Railway show relies on demanding shots for unique look

When PBS' "Great Scenic Railway Journeys" returns to the air with new episodes this summer, the show will once again rely on the unique shooting style of executive producer and DP Robert Van Camp to capture a unique perspective on historic and scenic railways.

To shoot the show, Van Camp has stood on top of railway cars, hung out of helicopters and placed himself at the front of a train engine to get the shot that makes his programs one of a kind for the viewer. Train rides are never completely smooth, even from the inside, so shooting from the outside of them presents a challenge.

In fall 2006, Van Camp and his crew traveled throughout North America filming in 15 U.S. states from New Hampshire to Alaska, as well as Canada. The lightweight and compact design of Fujinon's HA16X6.3ERM HD ENG/EFP lens made possible those unique shots for Van Camp's look at North American railways.

The light weight of the Fujinon lens enabled shooting from a moving train. The lens eliminated the problem of vibration coming back into the shot even with the increased sensitivity that accompanies shooting in HD, he said. The upcoming series will include pacing shots done from the back of one train shooting at another — something that wasn't possible with a heavier lens.

The HA16X6.3ERM combines wide angle and high magnification (16X zoom ratio), enabling production crews to carry just one lens for a range of shooting environments. It has a wide angle of 6.3mm and a telephoto focal length of 202mm with the 2X extender.

Van Camp also used Fujinon's HA20x7.8B-10 Cine Style zoom while filming the "Great Scenic Railway Journeys." It has a 20X magnification and a 7.8mm focal length at the wide end making it versatile enough to cover most applications from wide angle to telephoto.

At one point, while filming in Alaska, Van Camp had to shoot 2mi across a canyon to get a shot of the train being profiled. By using the lens' 2X extender, he was able to do a pullout shot to show how big the scene was and how far he was away from the train.

For more information, visit www.fujinon.com.