Kodak, Vlahos Honored With Tech Oscars

Petro and Paul Vlahos, a father-son team who developed an electronic blue screen compositing process for films, and the Eastman Kodak Co. will receive Oscar statues in the upcoming scientific and technical achievement phase of the 67th Academy Awards.

The awards are voted on by the Academy’s Board of Governors, based upon recommendations from the Scientific and Technical Awards committee. The committee is chaired by John A. Bonner, who will receive a medal of commendation.

This is the third Oscar statuette for Petro Vlahos, who won an award in 1964 for developing traveling matte systems and was given the Gordon E. Sawyer Oscar award for lifetime achievement last year. The compositing process for which the father and son were tapped this year was used in such films as “Clear and Present Danger,” “Interview With the Vampire,” “Speed” and “Drop Zone.”

Eastman Kodak, meanwhile, will add an Oscar to its cache for the EXR Color Intermediate Film 5244, a film with improved color reproduction, tone reproduction and overall image structure. The film is noteworthy because it not only allows for seamless transition among special effects and original photography, but because release prints made from duplicate negatives are considered indistinguishable from prints made from original negatives.

Awards for scientific, engineering and technical achievements are granted in three different categories, the Academy Award of Merit (which comes with an Oscar statuette) being the highest achievement. It is awarded for basic accomplishments which have a definite influence upon the advancement of the industry.

Plaques are given for scientific and engineering achievements that mark important progress for the industry. Certificates are given in recognition of technical accomplishments.

The awards will be handed out on Saturday, March 4, at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

This year’s plaques will be given to:

* George Sauve, Bill Bishop, Arpag Dadourian, Ray Feeney and Richard Patterson, for the Cinefusion software implementation of the Ultimatte Blue Screen compositing technology.

* Lincoln Hu and Michael MacKenzie of Industrial Light & Magic, and Glenn Kennel and Mike Davis of Eastman Kodak, for joint development work on a linear array CCD (Charge Coupled Device) film input scanning system. Film input scanning systems are utilized to convert motion picture sequences into digital data that can be later used for post-production manipulation, enhancement, compositing and visual effects.

* Ray Feeney, Will McCown and Bill Bishop of RFX Inc. and Les Dittert of Pacific Data Images for their development work with area array CCD film input scanning systems.

* Gary Demos and Dan Cameron of Information Intl., David DiFrancesco and Gary Stark-weather of Pixar and Scott Squires of ILM for their pioneering work in the field of film input scanning used extensively in special and visual effects.

* Iain Neil, for the optical design, and Al Saiki, for the mechanical design, of the Panavision 11:1 Primo Zoom lens.

* William A. Warner, for the concept, and the technical staff of Avid Technology for the development, of the digital Avid Film Composer for motion picture editing.

* Paul Bamborough, for the concept, Nick Pollack and Arthur Wright for the hardware development, and Neil Harris and Duncan MacLean for the software development, of the digital Lightworks Editor for motion pictures.

* James Ketcham of JSK Engineering for the concept and design of the MC211 microprocessor-based motion controller for synchronizing sprocketed film with time-code-based machines. The MC211 is a smart controller that can drive different makes of film machines at several common frame rates, synchronize them to a variety of references and is able to interface with time code machines and other microprocessors.

Academy certificate winners:

* Audio Tracks Inc., for the design and development of the ADE (Advanced Data Encoding) System, which creates an encoded timecode track and database during the initial transfer of the production sound dailies.

* Colin Broad, of CB Electronics, for the design and development of the EDL (Edit Decision List) Lister, which creates an encoded timecode track and database during the transfer of the production sound dailies.

* B. Russell Hessey, of Special Effects Spectacular Inc., and Vincent T. Kelton, for the hardware design, and George Jackman of De La Mare Engineering Inc. for the pyrotechnic development, in the non-gun safety blank firing system.

* Emanuel Previnaire of Flying-Cam, for his pioneering concept and for the development of mounting a motion picture camera on a remote-controlled miniature helicopter.

* Jacques Sax, of Sonosax, for the design and development of the Sonosax SX-S portable audio mixer.

* Dieter Sturm, of Sturm’s Special Effects Intl., for the creation and development of the Bio-Snow 2 Flake.

* David A. Addleman and Lloyd A. Addleman for the development of Cyberware 3030 3-D Digitizer, using laser and video technology to capture the shape and color of an object in three dimensions.

* Mark R. Schneider, Herbert R. Jones, Christopher D. Conover and John R.B. Brown, for the development of the Polhemus 3 Space Digitizing System. The system can take 3-D measurements from a static object in order to construct a computer database from a complex real-world object.

* Jack Smith, Michael Crichton and Emil Safier, for pioneering computerized motion picture budgeting and scheduling.

* Stephen Greenfield and Chris Huntley, of Screenplay Systems, for development of the Scriptor software, which assists writers by automatically formatting their work into screenplay page layouts.

* Frieder Hochheim, Gary Swink, Dr. Joe Zhou and Don Northrop, for the development of the Kino Flo Portable, Flicker Free, High Output fluorescent lighting system.

* Clay Davis and John Carter, of Todd AO, for the pioneering effort of computer-controlled list management style ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement). This development allows cue lists to be laid out in advance.

* Stephen W. Potter, John B. Asman, Charles Pell and Richard Larson, of LarTec Systems, for the advancement and refinement of the computer-controlled list management style ADR system via the LarTech ADR System.

* Art Fritzen, of the California Fritzen Propeller company, as designer and sole manufacturer of the eight-bladed ritter fan propeller, creating a quiet wind machine for use in motion pictures.

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