Kodak scientists recognized for contributions to motion picture industry

SMPTE awards Kodak technologist Drake Michno its highest honor

HOLLYWOOD, California, Oct. 22, 2009: Three Kodak technologists will be honored next week for significant imaging innovations that have helped to advance the entertainment industry.   

The Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE) will recognize the achievements of the three Kodak technologists – Drake Michno, Richard Wheeler and Nestor Rodriguez – at its annual Honors and Awards Ceremony, to be held Oct. 27 -29 in Hollywood, California.  SMPTE is the industry’s leading society for the promotion of new technology and innovation in visual entertainment. 

“I am always thrilled when an esteemed industry organization such as SMPTE recognizes the excellence of Kodak’s technical community,” said Gary Einhaus, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Kodak’s motion picture division. “Through the years Kodak technologists have collaborated with our customers to bring great innovations to the motion picture industry – including color film, sound, and digital intermediate systems.  We have continually improved the quality of our products to create a rich and flexible palette for our customers to use to tell their stories.” 

The awards are as follows:

  • Drake Michno, research fellow for Kodak’s motion picture Media Design Division, will receive one of the Society’s highest honors: the Technicolor/Herbert T. Kalmus Gold Medal.  This distinguished technical award, which dates back to 1956, recognizes Michno for his work on the creation of advanced silver halide based imaging elements used for image capture in the Motion Picture and Television Industry. Spanning a 32-year tenure at Kodak, Drake’s participation has resulted in several novel Camera Origination films which have received both Oscar and Emmy Technical Awards.  Michno’s research also directly supported the creation and launch of Kodak’s VISION3 line of motion picture camera negative films, a new technology platform that allows film emulsions to process light more effectively and record greater detail in the highlights. An author of 23 separate patents, Michno is currently engaged in design and integration efforts directed toward increasing the performance and utility of future generations of Eastman Color Negative Films. 

“To be selected as this year’s recipient of the Technicolor/Herbert T. Kalmus Award from SMPTE – a dynamic and critical component of the Entertainment Industry – is an exceptional honor,” said Michno. “However the efforts acknowledged by this Award would not have been possible without the participation of many dedicated colleagues, past and present, whose contributions were essential to the success of these endeavors.”

  • Kodak’s Nestor Rodriguez, senior technical associate, and Richard B. Wheeler, senior principal scientist, recipients of last year’s SMPTE Journal Award, will again be awarded a SMPTE Journal Certificate of Merit in recognition of their most recent article titled “Integrated Calibration and Management of Color, Tone, and Image Structure in a Digital Intermediate System.”   This piece describes a system and method for automatically creating calibration functions that convert color, tone, and image structure into a common exchange space, providing features that allow the user to accurately preserve the imaging attributes of existing motion picture film images or to create custom renderings that are faithfully reproduced when the images are displayed on film or digital devices.

Nestor Rodriguez’s most recent work in Eastman Kodak’s Entertainment Division R&D group has been to lead several technical teams in developing new digital product technology and workflows for motion picture and TV related to both film and digitally originated images.  Richard B. Wheeler is also with Eastman Kodak’s Entertainment Division R&D group where his current work is focused on optimizing the design of digital intermediate systems and digital workflows for motion picture and television applications.

“While technology, innovation and marketplace dynamics continue to evolve at an ever-increasing rate of speed, some things will never change,” said Einhaus.  “From our customers’ perspective, the motion picture business will always be about telling stories in which the technology is transparent, where the technology works behind the scene to enable the filmmakers' creativity.  That’s where Kodak scientists continuously strive to serve this industry – by providing the best solutions across the evolving workflow and helping those technologies work seamlessly together in order to bring a filmmaker’s vision to the screen, more faithfully, efficiently, and at the highest levels of performance.”