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Sci-Tech Awards


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s awards for scientific and technical achievement in 2005 celebrated breakthroughs in sky camera technology, computer graphics animation and the development of numerous specialized camera mounts. The awards were handed out by a glamorous Rachel McAdams at a gala dinner held at the Beverly Hilton on February 18.Gary Demos, a computer graphics innovator and a recipient of several past scientific and engineering awards got the Academy’s Gordon E. Sawyer Award for “technological contributions [that] have brought credit to the industry.” He was the night’s sole Oscar recipient.Don Hall, a longtime sound editor who has worked on more than 90 feature films, received the John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation for his ubiquitous contributions to the Academy on technology questions.There are three tiers of awards. Besides the Oscar statuette or Academy Award of Merit for “basic achievements that have a definite influence upon the advancement of the industry,” award plaques are handed out for scientific and engineering achievements “that exhibit a high level of engineering and are important to the progress of the industry,” and certificates are given to technical achievement award winners “for those accomplishments that contribute to the progress of the industry”.Winners of Academy Plaques for Scientific and Engineering Awards:– David Grober for the concept and mechanical design and Scott Lewallen for the electronic and software design of the Perfect Horizon camera stabilization head. The device offsets extraneous motion in boats and other similar situations, keeping the camera stable and level with the horizon.– Anatoliy Kokush, Yuriy Popovsky and Oleksiy Zolotarov for the concept and development of the Russian Arm gyro-stabilized camera crane and the Flight Head. Mounted on the roof of almost any car, this remotely operated crane and camera head can move smoothly in a 360° circle around the car, even while it is being driven at high speeds.– Anatoliy Kokush for the concept and development of the Cascade series of motion picture cranes. These enable the filmmaker to achieve heights of up to 70 feet, allowing for the placement of the camera in otherwise impossible locations.– Garrett Brown for the original concept of the Skycam flying camera system, the first remote-controlled, cable-supported flying camera system. – David Baraff, Michael Kass and Andrew Witkin for their pioneering work in utilizing computer-generated techniques to simulate realistic cloth in animated motion pictures.– Laurie Frost, Peter Hannan and Richard Loncraine for the development of the remote camera head known as the Hot-Head. In use for over a quarter of a century, the Hot-Head has made given filmmakers a way to obtain remotely-operated camera shots.Awards for Technical Achievement, with Academy certificates, went to:– Gary Thieltges for the design and development of the remotely operated, lightweight camera head known as the Sparrow Head, which allows filmmakers to remotely pan and tilt their camera from virtually any moving vehicle.– Frank Fletcher and Dave Sherwin for the introduction and continuing development of the Power Pod modular camera head system. This system lets filmmakers configure a remote-controlled head to meet their own unique requirements.– Alvah Miller, Michael Sorensen and J. Walt Adamczyk for the design and development of the Aerohead motion control camera head and the J-Viz Pre-Visualization system. The motion-controlled head allows sophisticated tiling and pre-visualization techniques.– Scott Leva for the design and development of the Precision Stunt Airbag for motion picture stunt falls. The inflated cube is designed to envelope the stunt jumper, which enhances safety for stunt performers in falls from up to 200 feet.– Lev Yevstratov, George Peters and Vasiliy Orlov for the development of the Ultimate Arm Camera Crane System for specialized vehicle photography. The remotely-controlled, gyro-stabilized and flexible camera crane offers a highly stable platform for high-speed, rough terrain action shots.– James Rodnunsky, Alex MacDonald and Mark Chapman for the development of the Cablecam 3-D volumetric suspended cable camera technologies. The evolving technology has made it possible to move a camera safely and accurately anywhere through a three-dimensional space.– Tim Drnec, Ben Britten Smith and Matt Davis for the development of the Spydercam 3-D volumetric suspended cable camera technologies, making it possible to move a camera safely and accurately anywhere through a three-dimensional space.– John Platt and Demetri Terzopoulos for their pioneering work in physically based computer-generated techniques used to simulate realistic cloth in motion pictures.– Ed Catmull, for the original concept, and Tony DeRose and Jos Stam for their scientific and practical implementation of subdivision surfaces as a modeling technique in motion picture production.– Harold Rattray, Terry Claborn, Steve Garlick, Bill Hogue and Tim Reynolds for the design, engineering and implementation of the Technicolor Real Time Answer Print System, letting filmmakers preview real-time color corrections using actual film prints.– Udo Schauss and Hildegard Ebbesmeier for the optical design and Nicole Wemken and Michael Anderer for the mechanical design of the Cinelux Premiere Cinema Projection Lenses. These lenses provide for better light transmission to the sides and corners of the theater projection screen.

Written by Jack Egan

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