Sci-Tech Awards Honor Digital Cinema Cams, Capture Systems

At the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, actors John Cho and Leslie Mann hosted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ annual Scientific and Technical Awards, honoring the programmers, inventors and breakthroughs advancing the entertainment industry. The evening awarded 18 achievements, to 34 individual recipients and five organizations. Many of the technologies and products awarded, including an array of digital cinema cameras, represented years of R&D. AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs opened the evening’s event.

Scientific and Technical Awards chair Ray Feeney pointed out that, unlike the other Academy Awards, “achievements receiving Scientific and Technical Awards need not have been developed and introduced during 2016.” He lauded the “pioneering digital cinema cameras that helped facilitate the widespread conversion to electronic image capture for motion picture production.”

“These technologists, engineers and inventors have significantly expanded filmmakers’ creative choices for moving image storytelling,” he said.

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USA Today reports the list of Sci-Tech honorees. Awards for the development of digital cinema cameras includes ARRI for the Alexa, Thomson Grass Valley’s Viper FilmStream, RED Digital Cinema for its RED and Epic, Sony for the development of the F65 CineAlta, and Sony and Panavision for the Genesis. The awards to Sony/Panavision and Thomson Grass Valley in particular recognized the earliest efforts in digital cinematography.

Another group of awards honored facial performance capture systems, to Parag Havaldar who developed technology at Sony Pictures Imageworks; Nicholas Apostoloff and Geoff Wedig at ImageMovers Digital and Digital Domain; Kiran Bhat, Michael Koperwas, Brian Cantwell and Paige Warner at ILM; and Luca Fascione, J.P. Lewis and Iain Matthews for Weta Digital’s FACETS system.

In the arena of motion capture, Steven Rosenbluth, Joshua Barratt, Robert Nolty and Archie Te won for the Concept Overdrive motion control system.

Rendering technologies were recognized, with awards to Carl Ludwig, Eugene Troubetzkoy and Maurice van Swaaij for the CGI Studio renderer at Blue Sky Studios; the Arnold Renderer, developed by Marcos Fajardo, Christopher Kulla, Alan King, Thiago Ize and Clifford Stein at Sony Pictures Imageworks and Solid Angle; and to Vladimir Koylazov for V-Ray from Chaos Group.

Other awards went to Larry Gritz for Open Shading Language; Brian Whited for the Disney Animation Studios’ Meander drawing system; Mark Rappaport, Scott Oshitafor, Jeff Cruts and Todd Minobe for Animatronic Horse Puppet.

Wireless microphone systems were acknowledged with awards to Glenn Sanders and Howard Stark at Zaxcom and David Thomas, Lawrence E. Fisher and David Bundy at Lectrosonics.