zoom lenses (models HJ8x5.5B KLL-SC, HJ11x4.7B KLL-SC, and HJ21x7.5B KLL-SC) provide a 270-degree range. Focus and iris indications on all of these lenses are engraved with large and luminous scales, with focus distances marked in feet. Gear rings are compatible with studio focus rigs, manual fluid zoom drives, and motorized control systems that have long been standardized for film lenses.

“Since Gabriel is meant to be different from any other Hispanic programming, my crew is all from the film world,” noted Armando Castro, vice president of production for MegaFilms. “The film-style lenses in the Canon HD-EC line minimize the learning curve and make our experience pretty much dead-on, as compared to film. There’s a lot of special effects and time-period aspects to the show, and these lenses give us the exact look that we want to express to our viewers.”

The excellent optical qualities of Canon’s cine prime lens series is derived in large measure from a combination of special glass materials, sophisticated lens element designs, and advanced multilayer coatings. These lenses feature optimization of MTF (“modulation transfer function”), especially at wider aperture settings. They have a very short MOD (minimum object distance, or the minimum distance between the front of a lens and the object it’s focusing on) that facilitates excellent close-up image capture. In addition, Canon’s innovative Internal Focus technology employs a two-group floating optical system that minimizes optical aberrations.

The overall optical performance of Canon’s cine prime lenses is exemplary in terms of their coordinated optimization of contrast, resolution (MTF), relative light distribution, and color reproduction. The MTF profile of these lenses across the 16:9 image plane is excellent, as is the relative light distribution; these attributes combine with the superb contrast range of the lenses to produce exceptional picture sharpness. This is further enhanced by a tight control of chromatic aberrations. The color reproduction of all six cine prime lenses closely match, thus eliminating the need to re-balance the digital camera’s white reference when lenses are changed during a shoot.

Canon’s commitment to the needs of digital cinematographers also includes the ACV-235 Anamorphic Converter, which fits easily between any HD-EC prime or cine zoom lens and any 2/3-inch digital HD camera, making it possible to easily record a CinemaScope™ format (aspect ratio 2.35:1) image with an HD cinematography camera. This preserves the full vertical resolution of the HD camera, which is vital for transferring the digital image to 35mm film for theatrical release.

“We knew that we would have a great experience with Canon,” Castro concluded. “Canon has a great support staff, and the service is fantastic. Canon is the leader in lenses.”

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.

Canon U.S.A., Inc. delivers consumer, business-to-business, and industrial imaging solutions. Its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), a top patent holder of technology, ranked third overall in the U.S. in 2007†, with global revenues of $39.3 billion, is listed as one of Fortune's Most Admired Companies in America and is on the 2007 BusinessWeek list of "Top 100 Brands." To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company's RSS news feed by visiting www.usa.canon.com/pressroom.

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†IFI Patent Intelligence Press Release, January 2008

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