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Renovated Salt Lake Tabernacle Features Fujinon HD Lenses

Jul 5, 2007 8:00 PM

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When the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially reopened the historic Salt Lake Tabernacle after a two-year renovation it did so with much celebration. The 140-year-old building underwent a substantial upgrade intended to strengthen and protect the structure while maintaining its distinct appearance. During the renovation and building upgrade, several HD cameras and lenses were permanently but discreetly added to the tabernacle.

Three of Fujinon’s HA42X9.7BERD HD ENG-Style zoom lenses on Sony HDC-1500 cameras, mounted on Ravensclaw Talon robotics, are deftly tucked away, virtually unseen. The smaller footprint in that combination appealed to church leaders and to its chief engineer, Sean McFarland. “With the renovation, it was a perfect opportunity to provide discreet accommodations for our regularly used HD production equipment. Given the architectural elements and high-profile nature of this project, we needed to keep the equipment from becoming a distraction to audience members. It’s clear we were successful, because when we do point out the cameras, most people are surprised to see them there,” McFarland says. When not in use, mechanical pylons underneath two of the cameras allow them to be lowered and stowed under the floor.

Another attractive feature of the Fujinon HA42X9.7BERD HD lens was its ability to be remotely controlled with robotics. The broadcasting staff of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints carries out control room duties from another building located 1,500 feet away, making remote control capability a necessity. “It’s unique for a smaller lens to be controlled remotely. In spite of the size, this lens has all the functionality you’d get with a large studio lens,” McFarland says.

The HA42x9.7BERD is a portable, stabilized telephoto ENG-style lens. It features Fujinon's Digi Power digital servo control system and QuickZoom technology for rapid zoom movement. Remote control of zoom focus and iris for Digi Power lenses is powered by a serial digital link. The HD zoom incorporates Fujinon's built-in OS-Tech image stabilization system, which removes unwanted movement from typically unstable long shots.

The first use of the system during the worldwide broadcast of the church’s general conference on March 31 was a huge success. Millions of Mormons throughout the world watched and listened to church leaders deliver messages of faith, translated into 89 languages and transmitted worldwide.

According to McFarland, putting the system to such a high-profile test on its first official use was not a concern with Fujinon equipment. “Fujinon always gives us the tools as well as the service and support to provide our product with excellence,” he says.

The lenses also capture the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir during the weekly production of “Music and the Spoken Word.” Now in its 75th year, the program is the longest-running, live broadcast program in the country.

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