Magazine article American Cinematographer

Academy Rewards Scientific, Tech Advances

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Academy Rewards Scientific, Tech Advances

Article excerpt

Gordon Henry Cook, formerly chief lens designer of the British firm Rank Taylor Hobson, was awarded the prestigious Gordon E. Sawyer award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at its annual dinner in Beverly Hills on March 19. The award, which has never before been captured outside the United States, is made to "an individual whose technological contributions have brought credit to the film industry."

Cook, who retired in 1981, is known internationally for his contributions to advancements in zoom lens design for cinematography. He was the chief lens designer during the period that the Cooke Speed Panchro Series II fixed focal length and varotal zoom lenses were designed.

The Speed Panchro lenses, introduced in the midfifties, were the principal lenses used to photograph three out of the last four pictures to win the Academy Award for cinematography. The Cooke Varotal zoom lenses have been used on virtually every major motion picture photographed since their inception.

Since 1930, the Academy has annually recognized the devices, formulas, discoveries or inventions of special and outstanding value to the motion picture industry. These scientific and technical awards are made by the board of governors, upon the recommendation of a special committee made up of outstanding members of the motion picture technical fields. The committee is appointed annually by the Academy president. In 1981, the Gordon E. Sawyer Award was instituted to acknowledge long term accomplishments by individuals. The award is named in commemoration of the veteran sound director of Samuel Goldwyn Studios. Cook is the sixth recipient of the honor.

Awards for Scientific or Technical Achievement may be granted in any of three classifications: Academy Award of Merit, and Academy statuette given for basic achievements which have a definite influence on the advancement of the industry; Scientific and Engineering Award, an Academy plaque given for those achievements which exhibit a high level of engineering and are important to the progress of the industry; and the Technical Achievement Award, an Academy certificate for those accomplishments which contribute to the progress of the industry.

Named for Technical Achievement Awards were:

Alan Gordon Enterprises Inc. for the design concept, and Geoffrey H. Williamson of Wilcam for the mechanical and electrical engineering, of the Image 300 35mm high-speed motion picture camera.

The Image 300 incorporates a spinning mirror reflex system, allowing for both optical viewing and video interlock, making an existing high-speed instrumentation camera a practical tool for professional cinematography. The design incorporates frame-byframe registration and steadiness, acceptable for intercutting and multiple pass special effects photography.

Michael V. Chewey III, for the development of the first paper tape reader incorporating microprocessor technology for motion pictures, at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Laboratories.

Chewey's work in the electronic engineering department of MGM Labs resulted in the first paper tape reader to utilize microprocessor-based technology. These first readers were applied to the Oxberry printers in the studio's optical department, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing the possibility for error.

BHP, Inc., successor to the Bell and Howell Professional Equipment division, and Hollywood Film Company, for the development of high-speed readers incorporating microprocessor technology for motion picture laboratories.

The pioneering efforts of BHP and Hollywood Film Company merged computer efficiency with printer reader functions, resulting in significant improvements in the productivity and quality of the printing process. The new process provides memory and error checking features that were not previously available with paper tapes and manual controls.

Bruce W. Keller and Manfred Michelson of Technical Film Systems for the design and development of a high-speed light valve controller and constant current power supply for motion picture laboratories. …

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