And the Oscar goes to...Pune engineer Sathaye for smart camera equipment
The Shotover K1 Camera System is a camera mount that is used in aerial filming. The camera mount gets attached to the base of a helicopter, which carries the camera and lens. The primary function of this camera mount is to eliminate any vibration from reaching the camera and thus getting steady footage.pune Updated: Feb 15, 2018 15:27 IST
The Sathaye family is rejoicing at Sinhagad road. Vikas Sathaye, ‘the boy who did not study well’ has done the family proud by being honoured with the Scientific and Engineering Academy Award at the Oscars 2018 Scientific and Technical Awards on Saturday in Beverly Hills, LA, California.
Sathaye and his team mates received this award for his contribution towards the conceptualisation, designing, engineering, and implementation of the Shotover K1 Camera System during his stint at Shotover Camera Systems, Queenstown, New Zealand.
“I am from Pune, but went to Mumbai for my schooling, and came back here for engineering,” says Vikas Sathaye who used to be a lecturer at Cummins of College of Engineering for Women. As part of his education, and to become a lecturer, he studied at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. However, the real magic of automation and fancy robots caught his attention while on a tour to Italy for Fiat who invited lecturers to understand and train people for their new set up in Ranjangaon.
“I was fascinated with the automation in the car industry and decided to change my line and studied embedded software development and control systems, but there were hardly any jobs for this,” he says. Vikas was offered a job as a trainer in Tata Honeywell to train in-site employees where he met with a lot of other industry people. But that was not what he wanted and hence opted to move out of India and try his hand in New Zealand.
“It was not easy at all. After struggling for six months, I managed to get a job, gained a lot of experience and began working in radio frequency communications. Somehow I did not find what I wanted to do. Hence when the offer to work in a startup came about, I decided to try my hand,” adds Sathaye.
Recalling the work behind achieving the award, Sathaye says, “This company called Shotover Camera Systems in Christchurch was making technology used in aerial filming. A lot of big studios use heavy camera equipment which need a gear that will handle the camera well. However, the vibrations from the helicopter which was in use, used to disturb the image. To isolate these vibrations and to remove all the vibrations from the helicopter and give them a steady footage, we developed a gear, a platform which will cut the vibrations and give a steady image. It was in a prototype stage and we were practising it with 2D jingle when we were approached by a film crew from Hollywood.
“Queensland is one of the most sought-after area in New Zealand for its beautiful locations and they were making an animation film, Walking with the Dinosaurs (2012). They wanted to use our platform so we made them one where with our prototype. They shot the entire scenes required for animation. We worked on the operations and also got involved in the actual shoot with the crew. Once it was over, the crew was so happy that they even gave us credit in the film. It was a proud moment for us for we were part of an Hollywood production.”
“The Film was more exciting and challenging . The prototype known as K1 or Gimbal was used in both 2D and 3D filming. This is my connection with development of the Gimbal in the past five years, and it has been used in about 100 Hollywood films, a dozen blockbusters. The popularity of our product was such that we thought of recommending it to the Oscar committee. They awarded the individuals who were developers of the camera, instead of the company, hence we, John Coyle, Brad Hurndell, Shane Buckham and I, the lead electrical and software engineers were interviewed with all the employees, old and new,” he says.
“It was a unique experience to walk on the red carpet, followed by a photo shoot. It was very glamorous to be in the same theatre where on March 5, Hollywood actors will be standing on the same stage. It gives a high level motivation to create more such designs and prototypes.
It was a dream job but after a while I had to relocate to Adelaide, Australia for the sake of my daughter.
Vikas is in Pune to celebrate the victory with his parents and elder brother Vivek. The ambience is of many re collections of memories for my parents and my brother remember me as a boy who was not a studious one but more with a strong inclination towards science and a boy who demanded many battery operated toys only to break them to see workings of the toy and try to put it together. Vivek helped me clear the fundamentals in place and for being my role model.”
Shotover K1 Camera
The Shotover K1 Camera System is a camera mount that is used in aerial filming. The camera mount gets attached to the base of a helicopter, which carries the camera and lens. The primary function of this camera mount is to eliminate any vibration from reaching the camera and thus getting steady footage. This innovative six-axis stabilized aerial camera mount, with its enhanced ability to frame shots while looking straight down, enables greater creative freedom and results in clear, unwavering photography and videography.
The team that developed this system comprised of four members –John Coyle, Brad Hurndell, Shane Buckham & Vikas Sathaye as the lead electrical and software engineer. Together, the technologists developed an elaborate system that positively impacted the evolution of motion pictures.
NFAI, in association with Arbhaat Film Club, has organized a special event with Vikas Sathaye, an engineer from Pune who was recently awarded at the Oscars 2018 Scientific and Technical Awards.
The event will take place on Thursday 15th February 2018, 9 pm at NFAI, Law College road, Pune.
First Published: Feb 15, 2018 15:26 IST