Premier Aerial Cinematographer Take Flight With FUJINON 25-300mm Cabrio Zoom
Shooting car chases, rocket tests and flying action hero scenes from thousands of feet in the air requires a camera/lens combination that’s sturdy, flexible and sharp. For aerial cinematography companies, Hawthorne, CA-based Gyron Systems International those requirements led them to pair the 25-300mm Cabrio zoom from FUJIFILM/FUJINON with their RED Helium 8K camera.
“There are no second takes, no actors’ marks or posh trailers with aerial cinematography,” says Jesse Brunt, director of photography/gyron operator, Wolfe Air and Gyron. “We make adjustments as they happen. Focus buzzing, blurry images and bad composition are unacceptable when you’re burning fuel and spinning rotor blades.”
The design of the 25-300mm Cabrio makes it ideal for aerial cinematography, according to Brunt. “Everything with aerial conditions is subject to extremes – weather, temperature, abusive conditions in general along with extra wear and tear,” Brunt says “The 25-300 has been engineered to take the beating flying through the sky dishes out.”
All of the lenses in the Cabrio series feature exclusive detachable servo drive units for electric zooming, focusing and iris. Mounting the unit enables remote zoom, focus, and iris adjustment control and the 25-300 servo is optional, making it suitable as a standard PL lens or as an ENG-style lens.
“Lens making is a discipline and a calling,” Brunt says. “Fujifilm has made themselves the leader in this craft. There’s no perfect circle in mathematics, and there’s no perfect lens in filmmaking. However, Fujifilm builds and designs lenses with the intention of making the perfect circle.”
With the various conditions surrounding aviation, including moving targets, time constraints and physical risk, zooms tend to be the lens of choice for this type of shooting. The focal length range of the lens and its ability to maintain sharpness and focus provides Gyron with the biggest bang for the buck, according to Brunt.
“We get the maximum range of focal length along with incredible sharpness and a constant T-stop [to 273mm]. The optics in the Cabrio preserve color and sharpness like nothing we’ve seen before in a zoom,” Brunt says. “Modulation transfer function (MTF) is the main improvement, with less chromatic aberration and improved coatings on the 25-300.”
The Cabrio’s crystal-clear image capture is also a plus when shooting for clients such as Boeing, NASA and SpaceX, who are most interested in pixel count, resolution, and clarity. “When those are the top must-haves for a client, RED/FUJINON is the immediate answer,” Brunt says.
The zoom’s ability to maintain sharpness when shooting fast-moving objects also makes it ideal for shooting high-speed car chases from the air. Brunt reports the 25-300 is on heavy rotation when Wolfe Air and Gyron shoot shows like Top Gear (U.K and U.S. versions),Jay’s Garage and was recently used for a feature film called American Dresser.
Shooting a moonless night in Los Angeles recently showcased the 25-300’s clarity in a unique way. “Thanks to its sharpness, we were able to push the ISO much further with this lens. The look we captured was simply stunning,” Brunt said.