Theater director Wilson takes on HD project

Action doesn’t have to be fast to be fascinating, and the famed experimental opera and theater director Robert Wilson proved it with a rare foray into the world of HDTV.

With a Canon HJ11x4.7B KLL-SC High Definition Electronic Cinematography (HD-EC) lens trained on unforgettable faces ranging from movie stars, artists and writers to European royalty, Wilson has created “Video Portraits,” a new series for the VOOM HD Networks.

VOOM HD LAB, an outreach initiative that works with artists and filmmakers to explore the artistic and technological boundaries of HD video, produces the project. It will air on VOOM’s visual arts channel, GALLERY HD, in January.

Award-winning DP James Callanan oversaw the 1080i shots of Willem Dafoe and Isabella Rossellini at a New York City theater. He patiently recorded every second of portraits where the talent was directed to move at an extraordinarily slow pace. “A casual observer would actually not notice any motion at all; only over an extended period would you see the image change,” Callanan explained.

Callanan used the Canon HJ11x4.7B HD-EC zoom lens “because sharpness or image acuity was vital for projection.”

The Canon HJ11x4.7B KLL-SC HD-EC zoom lens is designed to achieve a particularly high modulation transfer function (MTF) that is optimally distributed across the image plane, holding up over its entire 4.7mm to 52mm focal range. The contrast performance and relative light distribution characteristic of the lens results in the picture sharpness that was necessary for matching the meticulous attention to detail of Robert Wilson, creator of “Einstein on the Beach” and “Death Destruction & Detroit.”

Each image is an elaborate portrait shot using the Canon lens mounted on a Sony HDW-750.

For more information, visit