ILM’s StageCraft and ARRI Among Engineering Emmy Awards Recipients

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Industrial Light and Magic’s StageCraft suite of virtual production tools and ARRI were among the recipients of this year’s Engineering, Science and Technology Emmy Awards.

The Television Academy on Thursday unveiled the 2022 recipients of the awards that honor an individual, company or organization for developments in broadcast technology. The lifetime achievement honor will be bestowed to Paul Debevec for his contributions to imaging and other technology that powers virtual production.

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“Innovation is a vital part of television production; and the talented engineers, scientists and technologists we have recognized are essential to the growth of our industry, said Frank Scherma, chairman and CEO of the Academy. “These pioneering companies and visionaries have leveraged the power of technology to elevate television and storytelling in fundamental ways.”

Added Committee Chair John Leverence, “Earlier this year the Academy formed the Science & Technology Peer Group representing members who are involved in the strategy and development of technologies that enable or advance the storytelling process for the television industry.” Leverence went on to say, “Under the leadership of the new peer group’s governors and co-chairs Wendy Aylsworth and Barry Zegel, this year’s newly constituted Engineering Emmy Awards Committee honors a wide range of innovative solutions to once seemingly intractable technical problems.”

Below is a list of awards and recipients.

The Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award  – Dr. Paul E. Debevec

Debevec will be awarded the 2022 Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award for his groundbreaking work in high dynamic range imaging, image-based lighting and photogrammetry, essential techniques used in computer graphics for VFX and Virtual Production.

Debevec’s pioneering work makes it possible to record and reproduce the light of real scenes to illuminate virtual scenes and vice versa.

High dynamic range imagery is a mainstay of computer graphics and combined with image-based lighting, has enabled realistic integration of existing live-action lighting in computer-rendered images. These tools and concepts are now a standard within the VFX industry for rendering. The concepts and the innovative use of LED lighting Paul pioneered with the Light Stage have further laid the groundwork for the use of LED lighting in virtual production, which has seen a rapid growth as a tool for lighting actors on virtual stages.

The Philo T. Farnsworth Corporate Achievement Award -ARRI

ARRI is awarded The Philo T. Farnsworth Corporate Achievement Award for its more than a century of designing and manufacturing camera and lighting systems as well as systemic technological solutions and service networks for a worldwide complex of film, broadcast and media industries.

Industry professionals have long relied on the stability and versatility of ARRI equipment in a portfolio that includes digital cameras, lenses, camera accessories, archive technologies, lamp heads and lighting accessories. Along with offering exclusive technologies, ARRI Rental’s services and equipment provide camera, lighting and grip packages to professional productions here and abroad.

Engineering Emmy recipients

Mark Hills and Marc Bakos for the Cleanfeed remote audio review/recording system

Cleanfeed is a high-fidelity “conference call” software as a service with a focus on audio production. It enables collaboration with audio-quality equivalent to all participants being together in the same studio and with low latencies for smooth interaction between talent. Cleanfeed’s innovative technology has advanced workflows in the industry, including being accessible to at-home engineers and talent who use a straightforward link in their web browser to enable full-scale TV and film post-production.

Disguise Systems Ltd. for the disguise platform

The disguise platform is an advancement in image processing that incorporates elements of video playback and real-time technology to improve interaction between computer graphic elements, digital images and environments, physical actors, props, and practical sets. The combination of the disguise platform with LED walls and camera tracking enables real lighting information on actors (and real objects), support for reflective and refractive props, more natural shot lineups, and a production environment where creative decisions can be made quickly and with improved collaboration. Utilizing real-time 3D visualization-based software and robust hardware, the tools in the disguise platform seamlessly integrate and direct an array of technologies including camera tracking and real-time content engines that incorporate analog physical space into a virtual digital world.

Industrial Light & Magic for the StageCraft virtual production tool suite

ILM StageCraft is an end-to-end virtual production tool suite that bridges the gap between practical physical production methodologies and traditional digital post-production visual effects by providing the ability to design, scout and light environments in advance of the shoot and then capture that vision in camera during principal photography. StageCraft brings together a real-time engine, a real-time renderer, high-quality color management, physical camera equipment, LED displays, motion-capture technologies, synchronization methodologies and tailored on-set user interfaces to digitally create the illusion of 3D backgrounds for live-action sets.

Geoffrey Crawshaw and William Brinkley for the Leostream remote access software

Leostream’s remote access and desktop connection management software enables news and entertainment organizations to create security-conscious remote production environments that are sustainable, performant and cost-effective. Its ability to mix and manage on-premises and cloud-based hosting platforms and support for multiple high-performance display protocols ensures the productivity of editors and production engineers, while simplifying IT. The ability to manage disparate technologies from a single management and access platform is a uniquely Leostream construct that enables organizations to advance the state of the art of their entire hosted desktop environment with an eye on integrating new technologies as they come to market.

Shure Incorporated for the Axient Digital wireless audio system

The Shure Axient® Digital Wireless System equips audio production teams with the wireless capabilities necessary to deliver transparent, true, artifact-free audio for television and television broadcasts with the highest-performance RF (radio frequency), exceptional audio quality, command and control, and hardware scalability necessary to tell stories seamlessly on the most demanding sets in the world.

Sohonet for the ClearView Pivot remote collaboration tool

Sohonet’s ClearView Pivot is a real-time remote collaboration tool with the flexibility to connect creative users at the click of a button, allowing the user to stream color and frame-accurate footage in 4K HDR, 12-bit color depth and 4:4:4 chroma sampling in real time with ultra-low latency. From a single web interface (and without having to set up new firewall configurations for each usage), ClearView is able to efficiently connect numerous participants for multi-point review sessions.

Stype Cajic, Andrija Cajic, Daniel Kruselj and Ivica Antolkovic for the stYpe suite of optical/camera tracking tools

The stYpe suite of optical/tracking tools includes the first bolt-on mechanical tracking kit for camera cranes (StypeKit) that was used to retrofit existing cranes and transform them to virtual production cranes (complete with lens data delivered to an ethernet interface), resulting in the simplification of setup procedures and implementation of lens calibration procedures that eliminated graphics drift and, with the introduction of auto-aiming functionality, made VR shots smoother. Additionally, its optical-camera tracking system (RedSpy) produces a point cloud marker system used to calculate the position of the camera, which, in conjunction with StypeKit’s crane tracking, satisfies the most demanding needs of live productions.

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