Acad lab conjures sci-tech honorees

Digidesign, Tondreau, Parks among the feted

Techies better start looking for dates.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will bestow 10 scientific and technical achievement nods, including three Oscar statuettes, at the sci-tech Academy Awards dinner, skedded for Feb. 14 at the Ritz Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena.

Digidesign, creator of digital audio post-production software, will take home the Oscar statuette for developing the Pro Tools Digital Audio Workstation, which has become the industry standard for producing and cutting soundtracks.

Bill Tondreau of Kuper Controls will receive an Oscar for his innovations involving robotic camera systems. His advances in the field, over several decades, have resulted in motion control becoming a central component of the visual f/x industry.

Gordon E. Sawyer honoree

Peter D. Parks, an inventor, engineer, biologist and visual-effects designer, will receive the Gordon E. Sawyer Award, presented as an Oscar statue.

Microphotographer Parks’ credits include “Alien,” “Superman” and numerous Imax films including the recent “Bugs.” In 1989, he formed Image Quest, soon followed by Image Quest 3-D. There, his inventions include Monax, a system that allows people to view three-dimensional images without wearing special glasses.

In addition to awarding these Oscars, the Acad’s board of governors will present four scientific and engineering awards and three technical achievement honors.

Recipients of the scientific and engineering award plaques are Kinoton, for the development of the Kinoton FP 30/38 EC II Studio Projector; and Eastman Kodak’s Kenneth Tingler, Charles Anderson, Diane Kestner and Brian Schell for creating a process-surviving antistatic layer technology for motion picture film.

Additional honorees include Christopher Alfred, Andrew Cannon, Michael Carlos, Mark Crabtree, Chuck Grindstaff and John Melanson for their innovations in digital audio editing for pic post-production; and Stephen Regelous for designing Massive, an animation system used to coordinate the behaviors of computer-generated extras in the battle sequences in “The Lord of the Rings” pics.

Other tech honorees

Technical achievement certificates will be presented to: Kish Sadhvani, Paul Duclos and Carl Pernicone for designing and engineering the Ultimate Director’s Viewfinder; Hendrik Wann Jensen, Stephen Marschner and Pat Hanrahan for their research presented in the paper “A Practical Model for Subsurface Light Transport”; and Christophe Hery, Ken McGaugh and Joe Letteri for revolutionary developments in creating realistic-looking skin on digitally generated characters for “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

Awards administrative director Rich Miller said that unlike other Academy Awards, achievements receiving sci-tech awards did not have to be developed and introduced during 2003. The only criteria are that they need to have a proven track record showcasing successful and repeated use in the film industry.

The 76th Oscarcast will be held Feb. 29 at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

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