The Television Academy on Thursday unveiled winners of the 73rd Engineering Emmy Awards, which honor the best in broadcast tech. Along with eight recipients of Emmy statues this year, the organization said Reed Hastings will receive the Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award and Dolby Laboratories the Philo T. Farnsworth Corporate Achievement Award.
Winners with innovations in everything from rendering and lighting systems to audio and script tools and even a wireless video transmission system that helped social distancing requirements on sets will be celebrated October 21 in a live ceremony at the JW Marriott Hotel at L.A. Live. Kirsten Vangsness will emcee for a sixth consecutive year.
Hastings is the co-founder and co-CEO of Netflix which previously won an Engineering Emmy in 2012. He is being honored with a lifetime award this year for “ongoing contributions” that have altered the state of engineering and technology in TV.
“The major patent portfolio that Netflix has developed, combined with the scale of service delivery, widespread market use of the services and the validation of an alternative business model for television distribution is changing the television industry in fundamental ways,” the Academy said. “With these and other innovations in the way television content is conceived, produced, packaged, distributed and marketed, Mr. Hastings has positioned Netflix to significantly alter and to continue to affect the state of television technology and engineering.”
Dolby Laboratories is receiving the Farnsworth award which goes to “an agency, company or institution whose contributions over time have substantially impacted television technology and engineering.”
Engineering Emmys are “presented to an individual, company or organization for engineering developments that considerably improve existing methods or innovations that materially affect the transmission, recording or reception of television. This year’s winners are:
Arnold Global Illumination Rendering System
Marcos Fajardo, Alan King, Thiago Ize
Arnold is a photo-realistic, stochastic, ray-tracing renderer widely used by visual effects and animation studios around the world. Taking an artist-friendly approach, Arnold faithfully simulates the light-transport equation at render time, without relying on problematic caching methods. Extensive scientific research, as well as algorithmic, system and low-level optimizations were required to reduce memory usage and render time. Its high-quality rendering and ease of use have resulted in its extensive use and popularity for television productions.
The ARRI SkyPanel is a family of ultra-bright LED soft lights. They are efficient, versatile lighting instruments with multiple control options. SkyPanels can generate accurate color temperatures between 2,800k and 10,000k with excellent color rendition over the entire range. Lighting directors can control all parameters including color, hue and saturation along with pre-programmed lighting effects. These fixtures have optimized the production lighting workflow and have been widely adopted throughout the television industry.
CEDAR Audio Ltd.
CEDAR Studio was developed specifically to meet the needs of audio professionals in the field of film and television post-production. Originally comprising four processes, it has grown to provide a wide range of tools for cleaning and restoring audio. These include the industry-standard dialogue noise suppressors as well as Retouch, the process that introduced spectral editing to the industry. CEDAR Studio allows users to eliminate a wide range of problems and provides unsurpassed results quickly and efficiently.
Golaem Crowd helps artists to populate television shows, films and game cinematics in minutes by procedurally animating thousands of characters with advanced behaviors in real-time and with complete artistic control. Golaem functions permit automatic navigation of characters, path planning and steering behaviors, including reactive collision avoidance, in order to create realistic human behaviors. These features have resulted in Golaem becoming a ubiquitous tool in computer-generated character generation across the television industry.
Massive is a pioneering software package that first gave artists the ability to simulate crowds using an artificial intelligence-based approach. It enables artistic control with a cost-effective means to simulate realistic crowd behavior in a flexible fashion by building semi-autonomous behavior via its node-based brain system. Massive has been used on many Emmy-winning shows and was the first package to make it possible to create large crowds at scale.
Steve Vitolo, Felipe A. Mendez P., Franco Zuccar
Scriptation automates the tedious process of transferring handwritten notes, annotations and verbal comments to a script and redistributing to all departments. Now all of the personal notes, annotations and diagrams carry over to new versions of the script and are redistributed automatically. Departments are now able to share their notes about the script with all other departments in one place, providing streamlined communications and better understanding of the overall script plan. Scriptation has become a popular application, adding efficiency through environmentally conscious workflows and clear communication in today’s production environment.
Teradek Bolt 4K
Nicolaas Verheem, Marius van der Watt, Dennis Scheftner, Zvi Reznic
Teradek Bolt 4K is a zero-delay, wireless video transmission system for on-set monitoring, offering high-quality wireless video integrated into the workflow. Bolt 4K has been critical in implementing changes needed to support social distancing protocols. Today, tens of thousands of Bolt transmitters and receivers are working in the entertainment industry—owned by camera operators, digital imaging technicians, drone pilots, production companies and rental houses—to efficiently service all television productions.
Chaos’ V-Ray is a physically based rendering and adaptive ray tracing solution used to create photo-realistic visual effects in episodic production since 2003. Optimized to handle large production scenes, V-Ray is used to render digital environments, digidoubles, creatures, vehicles and more in a highly efficient way. By accurately calculating global illumination and the distribution of light, as well as the physical properties of any material, the software ensures a seamless blend of real and virtual elements on screen.
The 73rd Engineering Emmy Awards are overseen by committee chair John Leverence and committee members Wendy Aylsworth; Stuart Bass, ACE; Bob Bronow, CAS; Jeff Calderon; Jim DeFilippis; Greg Gewickey; David Ginsberg; Frank Morrone, CAS; David Plakos; Jeffrey Riedmiller; Michael Ruscio; Leon Silverman; Derek Spears; David Stump, ASC; Craig Weiss; and Barry Zegel.