The Academy announced eight scientific and technical achievements represented by 19 individual award recipients will be honoured at its first in-person annual Scientific and Technical Awards in four years on February 24.
The ceremony at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will also see Iain Neil receive the Gordon E. Sawyer Award (an Oscar statuette) for “his extraordinary technological contributions that have brought credit to the industry”.
The Academy Awards for scientific and technical achievements appear below. All synopses adapted from Academy wording:
Technical Achievement Awards (Academy Certificates)
To Howard Jensen and Danny Cangemi for the concept and creation, and to John Frazier for the development of the 60- and 100-foot Rain Bars, which provide a portable system for the creation of realistic, large-scale, adjustable, practical rain for film. FQ continues to support Framestore’s growth in computational complexity.
To Matt Chambers and Jim Vanns, for their contributions to modern render farm management system design. FQ continues to support growth in computational complexity at Framestore.
To Matt Chambers for his contributions to modern render farm management system design as exemplified in the scheduling architectures of Cue3 and Plow.
These design contributions have resulted in robust, versatile, extensible and highly scalable render farm management systems that have supported substantial growth in computational complexity at Sony Pictures Imageworks and Weta Digital.
To Sebastien Deguy and Christophe Soum for the concept and original implementation of Substance Engine, and to Sylvain Paris and Nicolas Wirrmann for the design and engineering of Substance Designer. Adobe Substance 3D Designer gives artists a flexible and efficient workflow for creating complex textures using art-directable pattern generators. Sylvain Paris and Nicolas Wirrmann also contributed to the design and engineering of Substance Designer. This elastic simulation system provides a high-performance solution with novel and stable implicit Physics and robust collision detection. The system enables artist workflows to apply soft-body dynamics to a broad range of interacting animated characters and objects.
Scientific And Engineering Awards (Academy Plaques)
To Larry Barton for the pioneering design, development and engineering, and to Ben Wilcox for the electronic engineering and software development, of the Cinematography Electronics CineTape. The distance measurement system provides focus-pullers continuous, accurate, real time distance information to the subject at the camera or remotely.
To Howard Preston, for the concept, design, and engineering. Bernie Butler-Smith, for the design, implementation, and maintenance of electronic circuitry, of the Preston Cinema Systems Light Ranger. The system continuously tracks subjects in 16 zones, providing precise and real-time information about their focus distance. The distance and depth of field indicators are superimposed on the camera image, enabling the focus-puller to intuitively judge focus in formerly impossible and extremely challenging situations.
Award Of Commendation (Special Plaque)
To Ryan Laney for his innovative adaptation and deployment of AI-driven facial veiling technology used to protect the identities while preserving the visual relatability of subjects in documentary filmmaking as exemplified in Welcome to Chechnya (2020).
Gordon E. Sawyer Award (Oscar Statuette)
To Iain Neil for his substantial, extensive and innovative lens designs which have had lasting impact in motion picture cinematography.
“Since 1931, the Academy has recognised the most important innovations in filmmaking; inventors and engineers have been advancing the art and science of motion pictures ever since,” said Barbara Ford Grant, chair of the scientific and technical awards committee. “Their efforts have not only served to enrich the art form but inspire a global industry to engineer, create, change, and push the boundaries of our craft.”
Unlike other Academy Awards, achievements in Scientific and Technical Awards need not have been developed and introduced during a specified period of time; rather they must demonstrate a proven record of contributing significant value to the process of making motion pictures.
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