News / Arts & Entertainment

Movie Academy Honors Inventors, Engineers

Ian Caven (left), Ian Godin (left center), Tim Connolly (right center) and Kimball Thurston prior to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards on February 11, 2012, in Beverly Hills, California.
Ian Caven (left), Ian Godin (left center), Tim Connolly (right center) and Kimball Thurston prior to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards on February 11, 2012, in Beverly Hills, California.
Mike O'Sullivan

The Academy Awards, or Oscars, will be handed out Sunday, but the inventors and engineers who make movies possible have already been honored. This year's scientific and technical awards were presented earlier this month by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

“There wouldn’t be any movies without technology.  And it’s becoming more and more amazing what technology is being invented for making movies," said Richard Edlund, who has won Oscars for visual effects in Stars Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi, and he chairs the Academy’s Sci-Tech committee.

The Academy is a professional organization of actors and filmmakers who say that making films is both an art and science. And it hands out awards for technical and scientific achievements in film.  

Academy certificates and plaques plus a few Oscars were handed out earlier this month for those achievements.

This year, an award went to Uwe Weber, honored with his late colleague Jurgen Noffke, for creating sensitive low-distortion lenses jointly produced by the ARRI and Zeiss companies.

“Yes, it’s possible to shoot in low light, candle light or so on, and this makes it very special.  You can get very natural images by that,” Weber explained.

The ARRI Zeiss lenses helped create the fantasy world in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Richard Toftness and his colleagues were honored for creating the Phantom line of high-speed digital cameras. Their cameras create incredibly slow motion on the screen, seen in many recent films, says team member Andy Jantzen.

“The latest one was Sherlock Holmes..... I was told two days ago that it was used in the Matrix film,” Jantzen said.

Richard Toftness says the cameras add texture to movies.

“We’ve been told that 95 percent of the films that use slow-motion effects use our cameras,” Toftness noted.

Bob Nettmann and his colleagues were honored for creating stabilizers for cameras and lenses for shooting from helicopters, cars, cranes and boats.  They were used in the film Mission Impossible to show Tom Cruise rappelling off a building.

“Our work is our hobby, so it’s a paying hobby. We’re stressed out at the moment because we’re building stuff for the Olympics, the London 2012 Olympics,” Nettmann said.

The team's products will help Olympic viewers get a closeup view of events.

Kimball Thurston was honored with his colleagues and late team leader John Lowry for an image-enhancing system called the Lowry Process .  It's been used to improve the look of classic films like Gone With The Wind and more recently, Avatar.

“I’m extremely honored, obviously, very excited.  A little bit nervous," Thurston said adding that he's seldom in the limelight.

Industry veteran, Jonathan Erland, was honored with a special medal for his service to the movie academy.  He says digital technology provides new ways to make and watch movies.
including on computers and mobile devices. But he likes to watch them the old-fashioned way, in a theater.

“Even though we have lots of ways to look at movies at home, the preferred way is still to go to a theater just the way we’ve been doing it for 100 years," Erland said.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Paquito D'Rivera, who has won 12 Grammys, is celebrated both for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer. D'Rivera's latest project, “Jazz Meets the Classics,” was released this month. He joins us on the latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."