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27 May 2024 09:32

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International Ingenuity at the 75th Engineering, Science & Technology Emmys

The 2023 ceremony spanned the globe, honoring achievements from Los Angeles to London and beyond

Television is a global community with a global reach, and nowhere was that concept more evident than at the 75th Engineering, Science & Technology Emmy Awards: of the eight Emmy-winning technologies, four of the companies are headquartered overseas — in England, Germany, Israel and Switzerland — and recipients traveled to Television Academy headquarters to accept their statuettes.

Held October 18 at the Academy’s Saban Media Center in the NoHo Arts District, the awards honor engineering and other technical achievements by an individual, company or organization that enhance the television storytelling process by their innovation or their improvement on existing methods.

“This is a room full of people who solve impossible problems, to push the state of the art, and all of it in the service of telling ever more effective stories,” observed ceremony host Adam Savage, who worked in special effects before becoming the host and a six-time Emmy-nominated executive producer of Discovery Channel’s MythBusters; he currently heads the popular YouTube channel Adam Savage’s Tested.

“The people in this room will build, and in some cases blow up, the future of our industry before our very eyes. And we don’t know where it ends — the entertainment industry has always been a vanguard of the new — but we know where it begins: with the work of the amazing people in this room, furthering television technology. Every experiment, every bit of art and craft from this sector of production, has led to incredible discoveries that elevate the art and the science and the practice of storytelling.”

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) received the Philo T. Farnsworth Corporate Achievement Award, given in recognition of an agency, company or institution whose contributions have significantly affected television technology and engineering. The foremost trade association for United States television and radio broadcasters, the NAB encourages technology and innovation and improves the quality of broadcasting, among the many ways it represents and advocates for its members in federal government, industry and public affairs.

“I’d like to thank the Academy on behalf of the NAB for recognizing our longstanding commitment to innovation,” NAB executive vice president and chief technology officer Sam Matheny said in acceptance.

As for his team, Matheny continued, “Together, we actively engage with our members and the industry to advance, develop, promote and deploy new and improved technologies for broadcasting. Our technology department’s mission statement is, ‘We improve lives through broadcast technology and broadcaster innovation.’ When you visit our lab, up on the wall, you’ll see those words. And this [honor] spotlights that they aren’t just words on a wall.”

Television technology pioneer Birney Dayton received the Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors a living individual whose ongoing contributions have significantly affected the state of television technology and engineering. Dayton headed NVISION for twenty years, as a cofounder, CEO and CTO; the company has created products and technologies crucial to the development and support of high-definition television and has also contributed significantly to innovations in digital audio and other television elements. Dayton’s achievements pre-NVISION include the streamlining of digital routing signals through production and operations centers and building the first fiber-optic transmission system for over-the-air television.

“This came completely out of the blue, after thirteen years in retirement!” Dayton said in accepting. His first of many thank you’s: “The Academy Committee for this amazing recognition, that I really had no idea was coming.” Others included the co-workers and employees who helped turn ideas into reality; a previous workplace company founder, “Dr. [Donald] Hare taught me how to think through problems;” and his wife Ronda, “who was always ready with only a couple of hours’ notice to prepare a Michelin-class dinner for visiting customers. That level of hospitality gave us a lot of customers and a lot of long-lasting friends. Thank you all.”

The eight Engineering Emmys were awarded to individuals or companies for Brompton Technology’s Tessera SX40 LED video processor (England); the Concept Overdrive Motion System; International Telecommunications Union (ITU) — Radiocommunications — Study Group 6 for the standardization of High Dynamic Range Television (Switzerland); MovieLabs for the Entertainment Identifier Registry (EIDR); the pCAM Pro cinematography software for Apple IOS devices; Riedel’s BOLERO wireless intercom (Germany); SmallHD’s Monitor Platform; and the Waves Clarity Vx Pro noise reduction plug-in (Israel).

As in any global milieu, world events could not be forgotten. One of the Waves recipients, Yaniv Alon, whose company is based in Tel Aviv, thanked his late wife, his daughter in attendance and “my oldest daughter, [who] isn’t here because she’s in the army.”

The committee determining the awards is cochaired by Wendy Aylsworth and Barry Zegel, who are the governors of the Academy’s Science & Technology peer group.

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