Academy announces winners for their Scientific and Technical Awards

Jan 13, 2004 by Ian Evans

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the scientific and technical achievement awards that will be handed out on February 14th.

Two Oscar® statuettes and a Gordon E. Sawyer Award, also an Oscar statuette, will be among the awards to be presented to the folks behind the movie magic.

The Gordon E. Sawyer Award will be given to Peter D. Parks for his lifetime of technological contributions to the industry.

The Academy’s Board of Governors voted to award the Oscars, as well as four Scientific and Engineering Awards, which will be presented in the form of plaques, and three Technical Achievement Awards, to be presented as certificates, based upon recommendations from the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee, chaired by Richard Edlund.

Awards Administration Director Rich Miller said that, unlike other Academy Awards, achievements receiving Scientific and Technical Awards do not have to have been developed and introduced during 2003. Devices considered for Sci-Tech Awards are only considered “if they have a proven track record showcasing successful and repeated use in the film industry,” Miller said.

The Scientific and Technical Academy Awards will be presented at a gala black tie dinner on Saturday evening, February 14, at the Ritz Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena.

Academy Awards for Scientific and Technical achievements for the year 2003 are:


  • To Digidesign for the design, development and implementation of the Pro Tools digital audio workstation.

“The efficient algorithms, extensible architecture and intuitive interface have enabled Pro Tools to become the worldwide standard for the creation and editing of motion picture soundtracks.”

  • To Bill Tondreau of Kuper Controls for his significant advancements in the field of motion control technology for motion picture visual effects.

“Measuring his valuable contributions to the invention and implementation of robotic camera systems in decades rather than years, his efforts have aided motion control in becoming a core technology that has supported the renaissance of visual effects.”


  • To Kinoton GmbH for the engineering and development of the Kinoton FP 30/38 EC II Studio Projector.

“This high-speed studio projector produces an image quality equal to projectors with Geneva movements. With its unparalled shuttle speed, reversibility and acceleration this projector has set a new standard for post-production viewing as well as in traditional screening facilities.”

  • To Kenneth L. Tingler, Charles C. Anderson, Diane E. Kestner, and Brian A. Schell of the Eastman Kodak Company, for the successful development of a process-surviving antistatic layer technology for motion picture film.

“This technology successfully controls the static charge buildup on processed intermediate and sound negative films during high-speed printing operations.”

  • To Christopher Alfred, Andrew Cannon, Michael C. Carlos, Mark Crabtree, Chuck Grindstaff, and John Melanson for their significant contributions to the evolution of digital audio editing for motion picture post production.

“Through their respective pioneering efforts with AMS AudioFile, Waveframe and Fairlight, their work contributed significantly to the development and realization of digital audio workstations with full editing capabilities for motion picture soundtracks.”

  • To Stephen Regelous for the design and development of “Massive,” the autonomous agent animation system used for the battle sequences in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

“Massive takes a new approach in simulating behaviors of large numbers of computer generated extras (a.k.a.) “agents.” Each “agent” contains a primitive software “brain” used to develop behavioral rules simulating a wide range of behaviors. In “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy,over 200,000 agents were controlled in several scenes.”


  • To Kish Sadhvani for the concept and optical design, Paul Duclos for the practical realization and production engineering and Carl Pernicone for the mechanical design and engineering of the portable cine viewfinder system known as the Ultimate Director’s Finder (UDF).

“This versatile, modular and widely accepted cine viewfinder system is capable of properly displaying images in multiple formats ranging from 35mm anamorphic to super 16.”

  • To Henrik Wann Jensen, Stephen R. Marschner and Pat Hanrahan for their pioneering research in simulating subsurface scattering of light in translucent materials as presented in their paper “A Practical Model for Subsurface Light Transport.”

“This mathematical model contributed substantially to the development and implementation of practical techniques for simulating subsurface scattering of light in translucent materials for computer-generated images in motion pictures.”

  • To Christophe Hery, Ken McGaugh and Joe Letteri for their groundbreaking implementations of practical methods for rendering skin and other translucent materials using subsurface scattering techniques.

“These groundbreaking techniques were used to create realistic-looking skin on digitally created characters.”