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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards

This weekend, we may have had the BAFTAs over in London, and the Grammys in Los Angeles, but relatively quietly across town in at the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Beverly Hills, the annual Scientific and Technical Awards are given out.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented nine scientific and technical achievement awards to 27 individual award recipients.  Now although they don’t come immediately away with a little gold man, I have held in my hands a few of these statues from SciTech recipients in the past.  They are handed out, in addition to the plaques.

British cinematographer Curtis Clark ASC also received the John A. Bonner Award for his extraordinary service to the motion picture industry. His career includes work with Peter Greenaway on The Draughtsman’s Contract, and later he worked on Alamo Bay. Yet, crucially, he has been chair of the ASC’s Technology committee since 2002.

“Each year, the Academy forms a diverse committee made up of nearly 60 experts on the technology of filmmaking tasked with examining the tools that artists use to create films,” said Doug Roble, chair of the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee. “This year, the committee is recognising nine technologies from around the world. These extraordinary contributions to the science of filmmaking have elevated our art form to incredible new heights.”
“We take pains to not award the tech of the moment, but the technology that has had a lasting impact on the film industry,” he added.

Eric Dachs, Erik Bielefeldt, Craig Wood and Paul McReynolds for the design and development of the PIX System’s novel security mechanism for distributing media for the remotely collaborative dailies-review system.

Per-Anders Edwards for the initial design and development of the MoGraph toolset in Cinema 4D for motion graphics.

Paul Thomas Miller for the software design, principal engineering and continued innovation, and to Marco Paolini for the efficient, artist-friendly workflow design of the Silhouette rotoscope and paint system.

Paul Debevec, Timothy Hawkins and Wan-Chun Ma for the invention of the Polarized Spherical Gradient Illumination facial appearance capture method, and to Xueming Yu for the design and engineering of the Light Stage X capture system.

Thabo Beeler, Derek Bradley, Bernd Bickel and Markus Gross for the Medusa Performance Capture System.

Charles Teorell Loop for his influential research on the fundamental scientific properties of subdivision surfaces as 3D geometric modeling primitives.

Academy plaques were awarded to David Simons, Daniel Wilk, James Acquavella, Michael Natkin and David M. Cotter for the design and development of the Adobe After Effects software.

Thomas Knoll and John Knoll were given Academy plaques for the original architecture, design and development of Adobe Photoshop, as was Mark Hamburg, for his continued engineering work on the software.

Ed Catmull was awarded for the original concept of subdivision surfaces, and Tony DeRose and Jos Stam for their pioneering advancement of the underlying science of subdivision surfaces as 3D geometric modeling primitives.

Their creation of essential geometric operations and sustained research on the fundamental mathematics of subdivision surfaces helped transform the way digital artists represent 3D geometry throughout the motion picture industry.
“The reason we celebrate is because someone had a story to tell. That is the art. And telling that story required tools. That is the science.” – David Oyelowo

The (other) 91st Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood.

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Related links:

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Written by Paul Hellard

Freelance journalist. Also videographer, photographer, cyclist and lover of all things sustainable, creative and digital.

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