The Cinema Audio Society announced that a new award has been created in memory of Edward J. Greene CAS. The award will be called the “Edward J. Greene Award for the Advancement of Sound” and will be presented when the board feels it is merited. This inaugural award will be presented to previous CAS Career Achievement Recipient and AMPAS Technical Achievement Award winner Tomlinson Holman CAS creator of THX.
“The passing of Ed Greene had a profound effect on the CAS and sound community at large. The Board of Directors and the former Presidents wanted a meaningful way to honor Ed’s memory. So this award, in Ed’s name, to acknowledge the Advancement of Sound was created,” said CAS President Mark Ulano. “Presenting this inaugural award to Tomlinson Holman, who has contributed so much to the sound community in both cinema and broadcast is the perfect representation of who and what this award represents.”
Holman is exceptionally proud to receive an award named for a man he knew well and respected, Ed Greene. Ed let Tom stick his head above Ed’s during a SAG Awards and an Academy Awards rehearsal, and it was a highlight of Tom’s audio experience to see such a master at his craft.
Born in Oregon, Illinois, Tom walked to Saturday morning movie serials for 25 cents admission. As a prototypical “science kid” his mother made several trips to the Principal’s office because Tom kept sneaking into the auditorium after hours to hang lights and do sound checks.
At the University of Illinois, he began concentrating on sound during after-school activities in the theater department. His undergraduate film partner was director Andrew (Andy) Davis. After graduation, he stayed on at the university for five years in its film production unit reading practically everything published about audio (impossible today). After a devastating fire, Tom got the post department up and running again.
He eventually bought a Nagra recorder and started doing projects, usually at the request of Andy, who ultimately asked him to come to Hollywood, to work on a Blaxploitation feature Cool Breeze as a boom operator for first-time recordist Jeff Wexler CAS. Studying the Nagra schematics (which he thought he had to understand as a soundman) he found many unusual things, an inspiration for later on to “Think Different”.
A trip to Boston resulted in an interview and job with Advent in Cambridge, MA. The founder, Henry Kloss, was occupied making tubes and screens for the first widely sold projection television, so he left the audio design part of the business to Tom, with Henry’s mentorship. After Henry left Advent, Tom left to start Apt Corporation, making a little higher end product, preamps and power amps. One of his proudest moments was to get a letter from Stefan Kudelski thanking him for the preamp Tom had given him since the Nagra inspired non-conventional thinking in circuits. While in Cambridge Tom and Fritz Koenig began personal and business partnerships that continue to this day.
When George Lucas sought a rethink of film systems, Tom’s chops as inventor of audio and video systems landed him a position as Chief Engineer of Post Production at Lucasfilm in Marin County, California. While the Computer Division was tasked with digitizing everything, Tom was challenged to work on the ends of the chain that would be needed no matter whether it was an analog or digital workflow. For over 30 years, theater sound system technology had stagnated even as many improvements in loudspeaker theory and design had occurred. Tom evaluated those improvements, invented some new technology, and then combined them into a system so impressive that George Lucas named the system THX after Tom’s initials and the critical cross(X)over electronics Tom invented. With a companion Theater Alignment Program, THX standards included room acoustics and even projection standards which created a standard presentation platform deployed on a massive scale worldwide upon which cinema audio professionals could rely.
After seven years full time at Lucasfilm Tom started teaching at USC Cinema, while commuting to Skywalker Ranch weekly and working principally on THX and its spinoffs. In 1995 he left Lucasfilm to co-found TMH Corporation with Koenig, made products, edited a magazine, produced books, and consulted, mostly on the Hollywood transition in television to 5.1. He also continued teaching and researching at USC. In 2011, Tom joined Apple