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

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

New Orleans-based Water Seed joins Shawna Renee inside the "Soul Lounge" where they introduce listeners to their latest album, a wonderful fusion of jazz, soul and rhythm & blues. The group also explains how the heart of New Orleans influences each of them as musicians and songwriters.