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Render farm management system, AI-driven facial veiling tech among Sci-Tech Oscar winners

The annual awards recognise inventors and engineers who have advanced the art and science of motion pictures

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has revealed the eight winners of this year’s Scientific and Technical Awards.

The annual awards recognise inventors and engineers who have advanced the art and science of motion pictures.

“Their efforts have not only served to enrich the art form but inspire a global industry to engineer, create, change, and push the boundaries of our craft,” said Barbara Ford Grant, chair of the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee

“This year we honour achievements spanning accomplishments from pioneering methods in practical rain effects to career-long contributions in optical design for cinematography to humanistic-driven AI techniques. This outstanding work has enabled new and exciting ways of creating and further expanding how we experience motion pictures.”

The winners are:

Howard Jensen and Danny Cangemi for the concept and creation, and to John Frazier for the development of the 60- and 100-foot Rain Bars.

Mark Hills and Jim Vanns for the design and engineering of the FQ render farm management system.

Matt Chambers for his contributions to modern render farm management system design as exemplified in the scheduling architectures of Cue3 and Plow.

Sébastien Deguy and Christophe Soum for the concept and original implementation of Substance Engine, and Sylvain Paris and Nicolas Wirrmann for the design and engineering of Substance Designer.

David Eberle, Theodore Kim, Fernando de Goes and Audrey Wong for the design and development of the Fizt2 elastic simulation system.

Larry Barton for the pioneering design, development and engineering, and to Ben Wilcox for the electronic engineering and software development, of the Cinematography Electronics CineTape.

Howard Preston for the concept, design and engineering, and to Bernie Butler-Smith for the design and implementation of electronic circuitry and software, of the Preston Cinema Systems Light Ranger 2.

Ryan Laney for his innovative adaptation and deployment of AI-driven facial veiling technology used to protect the identities while preserving the visual relatability of subjects in documentary filmmaking as exemplified in Welcome to Chechnya (2020).

Iain Neil for his substantial, extensive and innovative lens designs which have had lasting impact in motion picture cinematography.

The Scientific and Technical Awards presentation takes place on Friday, February 24th.