home : news : 10/03/05
“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” Relies on Innovision’s Probe Lens to Create the “CSI Shot”

Now in its sixth season, the popular Emmy-award winning crime-drama “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” has been employing Innovision’s 35mm Probe Lens since the show’s inception. “We have used the Probe Lens from the CSI pilot to present,” states Larry Detwiler, Visual Effects Supervisor for the original show. “It is the workhorse of the ‘CSI Shot.’”

Innovision's Probe is a tubular lens that offers superior optics and light transmission for either High Definition Video (HD) or film. The system's unique periscope attachments let operators shoot from an ultra-low or close up perspective.

CSI’s cinematographers and special effects units rely on the Probe to create the fluid camera-work that has sometimes been described as the show’s “unbilled” character.
“Used mostly on the motion control camera, [the probe] allows us to get inside places that a standard lens simply cannot (inner body parts, air ducts, etc.),” states Detwiler. “I frankly don’t know of a lens that can achieve the same results. Thus, we keep on using it on every episode.”

CSI visual effects cinematographer Eric Swenson can also attest to the unique versatility of the Probe. “Every week we explore the inner workings of the human body. Innovision lenses take us there.” Famed for the graphic imagery of its gory subject matter, the show regularly depicts intimate shots of the human body. “When you are following a glass of water down the gullet of a man, the Probe II Plus is my lens of choice,” states Swenson. The immersible Probe’s durability only adds to its effectiveness. “What I like about the Innovision products is how rugged they are. We are constantly spraying C02, water, fake blood, you name it, on [the probe]. The immersible Probes handle it in stride.”

Probe Utilized in CSI Finale Directed by Quentin Tarantino

Last May 30 million viewers tuned in to watch the much-hyped season finale of CSI, “Grave Danger,” directed by Quentin Tarantino. In the episode, forensics investigator “Nick,” played by George Eads, is buried alive in a plasti-glass coffin with a loaded handgun, a web-cam and a plethora of fire ants. Eric Swenson used the Probe to deliver an intimate perspective of Nick inside the coffin as he battles between shooting himself or being dined upon by ants (see picture above).

More on the Probe

The Probe is completely waterproof, has interchangeable straight, 45° and 90° periscope attachments and features 8 prime lenses. High resolution glass elements and relay optics create images with remarkable edge-to-edge sharpness, flat field, and extreme depth of field. State-of-the-art multiple coatings provide sharp, low dispersion images.

To learn more about the probe, visit the product page or call Innovision-Optics at 1-310-453-4866.

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