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Scientific and Technical Achievement Honors and Oscars Announced

The first Oscars awards of the season have been decided as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced recipients of this years scientific and technical achievement awards to be presented at a gala black tie dinner on the evening of Feb. 14, 2004, at the Ritz Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, California.

Digidesign, a leading manufacturer of computer-based digital audio production systems, will receive an Oscar for the creation and development of the Pro Tools digital audio workstation.

Bill Tondreau of Kuper Controls will also receive an Oscar statuette for his significant advances with robotic camera systems, which resulted in motion control becoming an integral part of the field of visual effects.

The Gordon E. Sawyer Award will be given to Peter D. Parks for his lifetime of technological contributions to the industry. Parks credits include SUPERMAN and SATURN 3, plus he served as cinematographer on the 2003 3D doc BUGS!

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.

Unlike other Academy Awards, achievements receiving Scientific and Technical Awards do not have to have been developed and introduced during 2003. Devices for Sci-Tech Awards are only considered, "if they have a proven track record showcasing successful and repeated use in the film industry," according to awards administration director Rich Miller.

A Scientific and Engineering Award (Academy plaque) will go 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. Each "agent" contains a primitive software "brain" used to develop behavioral rules simulating a wide range of behaviors. In the trilogy, more than 200,000 agents were controlled in several scenes.

A Technical Achievement Award (Academy certificate) will go to for 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. Their 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.

A Technical Achievement Award also goes 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."

Other winners:


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

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.

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.


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).