The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels--six tightly packed F/A-18 Hornet jets that execute precision movements at 8,000 feet, have been recorded on Canon lenses in HD for a four-part documentary that's airing this month on Discovery HD Theater. It will also air in SD on Discovery's new Military Channel.
Henninger Productions said challenges--in capturing never-before-seen HD shots of the pilots in and out of the aircraft--ranged from getting a steady shot in a moving jet to shooting in an extremely confined environment (the cockpit).
The film used two portable EFP lenses--the HD HJ40x10B IASD-V and the HJ11ex4.7B wide-angle lens. The first lens was equipped with Canon's Optical Image Stabilization system for shake-free shooting, which was deemed integral to getting previously unattainable long shots of the Blue Angels in flight. Also, the HJ11 has particularly low geometric distortion on the wide end, making it easy to exploit its extraordinary wide angle of view.
The Navy jets can cover a mile in about seven seconds and are able to fly in formation only a few feet apart. The production crew said with Shift-IS Image Stabilization built into the lens, it was able to keep a much steadier shot at really long focal lengths in order to see the true proximity of the aircraft to one another.
Henninger Productions also worked with a Panasonic HD Varicam production package created by Abel Cine Tech. "Blue Angels: A Year In The Life" also documents a year in the life of a pilot--privately and publicly.
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