Local HD production puts New England Aquarium on IMAX map

Fujinon lenses give viewers an HD look at the New England Aquarium in Boston's Matthew and Marcia Simons 3-D IMAX Theater.

In 2001, the New England Aquarium in Boston built its Matthew and Marcia Simons 3-D IMAX Theater. The six-story flat screen is the only theater of its kind in the area. To help support its need for IMAX content, the aquarium's production staff purchased a Fujinon HA13x4.5BERD super wide-angle ENG-style lens for underwater and topside nature shoots.

Besides being one of the first aquariums to produce in-house HD programming, the New England Aquarium is the first to digitally screen HD footage in an IMAX theater. Through ownership of its HD gear, the production team can deploy from a remote shoot at a moment's notice rather than be restricted by rental rates and availability. All post work is done in-house. Editing is uncompressed 10-bit 720p. The images are then digitally projected onto the IMAX screen.

The Amphibico HDAmphibicam's HD aspheric optics, with full zoom-through zero distortion underwater, and 120 degrees field-of-view from its dome port, made the housing ideal for the HA13x4.5BERD lens' wide angle.

Affixed to a Panasonic VariCam HD camera inside the HDAmphibicam housing, the underwater lens has been taken near New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti and Bermuda.

The aquarium is showing its first HD production, a locally shot 90-second short on endangered sea turtles, as a trailer before IMAX features. The production staff is currently putting the final touches on an hour-long documentary on Teddy Tucker, a renowned shipwreck discoverer. The film, shot in HD in Bermuda, will be shown both at the aquarium and the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. The production team also plans to build a library of HD productions with an eye toward broadcast television.

For more information, visit www.neaq.org and www.fujinonbroadcast.com.

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