And the Oscar goes to...
Steve Hylén. In February, 2009 actress Jessica Biel hosted the 81st Annual Science and Technical Oscars, which honors the critical-yet-complicated side of movies most people just don't understand. That year the Technical Achievement Award went to Steve Hylén.
He plays with optics and changes the way movies are made. It all began in the 1960's, when the Swedish photographer Steve Hylén working in South Africa, was asked if he could add a painterly look to a photo of a Frans Hals painting. Always eager to experiment, Hylén squeezed a swatch of rice paper between the body and the film magazine of his Hasselblad camera. Thus fusing the image with the paper texture, he achieved a satisfactory result – though nearly ruining the camera.
Thirty years later, when Hylén was a director/cameraman residing in the USA, his interest in image manipulation was rekindled and subsequently led to the development of the HYLÉN SYSTEM, a system created for use in film cameras. Patented in 1997, it took nine years to perfect and now provides filmmakers with an entirely new way to creatively manipulate the image, in camera, in real time. A particularly fascinating feature is a selective focusing device, which – much like the eye – will fade out part of the image while focusing sharply on, say, a face.
The HYLÉN SYSTEM has been used in many recent films, such as World Trade Center, Atonement, Death Defying Act, Iron Man, The Incredible Hunk, Mamma Mia, Grindhouse, and Circus du Freak.
The Technical Achievement Award went to Steve Hylén for 'the concept and his continued leadership in the further development of the Hylén Lens System for motion picture effects photography. When attached to a film or digital production camera, this versatile aerial image device can produce a wide variety of optical effects interactively, on set and in real time without post-production image manipulation.'
The Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards honor the men, women and companies whose discoveries and innovations have contributed in significant, outstanding and lasting ways to motion pictures. Each year’s honorees are celebrated at a formal dinner held two weeks prior to the Oscar ceremony. The Sci-Tech Awards presentation has become a highlight of the Academy Awards season.
More info on the Hylén system: www.hylensystem.com