George Lucas Among SMPTE Award Winners

George Lucas

Showbiz engineers announce honorees and nominees

George Lucas is among three technologists to receive the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers highest accolade, the org announced today.

Lucas is to receive an Honorary Membership in the body in recognition of his many contributions to entertainment technology, from founding Industrial Light & Magic, Pixar (which began as a division at ILM) and THX to advancing digital cinematography.

“In his determination to push the medium of cinema with new technologies and techniques, Lucas encountered both support and skepticism,” said SMPTE in its announcement. “It is now clear that his perseverance and vision were key factors in the eventual widespread adoption of digital cinematography in motion picture production.”

Also receiving an Honorary Membership is Leonardo Chiariglione, who is credited with the development of the MPEG standards that underlie digital video. Receiving a posthumous Honorary Membership, a.k.a. SMPTE’s “Honor Roll,” is John Logie Baird, a TV technology pioneer who died in 1946.

The SMPTE announcement included all of its 2014 honorees and nominees.

SMPTE’s highest medal, the Progress Medal, will be given to Ioan Allen, for his innovations in sound research and development programs at Dolby Laboratories. Neil Beagrie will receive the Archival Technology Medal for significant technical advancements or contributions related to the development of technology for the long-term storage, archive, or preservation of media content. Beagrie’s work includes establishing the Digital Preservation Coalition.

Clyde D. Smith Jr. is to receive David Sarnoff Medal, for outstanding contributions to the improvement of the engineering phases of television technology. Smith has been instrumental in applying digital tech within broadcast networks.

Barry Haskell will be presented the Digital Processing Medal for technical achievements related to the development of digital processing of content for cinema, television, games, or other related media.

Steve Wright is to be recognized for his work in visual effects as “an accomplished practitioner and master trainer” with the Kodak Educational Award. Wright’s books, “Compositing Visual Effects: Essentials for the Aspiring Artist” and “Digital Compositing for Film and Video,” are among the few instructional texts for digital intermediate and compositing.

Ville Pulkki will get the Samuel L. Warner Memorial Medal for contributions in the design and development of new and improved methods and/or apparatus for motion picture sound, recognizing his work in spacial sound reproduction and multichannel audio rendering.

Jim Houston is to receive the Technicolor/Herbert T. Kalmus Medal for contributions to motion picture postproduction and distribution services. Houston was key to the development of the award-winning Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Academy Color Encoding System (ACES), as well as other mastering standards.

Philip Tudor will receive the Workflow Systems Medal, recognizing outstanding contributions related to the development and integration of IT file-based systems into production, Tudor’s work includes numerous SMPTE committees and in the Advanced Media Workflow Association,, and he led the implementation of file-based workflows at the BBC.

Eric R. Fossum is to get the Camera Origination and Imaging Medal, recognizing technical achievements in image capture devices, for leading the invention and development of the complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) sensors while he was working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1993. CMOS sensors are now widely used digital cameras, cell phones and many other devices.

Andrew B. Watson’s paper “High Frame Rates and Human Vision: A View Through the Window of Visibility” is to be recognized with the SMPTE Journal Award for most outstanding paper published in the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal during 2013. Benjamin Bross, Heiko Schwarz, and Detlev Marpe will receive Journal Certificates of Merit for their article “The New High-Efficiency Video Coding Standard.”

John Hudson will receive the Excellence in Standards Award for his work developing standards relating to real-time electrical and optical streaming media interfaces for video and D-Cinema production.

SMPTE will honor five individuals for service to the org: John Beckhaus, Siegfried G. Heep, Federico Savina, T.J. Scott Jr., and Peter M. Weitzel.

The awards will bepresented  on Oct. 23 at the SMPTE Honors & Awards Ceremony, held in conjunction with the SMPTE 2014 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition at the Loews Hollywood Hotel. Eight new SMPTE Fellows also will be recognized at the event: Hanno Basse, Thomas G. Edwards, Joseph J. Kane, Jr., John McCoskey, Andrew Quested, Vince Roberts, Jim Starzynski, and Colin R. Wright.

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  1. Dear Daniel, I think you will find the origins of Pixar and various other technologies are in some complicated collection of organizations funded by George Lucas, specifically the Lucasarts Computer Division, Sprocket Systems, various R&D activities of ILM and presumably others. SoundDroid, EditDroid, the blue screen compositing systems were all given higher priority than computer animation inside Lucasfilm/Arts even if ultimately it was the synthetic imagery parts of the R&D that has been more visible. George sustained all these R&D operations out of his own pocket, to the best of my knowledge, with certain monies coming in on various projects for ILM and various other collaborative projects such as CAPS with Disney. So I think that George can get a lot of credit for Pixar even if Pixar needed to be sustained for years by Jobs before it became the financial success that we all know today. That is my impression anyway. Sincerely, MW.

  2. Daniel says:

    Goergoe Lucas didn’t found Pixar.

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