June 1, 2005
Custom Fujinon HD Lenses Capture Scenes in Sony Movie
It sounds a bit like Hollywood backbiting itself, although it's filmed mostly underwater with HD lenses. "The Cave" from Sony Pictures tells the story of a team of expert spelunkers who descend into the world's largest cave system, only to find a group of bloodthirsty predatory creatures waiting for them. It's fictitious, by the way. Wes Skiles, the film's producer and photography director, is an expert cave explorer himself and shot all of the underwater scenes with Fujinon's HA13x4.5ERM HD super wide-angle ENG-style lens.
Skiles filmed the underwater scenes in a large water tank in Romania and on location in real caves on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Chief among his concerns was maintaining a clear image in the unusual environment. Water contains millions of microscopic particles, nearly invisible to the naked eye, Skiles needed to shoot subjects up to seven feet long from less than four feet away. In other words, the less water shot through, the clearer the image.
Skiles said the Fujinon lens had minimal focus breathing, held back-focus well, and was versatile enough for his needs. The HD lens has a relatively long focal length (for a wide-angle lens, up to 118mm with the lens' 2X extender), which allowed Skiles to zoom in closely. And Skiles said in a company statement that's its wide field of view made it possible to capture the entire length of subjects.
In order to protect the lens, the film crew worked with Amphibico, a provider of underwater imaging equipment, to custom-build a protective housing unit around the HA13x4.5, coupled with a Sony HDW-F950. Fujinon and Amphibico also designed special aspheric glass, which was placed in front of the HA13x4.5 to correct the reflection and distortion created by water.
The film is scheduled for wide release in the United States in late August.