West Coast Emmy Engineering Awards announced

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in Los Angeles has announced the recipients of the 61st Primetime Emmy Engineering Awards. The winners include Litepanels, Fujinon, Dolby and Henson Digital Puppetry Studios.

The honorees will receive their awards during the Engineering Awards ceremony on Saturday, Aug.22, at the Renaissance Hotel in Los Angeles. The awards are presented to an individual, company, or organization for engineering developments so extensive an improvement on existing methods or so innovative in nature that they materially affect the transmission, recording or reception of television.

This year, four Emmys will be awarded. An Emmy will go to Litepanels for low-voltage, low-wattage, energy efficient, LED lighting fixtures used for film and video production. This is the first Emmy in the Academy’s 61-year history to be awarded for television lighting technology.

An Emmy will also go to Fujinon Precision Focus Assist (Fujinon and NHK), which enables camera operators the ability to ensure fast accurate focusing of HD images under varying conditions.

Developed in 2001, its development stemmed from the format’s shallow depth of focus and the lack of size and resolution in camera viewfinders. It is not an auto focus system, but a focus assist that can be operated in momentary or automatic modes to precisely adjust the lens for optimum focus. It is now in its third generation.

Also receiving an Emmy will be the Dolby DP600 Program Optimizer, an audio platform that provides a file-based automated workflow solution for faster-than-real-time encoding, decoding, conversion, transcoding, loudness correction, audio creation and upmixing.

The fourth award goes to Henson Digital Puppetry Studio (The Jim Henson Company) for an animation system that allows performers to puppeteer and voice digital characters in real time on a sound stage setting with multiple virtual cameras and a real-time viewer. The system is said to generate a high yield per minute and cuts both animation time and costs exponentially.

An Engineering Plaque will also be awarded to Grip Trix Electric Motorized Camera Dolly, maker of a special equipment camera dolly that’s virtually silent and adaptable to accommodate just about any moving camera shot. The Emmy committee said it is not a “consolation” prize, but a positive recognition of engineering achievements on a different level of technology and industry importance than the Emmy.

The Philo T. Farnsworth Award will be given to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), commemorating the 40th anniversary of the technological innovations that made possible the first live broadcast from the lunar surface by the crew of Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969.

The Farnsworth Award honors an agency, company or institution whose contributions over a long period of time have significantly affected the state of television technology and engineering.

Stephen Jones, chair, and Philip Angerhofer, vice-chair, of the Technology and Convergence Committee, oversee the 61st Primetime Emmy Engineering Awards. Members of the committee are Stuart Bass, Russell Calabrese, Brian Seth Hurst, Geoff Katz, Don McCuaig, John Nachreiner, John O’Brien, Michael Olman, Lowell Peterson, Jason Rosenfield, Brian Sheesley, Cristy Trembly and Steven Venezia.