Skip to main content

Delivering Imagery on Virtual Productions With Fujinon Lenses

Fujinon
On a recent virtual production project, the original plan was to use primes, but Mark James ended up shooting the entire project on the Premista 28-100 (Image credit: Fujinon)

LOS ANGELES—Coming up in the broadcast world I learned on 2/3-inch sensor cameras. I remember making the transition into super 35 sensors and reveling in the world of cinematic images. I took my new super 35 camera to all my shoots for the directors and producers to see a side-by-side vs my 2/3-inch camera. It didn’t take long to convert clients to the new look.

What I did miss about the broadcast cameras was the range in zoom lenses. The larger a sensor, the harder it is to pack zoom range into a lens without adding massive size to the instrument. Fujinon introduced the Cabrio series to meet this need; I ordered one of the first 19-90s and still have the lens to this day. I shot countless sports features, endless handheld for doc-style work, and fell in love with Fujinon’s contrast, color palette and sharp images. In many ways the transition to super 35 and the Cabrio shaped my career.

PREMISTA ZOOMS

After adding a large format camera and primes to my equipment roster, I turned again to Fujinon for my zooms. With three lenses, the Premista series covers an enormous range of focal lengths—19 to 250mm at T2.9—delivering this flexibility with manageable-sized instruments that bring all that I need and have come to expect from Fujinon optics. The glass produces clean, stellar images with a range that doesn’t leave you wanting to punch in more or wishing you could be wider.  

We all find ourselves running out of setup time. I thought shooting larger productions would afford me the equipment, crew and resources to make shots perfect. While there is some truth to that, it’s funny that no matter the budget of the project, there will be times you have to roll before you are ready. 

One of the most important factors in maximizing your images when you are on minimal time is the optics you shoot on. The Premista has delivered beautiful images for me even when I’m left wishing I could refine a scene.

JUST THE RIGHT COVERAGE

On a recent virtual production project, the plan going in was to use primes. We were shooting on an LED volume with camera tracking and UnReal Engine driving the imagery. Shooting on an LED wall is a balance of interactive and traditional lighting, colors and lensing. The production had an ambitious shooting schedule with multiple virtual “locations,” which means art department changeovers, wardrobe, loading new 3D environments and so on. So our time to shoot out a scene with coverage was tight. I ended up shooting the entire project on the Premista 28-100, and that lens performed beautifully. 

The range gave me everything I needed for coverage. The images held their contrast shooting into the wall and the optics handled the large amount of light I used to create exterior looking scenes, with minimal need for lenses that would have added time to our tracking setups. 

The Premista series is rounded out with the telephoto 80-250mm, which offers beautiful compressed imagery, and the wide angle 19-45mm, which brings the same optical quality in compact enough size that it can be used on a gimbal. They are a beautiful additional to any camera system, large format or otherwise. l

Mark James is a DP whose work has been featured on a range of content from the Super Bowl to commercials. He founded 2nd Decade Productions in 2010, which produces broadcast and agency content. He can be contacted at MarkJamesDP.com.

For more information visit https://fujinoncinelens.com.