by Mark Rabinowitz
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced the
1997 Scientific and Technical Awards last week, awarding 10
certificates, 9 plaques and one Oscar statuette to those whose "devices,
methods, formulas, discoveries or inventions" provide "special and
outstanding value to the arts and sciences of motion pictures",
according to an AMPAS release. The awards are voted on by the Academy's
Board of Governors based upon recommendations from the Scientific and
nical Awards Committee, chaired by Edmund M. DiGiulio.
The Oscar statuette was awarded to Gunnar P. Michelson for "the
engineering and development of an improved electronic, high-speed,
precision light valve for use in motion picture printing machines."
Among others, Scientific and Engineering Awards (Academy Plaques) were
given to Dominique Boisvert, Rejean Gagne, Daniel Langlois and Richard
Laperriere for the development of the "Actor" animation component of the
Softimage computer animation system and to Joel Johnson of the O'Connor
Laboratories for the design improvement in that company's Model 2575
spring counter-balanced fluid head, the first to allow a camera to be
tilted through a full 180 degree arc. This balances the camera package
at all tilt angles, therefor allowing it to stay where it is positioned
without springing back towards the center.
[The awards will be presented on February 28, 1998 at the Regent Beverly
Wilshire Hotel. More information about the AMPAS and the Academy Awards
can be found on their web site at: www.oscar.org and