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Technology behind ‘Avatar,’ ‘Incredible Hulk’ honored by academy

January 5, 2012 |  1:19 pm


Some recent innovators of equipment that made films such as “Avatar” and “The Incredible Hulk” possible will be honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences next month. Six Scientific and Engineering Awards were announced Thursday:

John D. Lowry, Ian Cavén, Ian Godin, Kimball Thurston and Tim Connolly will receive the award for the development of a unique and efficient system for the reduction of noise and other artifacts, thereby providing high-quality images required by the filmmaking process. (The system was used on “Avatar,” “U2 3D,” “Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D.”)

E.F. “Bob” Nettmann will be recognized for the concept and system architecture, Michael Sayovitz for the electronic packaging and integration, Brad Fritzel for the electronic engineering, and Fred Miller for the mechanical engineering of the Stab-C Classic, Super-G and Stab-C Compact stabilizing heads. (Used on “The Incredible Hulk,” “Gamer,” “My Bloody Valentine 3-D.”)

Radu Corlan, Andy Jantzen, Petru Pop and Richard Toftness will be recognized for the design and engineering of the Phantom family of high-speed cameras for motion picture production. Phantom HD Gold was used in Bud Light, Sunbeam and Samsonite commercials.

Jürgen Noffke will be recognized for the optical design and Uwe Weber for the mechanical design of the ARRI Zeiss Master Prime Lenses for motion picture photography.

Michael Lewis, Greg Marsden, Raigo Alas and Michael Vellekoop will receive an award for the concept, design and implementation of the Pictorvision Eclipse, an electronically stabilized aerial camera platform. (Used in the 2011CBS Sports’ Masters Golf Tournament telecast.)

Fujifilm Corp., Hideyuki Shirai, Dr. Katsuhisa Oozeki and Hiroshi Hirano will receive an award for the design and development of the Fujifilm black and white recording film Eterna-RDS 4791 for use in the archival preservation of film and digital images.

In addition, a Technical Achievement Award will go to Andrew Clinton and Mark Elendt for inventing mico-voxels in the Mantra software, which improved rendering of volumetric effects such as smoke and clouds, the academy said. The creators of the Arrilaser Film Recorder, Franz Kraus, Johannes Steurer and Wolfgang Riedel, will also be honored with an Academy Award of Merit.

The awards will be presented at the academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards event at the Beverly Wilshire on Feb. 11.


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-– Emily Rome

 Photo: John D. Lowry will be among the honorees for the "Lowry Process," which was used to enhance images in James Cameron's 2009 blockbuster, "Avatar." Credit: WETA / 20th Century Fox.

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