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Documentary 'Otter 501' relies on Fujinon lenses

December 25, 2011
Documentary 'Otter 501' relies on Fujinon lenses

MONTEREY BAY, CA — Natural history director of photography Mark Shelley and his production crew used Fujinon 2/3-inch format Premier Series zoom lenses to capture rare footage of sea otters in their natural habitat off the California coast. The team produced a documentary titled Otter 501, which represents the 501 st sea otter rescued by the Sea Otter Research and Conservation (SORAC) facility. The film follows the sea otter pup, which was found clinging to life on a beach after being separated from her mother.  

The facility at the Monterey Bay Aquarium offers a specially trained team that helped introduce a surrogate sea otter mother to the pup. until she’s ready to be released back into the wild. It is hoped that the film helps provide viewers with a better understanding of the threats sea otters face in the wild, including great white sharks and a host of diseases and toxins that are the results of human actions.



“Our Fujinon lenses did a phenomenal job in extreme conditions,” recalls Shelley, who is president of his own production company, Sea Studios. “When you’re capturing wildlife footage, you don’t have the luxury of setting up the perfect shot. To capture this footage, we were continually framing, zooming, and focusing the shots, trying to predict how and where the sea otters would swim. Our Fujinon zooms captured extremely sharp, crisp images, with no aberrations or flaws — despite the salt water, sea spray, and other challenges.”

In addition to Shelly, the production team included producer Josh Rosen, director Bob Talbot, cameraman Ernie Kovacs, and editor Shirley Gutierrez. The film will be presented in a theatrical format, and will consist of HD footage along with prosumer and Webcam footage recorded by the young woman who narrates the story.

The Fujinon lenses were used on Panasonic Varicam and Sony CineAlta cameras. The Varicam and F900 employed a HA13x4.5 super-wide lens for underwater and top-side production.  An extended-range, yet portable HA25x16.5 ENG-Style zoom was used for top-side production. A Sony F950 with a HA42x9.7 Fujinon ENG-Style zoom lens was used in a Cineflex gyro-stabilized housing that was extended from the side of a boat using a jib-arm.  

The film is slated for release in first quarter 2012 to cinemas and aquariums nationwide.