News / Arts & Entertainment

    Before Oscars, Academy Honors Engineers, Innovators 

    Technical Achievement Award recipients from left: Michael Kirilenko, Mike Branham and Steve Smith are seen at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, Feb. 13, 2016.
    Technical Achievement Award recipients from left: Michael Kirilenko, Mike Branham and Steve Smith are seen at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, Feb. 13, 2016.

    An inflatable green screen more than seven meters high and optical device to simulate shaking are just two of the innovations that make the work of moviemakers easier and render movie effects more convincing. The developers of both innovations were among the honorees at this year's Sci-Tech Awards, presented Feb. 13 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

    The Academy is better known for its Oscars, which will be presented in Hollywood February 28.

    Michael Kirilenko of Vancouver, Canada, is one of four key grips, or supervisory rigging technicians, who came to Beverly Hills to receive a technical achievement award for the inflatable green screen, which is widely used in the industry. It is easy to move and lets directors blend live action and animation.

    “Its first film was Godzilla,” said Kirilenko. “And from there, it did Tomorrowland. Right now, it's doing Planet of the Apes. It did X-Men. Avengers.” 

    For visual effects artist Brian McLean, a science project at age 11 led to career in stop-motion animation, which uses tiny figurines shot with incremental changes to trick the eye into seeing motion.

    “It's basically the fact that your eye continues to see an object for a split second after that object disappears,” McLean explained.

    McLean was honored with colleague Martin Meunier for a 3-D printing process that creates tens of thousands of characters, replacing hand-sculpted figurines. The system is used in productions from Oregon-based LAICA studios, starting with its 2009 animated film Coraline.

    Michael John Keesling received a technical achievement award for a device that simulates shaking, for example, of a moving car or a violent earthquake.

    “I was shown how it was normally done,” he recalled, “with an electric drill attached to the camera ...It would bump into the operator's eye.It would hurt the camera.And so I thought, well, what if you just shook the image?”

    Keesling’s system, used in the 1998 film Saving Private Ryan and many movies since then, employs optical gel and a computer controller to achieve more realistic shaking.

    Keesling says this Academy honor means a lot. “This is kind of like my college degree,” he said. “I was self-taught.I barely made it through high school, so this is like, I did it. I made it.”

    Christoph Bregler and his colleague Ronald Mallet of the animation company Industrial Light & Magic were honored for a motion tracking system that transfers an actor's movements to an animated character.

    Bregler says the system was welcomed by actors, who “don't have to wear these motion capture pajamas any more,” and directors and cinematographers, who “don't have to calibrate, like, 16 cameras. Anywhere you are ... on a boat, or if you're on a bridge or anything, you just need one camera to shoot it, and we can capture every pixel – every little pimple, every little eye blink, hair, anything.”

    Jack Greasley was one of four honorees for MARI 3D software, whose name comes from the Swahili word for “beautiful,” maridadi.

    The digital painting system was used in the 2009 fantasy Avatar and many films since then to increase their realism.

     

    “When you're making a movie with a space ship or a monster, somebody needs to go in there and paint all the prime surface detail, all the wrinkles, all the pores, all the scratches, the dirt, the blood, the dust,” said Greasley. He says the visual effects artist “goes in there with literally a digital paintbrush and pore by pore, wrinkle by wrinkle, paints that in.”

    For Hollywood actors, computer-generated effects make performances convincing, said Olivia Munn, who has a role in the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse. She cohosted this year’s Sci-Tech award ceremony with actor Jason Segel.

    She is impressed with the engineers who work behind the scenes to create digital characters and effects that seem realistic.“ They’ve made it possible for actors to not look so silly when we're out there screaming at something or fighting something.” 

    She says the film technology that helps make movie magic gets better every year.

    You May Like

    Ethiopia's Anti-terrorism Law: Security or Silencing Dissent?

    Yonatan Tesfaye was detained in December 2015 on charges under Ethiopia's Anti-Terrorism Proclamation; eleven statements from his Facebook page were used as evidence

    Egypt Orders Trial for Journalists Charged With Harboring Reporters

    Order targets journalists' union chief Yehia Qalash, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for allegedly spreading false news, harboring fugitive colleagues

    Nigerian Oil Production Falls as Militant Attacks Take Toll

    Country no longer Africa's petroleum king due to renewed militancy in its oil-producing region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs

    African Music Treasures