Meeting Report - Mar 21, 2006

The March 21st meeting of the Hollywood Section was held at the Linwood Dunn Theater, with the theme of “Innovations and Inventions”.  Included in the program were two of the winners of 2005 Scientific and Technical Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts &Sciences.

The pre-show reception had pizza, salad, and desserts provided by Film Technology Co., Inc. and Chace Productions.  About 100 people were in attendance.

The program opened with greetings from chair Patricia Keighley.  She was followed by membership chair Beverly Pasterczyk, announcing that there were 25 new members in the last few months.  Past chair David Wiswell reminded members about the upcoming election, and introduced several of the candidates who were present.  Ralph Sargent, Hollywood Section manager, then took over to introduce the speakers.

The first presenter was Scott Leva, who was honored by the Academy for the design and development of the Precision Stunt Airbag for motion picture stunt falls.  Mr. Leva told the audience that after many years as a stunt man, the death of two of his co-workers in falls inspired him to design an air bag that enveloped the performer, preventing bouncing out of the bag.  He ran a short video showing himself making jumps from as high as 150 feet.  This presentation was a fascinating change from our  usual technical material.  

The second presenters were Bob Heiber, president of Chace Productions, and Jamie Howarth of Plangent Processes.  They have developed a system to eliminate wow and flutter from magnetic recordings where the base material was warped or shrunken.  Details were projected on screen, together with audio examples which were played through the Dunn Theater’s exemplary sound system.  

Also honored by the Academy was Technicolor, for their Real Time Answer Print System.  Technicolor was represented by Bob Olson, vice-president of operations, who made a PowerPoint presentation describing the procedure.  This system allows a print to be projected on a unit containing printer light sources.  Changes to color and density can be viewed, and changed in almost any manner wanted by the film makers.  These changes are translated into printer light changes.  This generally cuts in half the number of prints needed to arrive at the desired quality.  Following Bob’s talk, Tim Reynolds and Harold Rattray, both of whom were part of the development team, answered questions from the audience.  

The final presenter was Ralph Sargent of Film Technology Co., Inc., with a variable contrast printing system currently in development.  He described the need for this process in archival restoration, often due to older poorly made source film s.  Examples of the results were shown with a 35mm black and white reel of samples.