The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences feted some of the industry’s oldest contributors and newest technologies at the Scientific & Technical Awards Saturday night.
At the black-tie banquet at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, an Oscar statuette went to longtime Panavision design engineer Takuo Miyagishima as the winner of the Gordon E. Sawyer Award.
Miyagishima, who started at Panavision some 50 years ago, gave an emotional acceptance speech, recalling that as a boy, he went to a school on Southern California’s Terminal Island where almost all the students were children of immigrants.
“For me to be standing before you, only in the United States could that happen,” he said.
He also quipped, “I hope they didn’t give this to me just to get rid of me.”
Miyagishima has received many kudos for his contributions to improving camera technology, including the Acad’s John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation, a Fuji Gold Medal and an Emmy.
F/x guru feted
A rare special Award of Commendation plaque went to Arthur Widmer, longtime f/x guru at Warners and Universal and a pioneer in bluescreen compositing.
In a halting but still witty acceptance speech, Widmer said the downside of being a nonogenarian was that “you lose the ability to communicate with the younger generation (of engineers).”
He doesn’t understand the acronyms today’s f/x engineers use, he said, “and in my time, being digitally adept meant you could play the piccolo.”
“You’ve honored analog achievements made in an era without acronyms,” he added.
Statuettes also went to Academy Award of Merit winners Horst Burbulla for the invention and development of the Technocrane telescoping camera crane and Jean-Marie Lavalou, Alain Masseron and David Samuelson for the engineering and development of the Louma Camera Crane.
Samuelson said getting the award was “like having a new baby in the family, but it’s had a 25-year period of gestation.”
Technocrane whizz finally gets his
Czech Republic native Burbulla told Daily Variety he invented the Technocrane 20 years ago as a way to get a shot he wanted in a movie he was directing, adding he didn’t quite realize he was onto something big until “this year.”
Gyula Mester and Keith Edwards received Scientific & Engineering Award plaques for their part in the development of the Technocrane.
Plaques also went to five members of the team that developed the Cineon Digital Film Workstation, the system that created digital compositing as it’s used today.
Presenter for the evening was Scarlett Johansson. Thesp held her own on the techspeak, although at one point, after reading what the DNF 001 multiband digital audio noise suppressor does, she admitted, “I have no idea what that means. The words are coming out of my mouth but I’m just not processing.”
In accepting his Technical Achievement Award certificate, inventor Steven Boze assured her, “All you need to know is it makes it sound better.”
Among the other eight devices to receive Technical Achievement certificates was the Storm software for volumetric digital effects. Designer Alan Kapler thanked his parents “for letting me piss around on my computer instead of getting a real job,” and Digital Domain “for turning that into a real job.”
Technical Achievement Awards
To Greg Cannom and Wesley Wofford for the development of their special modified silicone material for makeup appliances used in motion pictures.
To Jerry Cotts for the original concept and design and Anthony Seaman for the engineering of the Satellight-X HMI Softlight.
To Steven E. Boze for the design and implementation of the DNF 001 multiband digital audio noise suppressor.
To Christopher Hicks and Dave Betts for the design and implementation of the Cedar DNS1000 multiband digital noise suppressor.
To Nelson Tyler for the development of the Tyler Gyroplatform boat mount stabilizing device for motion picture photography.
To Julian Morris, Michael Birch, Paul Smyth and Paul Tate for the devel-opment of the Vicon motion-capture technology .
To John O.B. Greaves, Ned Phipps, Antonie J. van den Bogert and William Hayes for the development of the Motion Analysis motion-capture technology.
To Nels Madsen, Vaughn Cato, Matthew Madden and Bill Lorton for the development of the Giant Studios motion-capture technology.
To Alan Kapler for the design and development of Storm, a software toolkit for the control of volumetric effects.
Scientific and Engineering Awards
To Gyula Mester (electronic systems design) and Keith Edwards (mechanical engineering) for their significant contributions to and continuing development of the Tech-nocrane telescoping camera crane.
To Lindsay Arnold, Guy Griffiths, David Hodson, Charlie Lawrence and David Mann for their development of the Cineon Digital Film Worksta-tion.
Award of Commendation
To Arthur Widmer for his lifetime of achievement in the science and technology of image compositing for motion pic-tures as exemplified by his significant contributions to the development of the Ultra Violet and the “bluescreen” compositing process.
Academy Award of Merit
To Horst Burbulla for the invention and continuing development of the Technocrane telescoping camera crane.
To Jean-Marie Lavalou, Alain Masseron and David Samuelson for the engineering and development of the Louma Camera Crane and remote system for motion picture production.
Gordon E. Sawyer Award