Magazine article American Cinematographer

Scientific or Technical Awards

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Scientific or Technical Awards

Article excerpt

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes technical and scientific achievements within the film industry every year.

Recognizing the value of discovery and innovation toward the advancement of technique, an Academy committee headed by Joseph Westheimer, ASC, carefully examines many new processes, devices and systems. This group sees demonstrations of each "candidate and from these considerations, Oscar plaques are awarded:

Larry Barton, designer of the precision speed crystal-controlled device which enabled a film camera to synchronize to a computer or TV monitor without special cabling, was awarded a plaque.

The precision speed control governs exposure rates from one frameper second to 50 fps in .001 frame increments. The device makes it possible to synchronize the film camera to the scan rate of electronic monitors and can also be applied to accommodate phasing problems in order to eliminate flicker.

Barton has had 17 years experience as an engineer in the industry. He established Cinematography Electronics, Inc., in 1976 and is credited with many innovative designs including 16SR speed control, HMI and TV crystal control, remote camera controls and stabilized camera mounts.

Harrison & Harrison, optical engineers, have been honored for the invention and development of Harrison diffusion filters for motion picture photography. A longtime Hollywood establishment, the company moved to Porterville, California several years ago, where it continues to produce filters under the leadership of Hank Harrison.

Harrison diffusion filters combine a transparent plate which has a pitted surface, with a light-transmissive material of neutral density. This efficiently eliminates halation and veiling. The photographed image is thus enhanced with a controllable amount of diffusion, extending the range of textures available to cinematographers.

Alan Landaker, who previously shared an Oscar plaque for engineering a 24-frame color video system, was awarded a new prize for the 1984 Mark III camera drive.

Landaker, who is employed by The Burbank Studios, began his career in the motion picture industry in 1965. Upon returning from service in Vietnam, he resumed his career at 20th Century Fox and subsequently at Columbia Pictures. He is now employed by the Burbank Studios as chief engineer and assistant sound director.

The Mark III camera drive permits synchronization and phasing of motion picture cameras with computers, television monitors, other cameras and sound recording equipment. Cameras can also be operated manually for offspeed special effects or phase-locked with process projection equipment, eliminating the need for distributors, special motors and associated cables.

A scientific and engineering award was made to Imax Systems Corporation for a method of filming and exhibiting high fidelity, large format, wide angle motion pictures.

Integral to the process for presenting cinema programs in the Imax or Omnimax format is the rolling loop projector, developed from a film transport mechanism and originally invented by Peter R.W. Jones. Improvements made on that patent by the Imax Systems Corporation and the development of other peripheral equipment, made possible the high-speed, horizontal projection of 70mm pictures, 15 perforations per frame, onto screens of unusually large proportions in theaters designed to specifications for optimum viewing of those motion pictures.

Currently playing at Toronto's Ontario Place Cinesphere in Canada, two feature length films about America's space shuttle program are being shown in the Imax format. …

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