Computer Graphics Innovator Paul Debevec to Receive Emmy for Lifetime Achievement

Computer graphics and virtual production innovator Paul E. Debevec will receive the Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award during the Television Academy’s 74th Engineering, Science & Technology Emmy Awards.

Also during the Sept. 28 ceremony, camera maker ARRI will be honored with the Philo T. Farnsworth Corporate Achievement Award, and seven innovations will be recognized with Engineering Emmys.

The Engineering Emmys will be awarded to developments in areas including virtual production, remote collaboration and audio. That includes Industrial Light & Magic for its StageCraft virtual production tools, which have been used on series including The Mandalorian.

Sohonet will receive an Engineering Emmy for its ClearView Pivot remote collaboration tool. Additional honorees are Disguise Systems, for the disguise platform that enables interaction between CG and practical elements and environments, including use with LED walls; Geoffrey Crawshaw and William Brinkley, for the Leostream remote access software; Shure for the Axien digital wireless audio system; and Stype Cajic, Andrija Cajic, Daniel Kruselj and Ivica Antolkovic for the Stype camera tracking tools.

Debevec is recognized for his work in high dynamic range imaging, image-based lighting and photogrammetry — all techniques used in computer graphics for VFX and virtual production. “Debevec’s pioneering work makes it possible to record and reproduce the light of real scenes to illuminate virtual scenes and vice versa,” reads Thursday’s announcement from the Television Academy. “HDR imagery is a mainstay of computer graphics and combined with image-based lighting, has enabled realistic integration of existing live-action lighting in computer-rendered images. These tools and concepts are now a standard within the VFX industry for rendering.”

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The announcement additionally states that his work with LED lighting “further laid the groundwork” for its use in virtual production, “which has seen a rapid growth as a tool for lighting actors on virtual stages.”

He currently serves as director of research, creative algorithms and technology at Netflix, and is an adjunct research professor at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies.

Munich-headquartered ARRI is recognized for more than a century of designing and manufacturing cameras including its Alexa digital cinematography line, lenses, lighting systems and other production tools. ARRI Rental’s services and equipment provide camera, lighting and grip packages to professional productions here and abroad.

“Earlier this year the Academy formed the Science & Technology Peer Group representing members who are involved in the strategy and development of technologies that enable or advance the storytelling process for the television industry,” said committee chair John Leverence. “Under the leadership of the new peer group’s governors and co-chairs Wendy Aylsworth and Barry Zegel, this year’s newly constituted Engineering Emmy Awards Committee honors a wide range of innovative solutions to once seemingly intractable technical problems.:

Kirsten Vangsness (Criminal Minds) will host the Sept. 28 ceremony.