Global production and creative services company Gravity Media have recently upgraded and expanded their 4K broadcast lens inventory, in particular for use at their client’s Repco Supercars Championship races, which take place throughout the year. After making a comprehensive assessment of the available 4K large lens options, they chose FUJINON UA125×8BESM and FUJINON UA107x8.4BESM box lenses.
Gravity Media’s Broadcast Project Manager – Supercars, George Hennessy said, “The intention was to upgrade our fleet of large lenses from HD to 4K standard, by working with a major manufacturer. Our criteria were based on the dynamic, rugged environments of outdoor fast-moving motorsports, especially Supercars and Touring Car Racing (TCR) with events held around Australia through all months of the year.”
As well as covering Supercars races, Gravity Media handle a number of studio-based productions for light entertainment clients whose shows require camera and lens packages that can perform under highly dynamic lighting conditions on contrasting set pieces.
“The Supercars and TCR motorsport calendar takes the season of racing from sub-tropical to sub-Antarctic locations, experiencing all weather extremes from heat haze with high humidity to cold winters and foggy conditions,” said George. “The lenses need to perform consistently from one extreme to the other.
“The cameras that the lenses are used with record not only live action, but also extreme slow-motion replays. Both the foreground and background framing and the shot composition are vital to the production’s narrative. The new FUJINON 4K box lenses make it possible for us to meet those requirements and achieve the necessary shooting styles.”
FUJINON’s UA125×8BESM has some of the highest specifications available in zoom lenses in terms of magnification (125x) and 4K optical performance. The UA107x8.4BESM was specifically designed for 4K/UHD performance, and supports the new 2/3″ UHD cameras. Both lenses are good choices for live sports coverage, particularly when used together in a production.
Both models also feature solid optical image stabilisation (OIS), vivid colour reproduction and HDR-based tonal gradation, and the images display a natural bokeh achieved with a 9-blade diaphragm. Built into the box hardware is a 16-bit encoder that converts the zoom and focus position data into digital signals.
FUJINON On Track
Most recently, Gravity Media used the UA125 and UA107 lenses at Supercars races in Darwin, on the Gold Coast and in Adelaide. The Gold Coat event takes place on a street circuit. George said, “We used six of our new FUJINON lenses on wide field-of-view cameras positioned for Street Circuit coverage. Typical shots included fast panning and long throw zooming to tight shots – from 400m down to 15 metres in distance.
“The lenses could have gone further if we had needed it, and having the long zoom throw allowed fine adjustment. Despite the very high temperatures and significant humidity, they performed without issues. We had the same performance for the Adelaide 500, where we used eight of the lenses in a similar way, in a similar kind of set-up.”
At the Darwin race, the camera position was 570 metres from the start of the main straight on a 5-metre scaffold on the inside of the racetrack. For the main shot, the lens picked up each car turning into the main straight and then followed as directed. In a secondary use of the lens, a later cut showed the rear of the car breaking into the first turn at the end of the main straight and followed through the corner.
George remarked, “The FUJINON UA125×8BESM and FUJINON UA107x8.4BESM lenses have given us excellent results and are very reliable. For a company like Gravity Media, many of our broadcasts are live and leave no room for error, which makes lenses like these a major advantage for us. We look forward to continuing our relationship with FUJIFILM Australia and to using FUNINON lenses for many years to come.” www.fujifilm.com