News / Arts & Entertainment

    Sci-Tech Oscars Honor Science of Movie-Making

    Academy President Hawk Koch arrives at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Scientific and Technical Awards at The Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, Feb. 9, 2013.Academy President Hawk Koch arrives at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Scientific and Technical Awards at The Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, Feb. 9, 2013.
    x
    Academy President Hawk Koch arrives at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Scientific and Technical Awards at The Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, Feb. 9, 2013.
    Academy President Hawk Koch arrives at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Scientific and Technical Awards at The Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, Feb. 9, 2013.
    Special effects and other cinema technology are becoming more important in helping movie-makers tell their stories.  Hollywood's motion picture academy, which will present the Oscars Sunday, February 24, has already honored the engineers and scientists behind the industry's changing technology.  

    The Oscars are presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which reminds us each year that filmmaking is both an art and a science.

    The Academy's Scientific and Technical - or Sci-Tech - awards, are presented a few weeks before the Oscars.  This year, they were given out February 9. The British company Cooke Optics, which has been making cinema lenses since the early days of movies, received the Academy's highest honor, an Oscar.

    Longtime special effects creator Bill Taylor received a medal of commendation for his service to the motion picture academy. Taylor has worked on visual effects in films that include Jim Carrey's fantasy Bruce Almighty and Martin Scorsese's 1991 remake of the psychological thriller Cape Fear.

    "And Cape Fear was full of visual effects. And because Martin Scorsese is a great student, he understood how every visual effects shot on every movie ever made was done, basically, so he really fell into it," said Taylor. "And one of the greatest achievements in the history of visual effects was his Hugo, which was just last year.”

    Scorsese's fantasy-adventure Hugo won five Oscars, including one for its visual effects team.

    Ross Shain of Imagineer Systems was part of a group honored at this year's Sci-Tech awards for software that helps filmmakers create elaborate effects in post-production.  He said the company's system, called Mocha, has been used in many films, including Black Swan, a thriller about a ballet dancer, played by Natalie Portman.

    "Throughout the film she sort of evolves into a climactic scene where she becomes a swan. And feathers and different visual effects are applied to her body," he said. "And the artists basically have to motion-track the movements of the actress to apply effects to it.”

    Richard Edlund, who chairs the Academy Sci-Tech Awards committee, has won four Oscars over the years, including for Star Wars.

    He said special effects are an important part of films of all genres, not just science fiction.

    "The technologists in my opinion are just as creative as the actors and the directors on the other side of the camera because they’re the ones that produce the technology that enables the artist to create and to transmit artistic ideas to the audience,” said Edlund.

    He said there are many challenges in making a great movie, and one of the biggest challenges for the 1977 blockbuster was not technical. It was finding an actor who could deliver lines like this, and make them believable:

    He said the casting of Alec Guinness as Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi was one reason the Star Wars series was successful.  John Williams's dramatic music was another. Last but not least, he said creative effects helped director George Lucas create a classic.

    Edlund said that collaboration between art and technology remains just as important today.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Border Crossings: A Great Big Worldi
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    April 27, 2016 12:30 PM
    Duo Ian Axel and Chad King who are better known as "A Great Big World" released their sophomore CD in 2015, "When the Morning Comes" and they join Border Crossings host Larry London to perform songs from the new CD and also their biggest hit, "Say Something."

    Duo Ian Axel and Chad King who are better known as "A Great Big World" released their sophomore CD in 2015, "When the Morning Comes" and they join Border Crossings host Larry London to perform songs from the new CD and also their biggest hit, "Say Something."