In an effort to research whale behavior in its most natural state and aid entangled marine mammals off the coast of Cape Cod, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and several government research organizations recently took to the skies in the Fujinon Blimp--complete with an assortment of Fujinon equipment including an HA25x11.5BERD HD ENG-Style lens with a TS-48A external optical stabilization system, and EPT-5E-10D pan/tilt system.
The idea was to capture HD images of Right, Humpback and Fin whales to provide researchers detailed video data to analyze the animals' behavior. Also, when converted to high-resolution stills, scientists said they found the images provided critical information about the huge mammals' injuries from ship strikes and entanglements in fishing lines.
According to Fujinon, the HD imagery will be shared with researchers around the country, including the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the New England Aquarium.
Struggling with a world population numbering barely 300, Right whales are the most endangered of the species. Because they often remain in shipping lanes to find discarded food, they're the most prone to injury and scientists say many of them do not recover. With the Fujifilm Blimp, Woods Hole researchers can get as close as possible to the whales (anything closer than 1,500 feet is illegal) without affecting their behavior.
Three cameras were mounted under the blimp airship, including a remote head Sony HDC-950 and WHOI HDTV Stereo Mini-Camera System designed in cooperation with Adimec and Vivid. The Fujinon pan/tilt system steers the direction of the cameras. Two other HD cameras included a Sony HDC-X300 with a Fujinon 4.8mm wide-angle lens HAF4.8A-1 used as a downward-looking camera system, and a Sony HDW-700a/HDC-950 gyro-stabilized camera with a Fujinon HA22x7.8BERD lens. All visual data was captured on HDCAM tape.
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