By Jack EganA telescoping camera crane, a small-footprint high-output collapsible light, and a new-generation Kodak negative film stock were among eight breakthrough items showcased at a curtain-raiser for the Sci-Tech 2005 Oscars in mid October.The eight devices are among 22 being evaluated by the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee for the 77th Academy Awards. The Sci-Tech winners are ultimately decided by the Academy’s Board of Governors, following a winnowing of candidates in early December. Winners will be announced just after the start of the New Year, and the awards will be handed out at a special ceremony on February 12.The demonstration was held at the Motion Picture Academy’s Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.Items featured:â€¢ Ultra-Violet Traveling Matte Process from Arthur Widmerâ€¢ Satellight-X’s HMI Softlightâ€¢ Kodak Vision2 500T Color Negative Film 5218 from Eastman Kodakâ€¢ Perfect Horizon stabilizer from Motion Picture Marineâ€¢ Makohead camera mount from Mako ProductsDoggicam Systems’ Sparrow Head camera mount Tyler Gyroplatform boatmount from Tyler Camera SystemsTelescopic Cameracrane from Technocrane s.r.o. and TechnovisionOther methods or devices that are under consideration include:â€¢ Shapeware from Eyetronicsâ€¢ Silicone Appliances and Special Makeup from Greg Cannomâ€¢ Apple Computer’s Apple Shakeâ€¢ Kino Flo’s Truematch Compact Fluorescent Lamp Series KF29, KF32 and KF55 â€¢ Storm Software for creating volumetric effects from Digital Domainâ€¢ Polhemus FastSCAN handheld 3D Laser Scanner from Applied Research Associates NZ Ltd.â€¢ VICON 8 Motion Capture System with Mcams from VICON Motion Systemsâ€¢ Cedar DNS1000 from Cedar Audio Ltd.High Resolution 3D Laser Scanner fromâ€¢ National Research Council of Canadaâ€¢ Digital Fusion, Compositing Software by eyeon Software Inc.â€¢ Salamati Productions’ Hot Gears Remote Systemsâ€¢ Adobe After Effects software from Adobe Systemsâ€¢ ILM Image-based modelingâ€¢ FX Motion’s E-Gearing SystemThe Scientific and Technical Awards have been given out since 1930. Awards honor “ingenuity, efficiency and economy” toward achieving an end result. A panel of experts in specific fields headed by a chairman, appointed by the president of the Academy, makes the evaluations.The Sci-Tech Awards Committee has about 40 people. They represent cinematography, digital imaging, electronics and research, film and laboratory, lighting and equipment, mechanical or optical effects and engineering, production, projection, sound and exhibition techniques.There are three levels of awards spelled out by the Academy: The Academy Award of Merit, or Oscar, is the top honor, and it’s given for basic achievements that have spurred the advancement of the movie industry. Last year’s winners were Digidesign for the development of the Pro Tools audio workstation and Bill Tondreau of Kuper Controls for advancing motion control technology for movie visual effects.There are also Scientific and Engineering Awards handed out for achievements that significantly influenced the advancement of the movie industry. And awards for Technical Achievement are given for accomplishments that contribute to the progress of the industry.
Written by Jack Egan