|And the Oscar Goes To...
When the movie Slumdog Millionaire won the Academy Award for Best Picture last month, it marked “a real transition for the movie industry,” according to Ari Presler ’87.
The film, which took home eight Oscars including one for Best Cinematography, was filmed using handheld digital cameras created by Silicon Imaging, which was founded by Presler in 2000 in the Rensselaer Incubator. It is the first movie shot predominantly digitally to win the coveted Best Picture award.
“That’s the best recognition that a technology and equipment supplier to the industry can get,” Presler says. “Just being associated with a project that’s had such a global presencenot only the fact that it won the Oscarsreally validates our technology and product as a viable component to future production, for both cinema and television.”
Filmmakers Danny Boyle and Anthony Dod Mantle wanted to use lightweight handheld cameras to film action scenes, making viewers feel like they are in the middle of the action. “I had to find a camera setup that would be ergonomic enough for me to throw myself around the slums chasing the children while maintaining as much picture detail in the shadows and highlights,” Mantle said.
They chose the SI-2K digital cinema cameras created by Silicon Imaging. According to Presler, the filmmakers were so impressed, they used the cameras for about 60 percent of the filming.
Presler gives credit to time spent in Rensselaer’s Image Processing Labs as a student for introducing him to the technical side of imaging capture. “It gave me a real foot in the door in the research area,” he says.