(WOODS HOLE, MA, October 17, 2005) In an effort to research whale behavior in its most natural state and aid entangled marine mammals off the coast of Cape Cod, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and several government research organizations, took to the skies in the Fujifilm Blimp, complete with an assortment of Fujinon equipment, including an HA25x11.5BERD HD ENG-Style lens with a TS-48A external optical stabilization system, and EPT-5E-10D pan/tilt system.
The goal? Capture high definition (HD) images of Right, Humpback and Fin whales to provide researchers data to analyze the animals' behavior. Additionally, when converted to high resolution stills the images provide critical information about injuries from ship strikes or entanglement in fishing lines. This imagery and data will be shared with researchers around the country including NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, Cape Cod Stranding Network, and the New England Aquarium.
According to Woods Hole, with a population numbering just 300, Right whales are the most endangered of the entire whale species. Because they often remain in shipping lanes where their food is, they're the most prone to injury and are not recovering. With the Fujifilm Blimp, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution researchers can get as close as possible to the whales (anything closer than 1,500 feet is illegal) without affecting their behavior.
"The imaging we're doing is typically from 1,500 to 3,000 feet, which is three times the distance that long lenses cover at sporting events," explained William Lange, Research Specialist and developer of scientific imaging systems at the Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. "We needed a lens that had a great depth of field, high resolution, could be remotely controlled, and because we were shooting from the airship, it had to be lightweight and compact. It also had to be physically small to fit within the pan/tilt system."
Three cameras were mounted under the airship, including a remote head Sony HDC-950 and WHOI HDTV Stereo Mini-Camera System designed with Adimec Inc. and Vivid Inc. The Fujinon pan/tilt system steers the direction of the cameras. Two other HD cameras included a Sony HDC-X300 with a Fujinon 4.8mm wide angle lens HAF4.8A-1 used as a downward looking camera system and a Sony HDW-700a/HDC-950 gyro-stabilized camera with a Fujinon HA22x7.8BERD lens. According to Lange, this is the fourth pan/tilt system they've used but the first Fujinon system. All visual data is captured on HDCAM, including Fujifilm HD331 HDCAM high definition stock to provide the high quality playback and output options for a variety of audiences.
This system allowed Woods Hole to track the animals much better than they had been able to before. Lange said he looks forward to using it on other several upcoming projects. The imaging systems were complemented with a variety of sensors including range finders, flux gate compasses, inclinometers, and laser altimeters. It is Lange's hope that this data will be compiled in the near future so that accurate size estimates of the marine mammals can be made using the high-quality digital imagery collected during these survey missions aboard the Fujifilm Blimp.
"Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a long-time customer of Fujinon's, and we're thrilled to partner with such a prestigious research institution," said Dave Waddell, Marketing Manager, Fujinon Broadcast & Communications Products Division. "Their use of so many of our products for such a critical research really speaks to the advances Fujinon has made in developing the most technically superior and complete imaging product range available today."
Fujinon HA25x11.5BERD HD ENG-Style lens
Fujinon TS-48 external optical stabilization system
Fujinon EOPT-5E-10D pan/tilt system
Fujinon 4.8mm HD C-Mount lens
Fujinon 75mm HD C-mount lens
Fujinon HA22x7.8BERD lens
Fujinon Stabilized Binoculars
Fujifilm video tape
HDTV Stereo Mini-Camera System
Sony SRW-1 Recorders
Sony HDW-250 Recorders
Sony HDW-700a/HDC-950 gyro-stabilized camera
About the Equipment:
The HA25X11.5BERD HD ENG-Style lens was introduced at NAB this year. Weighing a mere 6.2 pounds, thus requiring no additional support, the new HA25X11.5 is a compact telephoto lens ideally suited for gyro stabilized platforms in aircraft, wildlife photography in remote areas and HD surveillance applications, where lightweight and unobtrusive appearance are critical.
With a maximum focal length of 576 mm (2x), reduced focus breathing, an F-stop range of 2.0 to 2.8 and Fujinon's exclusive DigiPower servo system for fast and accurate zooming, the HA25X11.5BERD is the perfect complement for remote-control system and location documentary work. It also provides widescreen 16:9 or traditional 4:3 production capability under the harshest of conditions.
The TS-P48A external optical stabilization system uses Fujinon's OS-TECH image stabilization technology to deliver steady shots and keep after-shaking to a minimum when shooting with high-magnification lenses. It's designed for lenses with zoom ratios greater than 24x.
The TS-P48A utilizes Fujinon's OS-TECH technology to eliminate unwanted vibration and image shifting caused by subtle motion such as slight support-platform movements. It employs an optical shift system with a vibration detection sensor that compensates for shifting light rays that occur when an image vibrates. Its image stabilization ability immediately improves the quality of extreme close-ups taken during windy or otherwise unstable conditions.
The TS-P48A fits "sandwich-style" between the camera and lens. The anti-vibration function can be activated from the control-setting switch near the operator's hand. It can provide image compensation both vertically and horizontally.
Fujinon is a major manufacturer and distributor of optic assemblies and lenses for the broadcast television, digital cinema, and industrial markets. The company's lenses are used in virtually every segment of the broadcast industry, including electronic newsgathering, studio and field production, and high definition television. For more information about Fujinon broadcast and communications products, call 1-973-633-5600 or visit our web site at www.fujinon.com.