Published on Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Carl Zeiss design engineer Uwe Weber and his late colleague Dr Jürgen Noffke have been awarded
the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scientific and Engineering Award during a
ceremony on 11 February in Beverly Hills.
|The two engineers have been honoured with the Academy Plaque for the mechanical and optical design of the Master Prime cine lenses, a joint development by Carl Zeiss and camera manufacturer ARRI. Dr Jürgen Noffke passed away in 2011. The Master Prime lenses were introduced in 2004 for the ARRI cine cameras. They are built by Carl Zeiss and marketed by ARRI, who have been working with Carl Zeiss to develop and manufacture cine lenses for over 70 years. The experience of many cine lenses has gone into the development of Master Prime lenses.
The lenses combine extreme high speed with high levels of image sharpness, accurate contrast and colour fidelity. Through these qualities, the lenses were designed to ensure that the mood created on the set can be transferred realistically to the screen, for action sequences and close-up shots of actors. The Master Prime lenses help realise scenes that are difficult to illuminate, such as a city by night.
Consequently the lenses may open new creative possibilities for the cameraman and director. Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus remarked that using the Master Prime lenses had once given him the opportunity to shoot a car chase in the middle of the night. “No extra lighting was needed and the images had much more contrast and less flare,” he said.
The precision optics used in lenses for film production must also be able to withstand harsh conditions such as heat, cold, vibrations, shocks, sand, dust and smoke, rain or snow. The ARRI/ZEISS Master Prime lenses were also noteworthy as fast lenses able to maintain their optical performance at wide-open apertures. A number of major Oscar-winning features have been shot with Zeiss lenses including the ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, ‘The Social Network’, ‘The Fighter’ and ‘The King’s Speech’. With the correct focal length for different situations, ZEISS cine lenses can cover almost any angle of view used on a set.
This is the third time that Carl Zeiss innovations have been recognized with the AMPAS Scientific and Engineering Award. In 1999, they received the award for the concept and optical design of Variable Prime zoom lenses, with a performance equivalent to that of fixed focal length lenses, and it received the award in 1987 for the design and development of extremely high-speed lenses, Super Speeds. www.zeiss.com www.arri.com