Grass Valley Captures Technical Achievement Award for Viper FilmStream
First introduced by Grass Valley in 2002, the Viper FilmStream camera represents a significant milestone in the industry as the first production model digital cinematography camera that most closely emulated a traditional film workflow, providing the highest quality digital images at the time. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is recognizing the lasting impact of the Viper FilmStream camera with a Scientific and Technical Award at a ceremony in Beverly Hills on February 11. The Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards are given annually for accomplishments that contribute to the progress of the motion picture industry.
“The Viper FilmStream camera was the first camera to use raw digital images directly from the sensor without any processing,” says Marco Lopez, president, Grass Valley. “Because of this, it was just like capturing from a film negative, without any ‘destructive’ permanent processing that would limit quality and range of correction in post-production. The real benefit was that the director and cinematographer could—for the first time—preview a scene immediately following the take, and confirm that each scene was exactly as desired before moving on to the next take. This reduced stress on set and was a massive step forward in film production.”
With the Viper FilmStream camera, film crews were able to enjoy longer shooting times than with film, immediately review full-resolution images to determine successful capture, make more than one master copy to prevent loss or damage, assign four different modes of digital capture on one camera, capture raw images while providing corrected output for monitoring, and move the post-production workflow onto the production set.
The Viper FilmStream camera immediately caught the attention of many high-profile Hollywood directors and producers and was used on a number of very successful movies, including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Zodiac, Home of the Brave, Domino, Oliver Twist, and more. Director Michael Mann used the system for Miami Vice and Collateral, noting in 2004: “Film doesn’t record what our eyes can see at night. That’s why I moved into shooting digital video in high definition—to see into the night, to see everything the naked eye can see and more. You see this moody landscape with hills and trees and strange light patterns. I wanted that to be the world that Vincent and Max are moving through.”
In addition to feature films, the Viper FilmStream camera also was used in commercials, television and even corporate, government, and medical projects over the years. The success that Grass Valley had with the Viper FilmStream camera continues to influence its development of today’s market-leading HD, 4K/UHD, HDR and XtremeSpeed cameras for mobile, live, sports, and entertainment productions around the world. “Recognition by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a huge honor and speaks to our long-time commitment to providing solutions that drive the industry forward and help our customers advance their businesses,” says Lopez.