Subjects like rapid prototyping, 3-D texture painting and the intricacies of digital media review systems became comic material Saturday for Olivia Munn and Jason Segel, hosts of the film academy's Scientific and Technical Awards. Or at least they tried their best.
With enthusiastic explanations laden with high-tech lingo, the two actors brought levity to the annual ceremony honoring the inventors, engineers and technicians behind advances in filmmaking technology. Segel called them "the magicians who can bring (creative) visions to life."
Representing the "science" part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the work of the 11 groups recognized during the untelevised dinner celebration at the Beverly Wilshire hotel is highly specialized — mostly tools for viewing, sharing and manipulating digital media — but it has contributed to countless hit films.
Here's a look at some of the films that benefited from the inventions recognized at the Sci-Tech Awards.
- "The Avengers": The Marvel superhero smash is one of many action films to make use of the Aircover Inflatables Airwall, a giant, inflatable panel that becomes an instant green-screen for special effects.
- "Guardians of the Galaxy": The many artists on this film used Sony Pictures Imageworks Itview, a media review system, to share working footage globally.
- "Kung Fu Panda": Hit DreamWorks Animation franchises such as "Shrek" and "Kung Fu Panda" benefited from a proprietary media playback system recognized Saturday.
- "Django Unchained": Quentin Tarantino's film relied on the Rhythm & Hues Global DRR System, another media-review platform.
- "Saving Private Ryan": Shaky scenes in Steven Spielberg's 1998 film relied on the award-winning optical system called the Image Shaker.
- "Avatar": The academy also recognized the design and engineering of the MARI 3-D texture painting system, a super high-resolution drawing and painting program developed for "Avatar."
- "Star Wars: The Force Awakens": The Industrial Light and Magic Geometry Tracker, a tracking system that links an actor's performance with animation, was used to create Lupita Nyong'o's character, Maz Kanata.
- "Anomalisa": This stop-motion film, nominated for best animated feature Oscar, makes use of Laika's rapid prototyping techniques, which use 3-D printers with color-uniform results to create interchangeable faces and expressions for the puppets used in stop-motion animation.
Other honorees were Dolby Laboratories' PRM Series Reference Color Monitors and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, which received a special award in honor of its 100th anniversary. Portions of the Sci-Tech Awards will be included in the Feb. 28 Academy Awards telecast.