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Tim Tyler

Kodak Cineon Digital Film System

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Five Scientists Earn Kudos for Developing Kodak Hybrid Technology

 

Lindsay Arnold, Guy Griffiths, David

Hodson, Charlie Lawrence and David Mann will receive a Scientific and

Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences here on

February 12 for their role in developing the KODAK Cineon Digital Film

Workstation.

 

The workstation and integrated software were key components of the Cineon

Digital Film System that Kodak introduced in 1992. The system included a

high-resolution film scanner and recorder. The scanner converted analog

images recorded on film into digital files that could be manipulated at

workstations. The recorder was used to transfer the digital picture files

back onto film without compromising image quality.

 

"It was a revolutionary concept that drew on decades of proprietary KODAK

Color Science, film and hybrid imaging technologies," says Richard Sehlin,

chief technology officer for Kodak's Entertainment Imaging Division. "The

success of this ambitious endeavor required ingenuity, teamwork and the total

dedication of these five outstanding scientists."

 

Sehlin notes that Kodak announced in 1989 that the company was developing

a digital film system for the motion picture industry. Over the next several

years, many cinematographers, visual effects artists and other professionals

in the postproduction industry participated in focus groups, workshops and

other discussions that helped to define parameters for designing the Cineon

workstation and digital film system. Key features included resolution-independent digital film scanning and recording technologies,

scaleable workstations designed for use in a collaborative environment, and

open systems software that enabled third parties to develop specialized

applications.

 

Kodak opened a digital film center to test the new technology in Burbank,

California, in September 1992. One of the first major applications was the

restoration of the 1937 Walt Disney animated feature SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN

DWARFS. Visual effects practitioners quickly embraced the hybrid technology

because it made it practical and possible for them to create illusions that

were previously beyond their grasp.

 

These former Kodak scientists accurately predicted that the hybrid system

would also become a commonplace tool for film restoration, and that in the

foreseeable future, digital intermediate technology would be used to produce

entire motion pictures.

 

"Looking back, that seemed like an impossible dream to many people,"

Sehlin comments. "However, this team of scientists had a clear vision of the

future. They envisioned how the convergence of advances in emulsion and

hybrid technologies would expand the vocabulary of filmmakers. They deserve

this recognition because their work made a profound impact on the art and

craft of filmmaking. Kodak remains dedicated to our commitment to exploring

new frontiers."

 

Although Kodak exited the Cineon hardware/software business in 1997, the

technology remains the foundation for many digital image processing systems in

the motion picture industry today. Additionally, the fundamental imaging

science architecture created by this team of scientists is still the

foundation in many of Kodak's current hybrid products.

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