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The Foundry's Furnace Wins Academy Award

The Foundry’s Furnace team honoured with a 2006 Scientific And Engineering Award (January 10, 2007)

DMN Newswire--2007-1-10--Leading visual effects developer The Foundry is delighted to announce that the development team responsible for the company’s Furnace visual effects and image-processing plug-ins is to be honoured with a Scientific and Engineering Award® from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences®. The formal awards ceremony and presentation will take place on 10th February 2007 in Los Angeles.

The Foundry’s head of research and development Dr. Bill Collis, chief engineer Simon Robinson, and senior software engineer Ben Kent, along with consultant Dr. Anil Kokaram, will receive the Academy Award® for their roles in the design and development of The Foundry’s Furnace, an integrated suite of software visual effects plug-ins, which robustly utilises temporal coherence for enhancing visual effects in motion picture sequences. The Academy considered the Furnace toolset’s modularity, flexibility and robustness to have set a high standard of quality for optical flow based image manipulation.


Optical flow or motion estimation is an area in which The Foundry has pioneered a new generation of algorithms which enable the tracking of every pixel in a frame to subsequent and preceding frames. Launched in 2002, The Foundry’s Furnace was the first comprehensive toolset to deploy these new algorithms, with the retiming tool Kronos rapidly becoming a market leading technology for speeding up and slowing down footage. Today over 30 plug-ins within the Furnace package take advantage of advanced motion estimation technology, providing digital visual effects artists with a range of sophisticated plug-ins to tackle everyday compositing issues as diverse as wire and rig removal, grain reduction, dust busting, image stabilisation, super resolution, auto rotoscoping, image segmentation, flicker removal, image stitching, adding motion blur, tracking and generating depth mattes amongst many others.

Furnace enjoys an enviable reputation, having been used on a host of high profile feature films including Casino Royale, X-Men 3 The Last Stand, The Da Vinci Code, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Batman Begins, King Kong, The Lord of The Rings Trilogy, Poseidon and Superman Returns.

Dr Bill Collis commented, “We are absolutely delighted to have our innovation recognised by the Academy. We continuously strive to deliver real solutions and cutting-edge technology for the motion picture industry, and to receive such a high accolade is a great honour. Thanks must also go to our customers; we are privileged to work closely with leading companies around the world such as Weta Digital, Pacific Title and Art Studio, Double Negative and The Moving Picture Company. Their requirements for technology that pushes the boundaries of what is possible, willingness to trial our new motion estimation applications, and eagerness to share their views, have made a huge contribution to Furnace and helped it become the success it is today.”

The Foundry is the only British company to be honoured with a 2006 Academy Award® and is one of only four companies to be awarded the Scientific and Engineering Award Academy Plaque®.

About The Foundry:

The Foundry is a London based software developer specialising in visual effects technology for the film and video markets. From an initial start-up in 1996 by Bruno Nicoletti, The Foundry has grown considerably in size and scope over the last ten years. Initially Bruno and his business partner Simon Robinson used their extensive experience in post production to produce Tinder plug-ins for Discreet's® Flame® systems - the first set of such plug-ins to be commercially available. Today the company employs more than a dozen people and develops and markets plug-ins on a range of host applications, including After Effects, Autodesk™ Media Entertainment Systems, Apple's Shake and Avid|DS.

The company now also successfully licenses its sophisticated image processing technology to third parties, expanding its scope beyond plug-ins. The Foundry has used its considerable influence to drive the development of an open standard for visual effects plug-ins known as OpenFX, which is gaining wide acceptance by host and plug-in developers, such as Grass Valley, FilmLight, Autodesk™, D2 Software and others. 

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Editors Notes:

Scientific and Engineering Award, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Academy, Academy Award and Scientific and Engineering Award Academy Plaque are registered trademarks and copyright of ©Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences®. The Foundry and its product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of The Foundry Ltd. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Dr Bill Collis is currently head of research at The Foundry. Prior to this he worked for Snell & Wilcox, for five years, as senior engineer in their Algorithms Team. He was awarded his Ph.D in non-linear signal processing by the University of Southampton and is currently an Associate Fellow at the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research at Southampton. His main research interests are in the fields of signal and image processing, specialising in the areas of non-linear systems, motion estimation, and image restoration. He has published over 50 papers, a book entitled “Heart Sounds Made Easy”, and holds five patents for broadcast technology.

Dr. Anil Kokaram is a consultant to The Foundry and a lecturer at Trinity College, Dublin’s Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department. Originally from Trinidad, Anil attended Cambridge from 1986 as an undergraduate and gained a Ph.D in May 1993 from the Signal Processing laboratory. Much of Anil’s work has involved image and video restoration. He has published many articles, and a book entitled “Motion Picture Restoration Digital Algorithms for Artefact Suppression in Degraded Motion Picture Film and Video”.

Simon Robinson is chief engineer at The Foundry. He has a BA Hons in Engineering and Computing from Cambridge and 14 years’ experience in the film and broadcast industry. Simon began his career at IBM in New York where he spent two years researching computer algebra, before moving on to work for a variety of post production houses including Digital Pictures, Rushes, CFC and The Moving Picture Company. He founded The Foundry with Bruno Nicoletti in 1996.

Benjamin Kent is a senior software engineer at The Foundry. He has a BA M.Eng in Electrical and Information Sciences. He began his career as a Systems Integration Engineer for Invisix before joining The Foundry as part of the Furnace team in 2001.

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Related Keywords:The Foundry, Furnace, Academy Award, plug-ins, optical flow, motion estimation, Kronos, X-Men3 The Last Stand,


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