Friday, June 18, 2010

A Showcase for Technology

Discovery HD Theater’s new TV program LIGHTSCAPES, premiering this coming Monday, June 21st, is a showcase for some of the newest and most advanced image capture technologies.

Shot with the Canon 5D Mark II and the Red One, the premiere episode reveals in an entirely new light the 2000 year-old Grand Ise Shrine, Japan's most sacred of all Shinto sites. LIGHTSCAPES features the work of renowned Japanese media artist, Akira Hasegawa, and his unique "D-K" (Digital-Kakejiku) art form that projects large-scale, abstract-painting-like images onto famous architectural structures and natural landscapes to create familiar yet entirely new visual experiences.

To produce LIGHTSCAPES, which consists largely of time lapse photography, series co-creators Peter H. Chang and Christopher Frey turned to the Canon 5D Mark II DSLR.

“Coupled with fast Canon prime lenses, the camera’s huge full-frame sensor excelled in capturing Akira Hasegawa's kaleidoscopic light displays at night,” said the director Peter H. Chang. “The timelapse sequences were captured at 5.6K resolution RAW, which is more than ten times the resolution of standard 1920x1080 HD - near IMAX quality.”

Executive Producer Christopher Frey added, “I honestly didn’t think filming Akira’s artwork would be possible before learning about the 5D Mark II’s low-light capabilities, but after hearing what the camera could do, I knew we had a television program in the making.”

Tim Smith at Canon USA said, “Lightscapes is a ground-breaking production. The use of Canon HDSLR's for timelapse was breathtaking and the incorporation of Canon optics on other footage yielded some amazing images. Paul Leeming and Peter Chang have taken Digital Cinema to the next level.”

Another camera, the Red One, was used for capturing real-time footage at 4K resolution. On shooting with the Red, Paul Leeming said, “To match the Canon still photo timelapse portion of Lightscapes on the real-time motion side we needed to use a camera with an extremely high quality sensor. We were able to interchange the Canon still lenses with the Red camera, thanks to an electronic EF lens mount built by Birger Engineering, taking advantage of the fast Canon L lenses and maintaining a consistent look across stills and motion.”

Ted Schilowitz of RED Digital Cinema said, “RED Digital Cinema is thrilled to have been the 4K digital motion picture camera chosen to shoot the LIGHTSCAPES program. The RED ONE camera, with its ultra high resolution sensor, made it a very good fit for the style of Cinematography that Paul and Peter chose to shoot for the show. It's great that forward thinking networks like Discovery HD Theater are realizing the value of shooting 4k, to deliver the highest quality HD content today, and future proof their master footage to deliver in 4k in the future, as we at RED see moving to even higher resolution delivery for both theatrical and home viewing is in our near future.”

“Lightscapes Episode 1: Grand Ise Shrine” Premieres Monday, June 21st at 7:30am ET/PT on Discovery’s HD Theater.

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