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Category Archives: In Memory Of

Oscar-winning engineer Jim Houston has passed away

The Hollywood Section of Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) announced the passing of its long-time member and SMPTE Fellow Jim Houston. A 34-year veteran of the entertainment industry, Houston held senior engineering positions with several studios and prominent post facilities, including Sony Pictures Entertainment, Pacific Title & Art, Walt Disney Feature Animation and, since February of this year, Samsung Research America. A pioneer in motion imaging standards, computer animation and digital restoration, he won two Academy Awards for Scientific and Engineering Achievement. He died from heart attack on March 26 in Pasadena. He was 61.

“Jim made a profound impact on SMPTE and the industry in general,” said SMPTE Hollywood Section Chair Brian Gaffney. “He was a founding member of the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) committee. He wrote influential papers of topics ranging from the color fidelity of High Dynamic Range images to design considerations for cinemas using laser projection. He attended every industry technical and social event and was a constant presence in the community. He will be missed, and his legacy will last forever in Hollywood.”

Houston was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Cornell University. He began his career with Gould Computer Systems and worked at NASA’s Ames Research Center before getting his start in Hollywood as a technical director with Walt Disney Feature Animation in 1986. In 1992, he won an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) Scientific and Engineering Award as part of the team that developed the CAPS production system for film animation. His second such honor came in 2007 for his contributions to the Rosetta process used in digital restoration. In 2014, he was awarded SMPTE’s Technicolor/Herbert T. Kalmus Award for “leadership and contributions in the application of digital technologies to motion picture production processes.” He served as co-chair of AMPAS’ ACES Project Committee and was a member of its Science and Technology Council.

He is survived by his mother, Margaret Houston, and his siblings John, Michael, Martin, Kevin and Cathy, and their families. Funeral services will be held in Philadelphia. A memorial service will be scheduled for later this year in Los Angeles.

Goldcrest Post’s Jay Tilin has passed away

Jay Tilin, head of production at New York’s Goldcrest Post, passed away last month after a long illness. For 40 years, Tilin worked in the industry as an editor, visual effects artist and executive. His many notable credits include the Netflix series Marco Polo and the HBO series Treme and True Detective.

“Jay was in integral part of New York’s post production community and one of the top conform artists in the world,” said Goldcrest Post managing director Domenic Rom. “He was beloved by our staff and clients as an admired colleague and valued friend. We offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and all who knew him.”

Tilin began his career in 1980 as an editor with Devlin Productions. He also spent many years at The Tape House, Technicolor, Riot and Deluxe, all in New York. He was an early adopter of many now standard post technologies, from the advent of HD video in the 1990s through more recent implementations of 4K and HDR finishing.

His credits also include the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, the Sundance Channel series Hap and Leonard, the PBS documentary The National Parks and the Merchant Ivory feature City of Your Final Destination. He also contributed to numerous commercials and broadcast promos. A native New Yorker, Tilin earned a degree in broadcasting from SUNY Oswego.

Tilin is survived by his wife Betsy, his children Kelsey and Sam, his mother Sonya and his sister Felice (Trudy).

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Remembering ARRI’s Franz Wieser

By Randi Altman

Franz Wieser passed away last week, and the world is worse for it. I’ve known Franz for over 20 years, going back to when he was still based in ARRI’s Blauvelt, New York, office and I was editor of Post Magazine.

We would meet in the city from time to time for an event or a meal. In fact, he introduced me to a hidden gem of a restaurant just off Washington Square Park that has become one of my favorites. It reminds me of him — warm, friendly and welcoming.

I always laugh when I remember him telling me about when his car broke down here in New York. Even though he had his hazard lights on and it was clear his car wasn’t cooperating, people kept driving by and giving him the finger. He was bemused but incredulous, which made it even funnier.

Then he moved to LA and I saw him less… a quick hello at trade shows a couple of times a year. When I think of Franz, I remember his smile first and how soft spoken and kind he was.

He touched many over the years and their stories are similar to mine.

“I have known Franz for nearly two decades, but it was during the earliest days of ARRI’s digital era that we truly connected,” shares Gary Adcock, an early ARRI digital adopter, writer and industry consultant. “We got together after one of the director of photography conferences I chaired at NAB to talk about ARRI’s early D20 and D21 digital cameras. Franz was just a great person, always a kind word, always wanting to know how your family and friends were. It will be that kindness that I will miss the most.”

“This is such sad news,” says Andy Shipsides, CTO at Burbank’s AbleCine. “Franz was a dear friend and will be greatly missed. He was an amazing person and brought fun and levity to his work everyday. I had lunch with him several months ago and I feel lucky to have shared that time with him. Franz was a truly a delightful person. He took me out when I first moved to LA to welcome me to the city, which I will always remember. He always had a smile on his face, and his positive energy was contagious. He will be very much missed, a big loss for our industry.”

ARRI sent out the following about Franz.

It is with great sadness, that we share the news of the passing of Franz Wieser, VP, marketing at ARRI Inc.

Franz Wieser grew up in Rosenheim in Bavaria, Germany. He was originally hired by ARRI CT in nearby Stephanskirchen, where ARRI’s Lighting factory is situated. Franz started at ARRI with an internship with Volker Bahnemann, a member of the supervisory board of the ARRI Group, at what was then called Arriflex Corporation in Blauvelt, NY, USA, and spent some time doing market research in New York and California.

In July 1994, Franz accepted a position as marketing manager at Arriflex with Volker Bahnemann and relocated to New York at that time. Franz had a distinguished career of 25 years in marketing for Arriflex and ARRI Inc., leading to his current position of VP of marketing based in the ARRI Burbank office. His contributions spanned the marketing of ARRI film and digital camera systems and analog and digital lighting fixtures. He also built sustaining relationships with the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) and many others in the film and television industry. His ability to connect with people, his friendliness and reliability, along with his deep understanding of the film industry was outstanding. He was a highly valued member of the global marketing network and a wonderful person and colleague.

Glenn Kennel, president and CEO of ARRI Inc., says “Franz will be remembered by his colleagues and many friends in the industry as a friend and mentor, willing to listen and help. He always had a smile on his face and a gracious approach.”

We are very saddened by his early loss and will remember him well. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his wife and his parents. 


Remembering industry icon Norm Hollyn

Norman Hollyn passed away this week. A film editor, music editor and teacher, probably the best way to describe him is beloved. Since the news broke of his sudden death while lecturing in Japan, there has been an unending outpouring of love and respect for the man who edited Sophie’s Choice and Heathers.

We, at postPerspective, want to pay tribute to Norm by sharing just a few memories from those who knew and loved him.

“Ten years ago, I was working on one of my first large, public technology presentations. I was passed Norman Hollyn’s name as a good resource. We had never heard of one another let alone met one another. Nevertheless, he gave over an hour of his time on a Sunday afternoon to talk with me. The time he spent with me — a stranger seeking knowledge — is the embodiment of who Norman was as a human and educator. This one talk evolved into one of the most rewarding and important friendships I’ve ever had.

“As profoundly sad as I am, I take solace in the fact that if his friendship meant this much to me, how important was his impact to the tens of thousands of people around the world that he inspired, educated and — yes — friended? Then I smile, because I know he’d have some self-deprecating quip ready as a retort.

“I know when someone passes, it’s common to remind folks to tell the ones they care about that they are loved. In this case, I humbly ask that you reach out to your educators — the ones that inspire(d) you, made you a better person, and a student of the world.” — Michael Kammes, BeBop Technologies

“Norm was not just a really good guy who gave so much back to the community. He was also a friend. What I will miss the most is his sharp New York wit. When he would sit on Editors’ Lounge panels, and also moderate some of them, he could be counted on to keep things snappy and humorous. We enjoyed the challenge of busting each other’s chops and then going out for a drink afterwards. He has left a very large hole in our community, and a hollow place in my heart.” — Terry Curren, AlphaDogs/Editor’s Lounge

“I had the good fortune to first meet Norman about 20 years ago. He was always eager to share his knowledge and did so in a most caring way.  When we first met, he handed me his book; then years later, as the digital age solidified, he handed me a revised copy! A lot of people in our industry claim to have written the handbook for post production, but Norman actually did. His passion and excitement for all things post was infectious, and I, like all who got the chance to know him, are better because of our experiences with him. He will be missed.” — Mark Kaplan, Technicolor Production Services

“I’m feeling so comforted by reading the hundreds of stories and tributes about the wonderful Norman Hollyn. His life and interactions with those around him were uplifting, and the lessons he taught went beyond film, and encompassed friendship, mentoring, humor and inclusion. We will all continue to be inspired by him for the rest of our lives and I’m forever grateful. Thank you, Norm!” — Jenni McCormick, American Cinema Editors

The joke was: “You would say, ‘He couldn’t carry my scissors’ when you were talking about someone you didn’t think had the talent. Norm could carry all our scissors!” — Herb Dow, ACE

In honor of Norm, LinkedIn and Lynda.com have made his LinkedIn Learning course, Foundations of Video: the Art of Editing, available free for an entire month.

And if you want some Norm wisdom, here he is talking to our Barry Goch at last year’s HPA Tech Retreat.

Main Image Courtesy of Editor’s Lounge.