[OSCARS] Takuo Miyagishima Wins in 2005
- Takuo Miyagishima: An Oscar Recipient's Legacy
by Carl Wakamoto
On February 12, 2005, actress Scarlett Johansson presented an Oscar
to one of the most notable design engineers in the motion picture
industry: Takuo Miyagishima. When Miyagishima's name was announced,
it wasn't lost in translation. His achievements and successful
career translate into any language as being truly inspirational.
There is one company in the industry that has been like family to
Tak Miyagishima for half a century. It is where he has made bridges
globally with his wisdom and expertise. Tak is the Senior Vice
President of Engineering at Panavision, and he is not a stranger to
folks in the motion picture industry -- nor is he a stranger to
receiving some of its most highly coveted awards. The day before
this interview in March, he had met with Chinese cinematographer
Zhao Xiaoding, a 2005 Academy Award nominee for best cinematography,
featured in the film House of Flying Daggers. A few months earlier,
Miyagashima had been voted an Oscar, the Gordon E. Sawyer Award, by
the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and
Sciences. The Oscar was later presented to Tak at the Scientific and
Technical Awards Dinner on February 12, 2005. The Academy states
that this Oscar is presented to an individual in the motion picture
industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to
We've asked Tak to put his modesty aside, and to tell us about the
numerous other awards he has received. We'll also hear from Tak
about the notable people he's met in the industry, and about how his
job took him to a place in China that no Americans had been to
before. All of this and more, plus a closer look at that Oscar -- if
you watch our exclusive interview. And that's a promise.
In summation, Tak is a true visionary constantly working toward
perfecting his art. He has been a great example for design engineers
and others who are behind the scenes in the making of some of the
world's greatest motion pictures. We all cherish Academy award-
winning movies like Lawrence of Arabia, and the contributions that
Tak and Panavision made to their success. Miyagishima is the only
Asian American to receive an Oscar in 2005, yet he exhibits all the
traits of a global citizen with a legacy that inspires us all. In
this much-anticipated interview with APA, he introduces his friend
Oscar and shares that legacy with us.
Interview with Takuo Miyagishima
March 2, 2005
Interviewed by Carl Wakamoto
Transcription by Brian Yang
Click here to see the video interview using Windows Media Player.
Click here to see the video interview using Real Player.
APA: Putting modesty to the side, I'd say you're quite a bit of an
inspirational force for a lot of people today.
Takuo Miyagishima: Well...hopefully, you know, I look back
and...well, as one of my sons said, "Dad you've been around so long
they had to give you something." But, I've been fortunate, I've been
blessed. I received the Fuji Gold Medal Award. You know, I received
the John Bonner...John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation Award. The
President's Award from the ASC. And finally this Oscar.
APA: Could you tell us a little about your friend Oscar here?
TM: Well, the Oscar is quite heavy -- as a matter of fact. And I try
to keep it polished every day. But without the people from
Panavision, I would never have this Oscar in my hand. So here's to
everybody at Panavision that's given me this opportunity to get this.
APA: And under your leadership, Panavision received two Oscars,
prior [to this one]
TM: Well, yeah, I say under my leadership, meaning I was head of the
engineering staff at the time. We've never had a big staff. We've
always worked hard. We did get an Oscar for the Panaflex Camera,
which is the first silent -- what I call really silent hand held-
able camera. And then we got an Oscar for the Anamorphic System that
I was involved in all 50 years, basically.
APA: This is the first time you've personally received the Oscar,
TM: Right. This is my first Oscar. Yeah, I've received an Emmy as
well, but...this my first Oscar.
APA: Now, this year when you received the Oscar -- who was the
TM: Well, it was Scarlett Johansson, and she was in Lost in
Translation, and she was in The Horse Whisperer as well. And the one
I remember her in...Girl with a Pearl Earring. Which I thought she
did great in. She's a beautiful girl.
APA: Yes. And you mentioned that she mispronounced your name?
TM: Well, she...she sort of a...in other words, she would have...She
did a good job of it, really. It was a...I think it was Salma Hayek
that mispronounced my name.
APA: I see. So it didn't get lost in translation?
TM: [Laughs] No, it didn't get lost in translation. It sort of took
a long time. She just read out, MI-YA-GA-SHI-MA, rather than saying
it all at once, you know.
APA: And what's your fondest memory of this occasion -- in the event
that you received the Oscar at?
TM: Well...I think I said it in the...I was notified two months
prior to it. In December they notified -- I was going to get this
award. But, I never believed that I would, until I was called up on
stage and handed this Oscar. It was all a dream -- been in a stupor
for basically, two months.
On being a Global Citizen...
TM: I hope that I've been able to create something for the whole
world to enjoy. I've always dreamed of making...building bridges and
roads, you know, as we know it. But a...I still don't regret that I
never had that opportunity. I think I built...I was able to
contribute in building bridges for a...let's say the -- the citizens
of the world to cross -- to get over to...to be entertained, and
forget your sorrows. Even for a couple of hours. So in that sense, I
think I built my own road.
APA: So you would say that you've in essence, a global citizen?
TM: I hope I would be taught that way. You know, people...the entire
world sees my work of art or work of what I've done, even though it
might be a small part.
Where he was born, and about his unique Asian American experience...
TM: I was born in Gardena in 1928. And raised till about six years
old in Long Beach, and then from there we moved to Terminal Island --
in a way, attended the grammar school there on the island. And
after that, we attended Richard Henry Dana Junior High School in San
Pedro. And then when the war broke out, we moved to Utah.
APA: I see. And you mentioned something interesting that there was
one minority at your high school.
TM: Well, this is in grammar school, basically.
APA: Grammar school.
TM: In grammar school, the school consisted of six grades, but we
only had one minority -- she happened to be White. She came from a
family of a Russian immigrant, and she was the only white face that
was in our school. Consequently, at school I should say, the only
English spoken there was when the teachers were speaking to us. And
after I got older I was thinking, that maybe you know, English was
being taught to us as a second language, but it never dawned on me --
it wasn't our first.
APA: And how was this student accepted in your grammar school days?
TM: Well, she was one of us, basically. No difference, you know, she
lived in the neighborhood -- played with everybody. So acceptance
was great. That's what I thought, we didn't have any feelings of
integration or anything of that nature -- never gave it any mind to
APA: Would you say, as being a Nisei or second-generation Japanese
American, that you have a closeness or fondness for your land of
your heritage -- Japan?
TM: I tend to think so -- you know, my mother lived until she was
90...94. So a...she just passed away, not too many years ago -- so,
until then, you know, the only time...when I speak to her -- I was
speaking to her in Japanese, never in English. She never learned to
speak English. And my dad never learned to speak English. He came as
an immigrant, and he never returned to Japan. So, the fondness of
Japan has always been there.
APA: Did you come from a large family?
TM: No, basically I it was a really small family -- had a brother
and two sisters. But they were raised in Japan, and I was the only
one raised here.
APA: So they were Kibei Nisei.
TM: Right, you would consider that.
APA: And being that you spoke in Japanese with your mom, would you
say that the comprehension is good or your speaking ability is good
TM: Well, the only problem is the technical terms I think I get away
with speaking Japanese but there are some old -- you learned the way
your mother speaks or your parents speak -- those were the old
Japanese, you know, it's not the modern way. They were all dialects.
So the language you learn is just the dialect of where they came
APA: I see. And where did your ancestors come from?
TM: My dad and mom came -- both came from Shizuoka. Shizuoka-ken. My
dad came from a place called Shimizushi Miho. That's where the I
guess it's the famous, Nihon No...what they would call Matsubata.
And on one visit, I thought, well, I'd better get out there and see
where he was born -- the area he was born. So one Sunday , I had
some time off and we took a trip -- visited the Nihon No Matsubata.
Which was great I thought, you know.
APA: You mentioned that you moved to Utah during World War II.
TM: Yes, when we came from Terminal Island my dad got interned, my
brother was in the U.S. Army, and consequently we had some relatives
in Utah, so we moved there. So I went to a high school in Utah. I
went to Davis High School -- graduated there. And then, as soon as
the opportunity came, we moved back to the Los Angeles area.
APA: I see. And you mentioned that your brother served in the U.S.
Army during World War II. Was he with the Military Intelligence
TM: No. He was drafted about 1930 was 19 I think it was '41, before
the war. So consequently he didn't go. He was not the interpreter,
you know, that division.
APA: I see. Was he with an all-Japanese American Unit?
TM: No. He was no, he was basically in the hospital corps. I think
that's where he was.
APA: And having gone to a high school in Utah, you didn't experience
TM: No. Because we had relatives in Utah, we went there and whereas
all my other friends that didn't have any place to go or to any
relatives outside of California, they all went to internment. But we
went to Utah and spent our war years there.
APA: Do you have a lot of fond memories of the place?
TM: Oh yeah. I still have old friends from there. I try to visit it
every once in a while just to see, but it's not like going back --
it's difficult to go back any place. Everything has changed, you
know, it used to be a farm land and now when I go back there are no
farms to be seen. It's all been filled up with homes.
APA: Now your first introduction to Panavision was about 50 years
TM: Correct. I started with Panavision and basically my first job
was there in 1954. And I'm still hanging around and they still let
me come in. And I enjoy meeting the people and spending time on the
phone and doing other things.
APA: What is your current title at Panavision?
TM: Well, my current title is not what I do. Basically, it's titled
Senior Vice President of Engineering. But I've sort of given up that
now for quite a while and all I do is to talk to people on the
outside. If they have the problem, I would look at the problem --
try to give wisdom.
APA: So you're like an advisor.
TM: In essence, that's what it is -- advising people. Yes.
APA: Do you know the word for `advisor' or `consultant' in Japanese?
TM: No, I don't.
APA: It's "Komon."
APA: Yes. So you could say you have good Komon sense.
TM: [Laughing] Well, ok. I'll remember that, ok.
APA: When you began at Panavision, you began as an engineer, or
you've mentioned that you learned while you worked.
TM: Basically, I they wanted, when I first got hired, they wanted
somebody to do their drawing and their engineering, you know, of the
equipment that they were building. So from there, as things
progressed, I learned on the job and I went to school for a while
and the only regret I have is that I did not have a degree. So you
could say I did learn on the job.
APA: But you do have a lot of wisdom.
TM: Well, that comes with age, I believe. Wisdom comes with age.
There are things that you pick up along the way. You make great
friends, you meet great people. So this industry has given me the
opportunity to meet with people from all over the world and I know
people in England, Japan, China I mean, no matter where the movie
industry is. It's such a small industry.
APA: You would classify the movie industry, of course, as "Arts and
TM: Well, yes, the movie industry is worldwide, basically. It's 35
millimeters of world standards. So the movie industry -- it goes by
the roots of 100 years of history. But as the digital age comes
along, things change. There are gonna be different technologies and
you're gonna be working...or keep up with it or you're gonna get
left behind. And at my age, I'm sort of at that stage where it's
getting more difficult to learn -- put it that way.
APA: But you have a lot of professional experience.
TM: Well, right. The experience, I believe, counts. And that, you
always have to deal with people, and that's where the experience
APA: Would you say that you've been, basically, fulfilling the
capacity of the mentor for a lot of the young people who are working
TM: I, hopefully, that's what I could keep on saying to myself --
that I've been helping out people. You know, there's a question
raised and I would answer it.
TM: How long is it from Hong Kong, which I've visited few times as
well. It was then when I visited to China. One leg of the trip, we
were the basically we were so far in the west end of China that we
were just the first Americans there. I say `American' for myself and
my co-worker. They had they said that they had some Canadians, and
they had some Japanese there. But we were the first Americans. So
you could just about imagine how far west it was and it wasn't that
long ago as 20 years ago. A little bit over 20 years ago when we
visited. But, yeah.
APA: You must've felt, so to speak, like Marco Polo.
TM: Well, when we, I remember, we told the plant we visited the
plant that was manufacturing optical equipment, film equipment as
well. We said that we wanted to visit the village during lunch. And
the foreman there or the manager there said that, "No, I better go
with you." It was a good thing he did because we were like the
monkeys in the zoo, you know. We were the main attraction so we
must've had hundreds of kids milling around us. So as you say, maybe
we were the Marco Polos of that time.
APA: Are you familiar with the movie industry in China currently?
TM: Well, I say familiar with it. I know of it. I visited their
studio about three times. The last visit was in December of last
year, which was December '04. And we spent two, three days in
Beijing, one day in Hong Kong and visited with people there. And
then we spent about three, four days in Japan.
APA: I see. Did you ever meet Akira Kurosawa?
TM: I no, I did not have the opportunity to meet him. That's one of
my regrets. I met Mifune -- Toshira Mifune. He came over to Japan.
And the others Mr. Kozo Okazaki. He shot Yakuza and he did a lot of
work. He was the first DP that used Panavision in Japan on a movie
called Gorilla King. And I think it might've been produced out of
Toho Studios. He just passed away this year. And he was the oldest
working cinematographer. I think he was about 86 years old. He
started when he was he started in 1940, I believe, as a
APA: Before the war.
TM: So he started awful young, so I could've imagined. Then I got to
know Mr. Shinoda. He happened to pass away he passed away this year
as well. This year he won the cinematography award for in Bosamus,
but he did win the award. And I had the occasion to meet Mr. Takaba.
He's the one that shot all the Otoku wa tsurai wa series.
APA: I see.
TM: So it's interesting to meet all these people.
APA: So you've met quite a few Asian-American cinematographers.
TM: Well, the ones I meet the ones that come to Panavision in
essence. One regret is that they were shooting in the one in Canada.
If you recall, the war scenes of the where they got the horses and
everything else they were all in Canada. I wanted to visit there,
which I never did. But then I did, when I was in Japan, I did attend
the premiere in Japan. So that was good. I met the stars there at
APA: Did you say that you met the late Sessue Hayakawa?
TM: I met him on the set once at the he was shooting Green Mansions,
which was one of the first movies that used our anamorphic system.
He shot out of a the shooting took place onstage at MGM at that
time, which is now the Sony Studios now. But at that time he was
with MGM. He was there with Audrey Hepburn.
APA: I see. What was your impression of Sessue Hayakawa?
TM: Well, I saw some of his work, which I loved, you know. I guess
he was the gentleman of his own rights. I never did really get to
know him that well.
First Big Pictures using Panavision
TM: The first big picture was naturally Ben Hur it was one of the
APA: Ben Hur starring Charleston Heston.
TM: Right. And prior to that, that system was used on the movie
called Raintree County, with Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Cliff.
That's the story involved with Montgomery Cliff when they were
shooting Raintree County, which was the first picture when we
furnished the lenses. And I was the only one that was making all the
drawings. We were late on delivery on some lenses. They were
shooting and we were still delivering equipment to them.
TM: When Montgomery Cliff goes to a party, on the way back, he
crashes his car and breaks his collar bone. I think that's what it
was. Anyway, the picture got postponed. And that's what saved
Panavision and that's why Panavision is still here. Otherwise, MGM
might've been suing us for being late on their lenses.
APA: So this was a twist of fate
TM: Right, right. Otherwise, if that didn't happen, Panavision might
not be here today.
APA: So would you say that Panavision is pretty much a blessed
TM: Well, I believe so. There's not very many companies that last
for 50 years. One of the things that Panavision has is like a
family. We've had people here with over 30 years of experience. Or
30 years of being employed and I'm going on 50. I just passed my
50th. But Panavision has been like family.
APA: Would you equate your art and craft as being somewhat like a
swordsmith making a sword for a samurai?
TM: Well, what we do is, in other words, like for instance, you
would come to us and say, "Ok. I want to use your equipment. But I
like to do a certain shot." Or you want a certain equipment to do
this certain to shoot it in a certain way. So I would equate that as
Panavision working with the cinematographer or working with the
people who actually use the equipment. A case can be Lawrence of
Arabia -- the famous mirage scene as Birotu rides in from the
desert. I remember Freddy Young coming to Panavision before his
shoot. Freddy Young, the famous cinematographer. He said, "I'd like
to have a long lens to do a certain shot. So what we did was we
scraped up that lens and found him the lens and built it for him.
Consequently, I think that's the only shot that was ever used that
lens that was ever used on.
APA: So it was specifically tailor-made for that.
TM: For his particular shot, which is still famous as it is.
APA: So in essence, you are like a sort of swordsmith.
APA: I noticed the portrait of Anna May Wong in your gallery.
APA: Could you tell me a little bit about that?
TM: Well, the one that produced it or one that shot it was a fellow
named George Morell. He was a portrait photographer for the studios.
As the studios, let's say, started to get smaller, they did this way
with the portrait photographers as well. He had those things he did,
he had them blown up and that's how we managed to get a hold of it.
He's a really famous portrait photographer. But I've certainly been
blessed. I had the right people, I guess, as you'll recall.
APA: You've met all of the current famous directors and
cinematographers in the industry today?
TM: Well, the business we're in, we've met a lot of the famous
cinematographers; like Bob Bridgetson I've known for a while. As a
matter of fact, yesterday, I had the cinematographer who did the
House of Flying Daggers
TM: ...from China. He visited us yesterday. Caleb Dashnel -- I've
known him for a long time. He's the one that did Passion of the
Christ and Black Stallion. So
APA: The cinematographer from China. Did he speak through an
interpreter or did he speak English?
TM: No, he had an interpreter with him. As a matter of fact, when we
were in Hong Kong in December, we had dinner with I had dinner with
Peter Pao who did Crouching Tiger. I've known him for a while. Then
we had along with him was Arthur Wang, who was the new DP -- when I
say the new DP, I mean that I met him for the first time. But he
just finished Ultraviolet in Shanghai. So, I mean, you get to meet
these international DP's, which is good. So it's been a long, good,
good run. It's an industry that...
APA: On your desk, there's a picture of you and some of the
executives of Sony Corporation.
TM: Right. There's a picture of myself with Mr. Idei and Mr.
Yamakawa. Mr. Yamakawa. He was the director -- one of the directors
of Sony. I met him previously when they were in the NAB that year;
they had me come around to our booth and my pictures taken with him.
Since then, I met Mr. Idei in Japan a short meeting with him.
APA: A fine gentleman.
TM: Real, fine gentleman. There's our association with Sony goes
back over 20 years -- basically, when we started out.
APA: Among the pictures that are on this where you're receiving the
Oscar, could you touch one of them and show us?
TM: This was taken -- this one is taken at this high-tech awards.
And this is where the awards are given on the set on a different
night, different evening. My award was the Gordon E. Sawyer Award,
which is given in essence as a Lifetime Achievement. And hopefully,
I guess, people thought that I did achieve something.
APA: I see. And when you achieved this or received this award, you
said you had advance notice.
TM: We were notified in I was notified in December when Frank
Pierce, the President of the Academy, called me up and said
that, "Tak, you've been voted to accept the Gordon E. Sawyer Award."
And I said, "No, that can't be true."
APA: Are you sitting among colleagues in the industry that also
TM: This was all this high-tech award committee...right, so the high-
tech committees, the one that I received was a technical awards of
merit, which is the Oscar. Luna Crane received one. And there is a
certificate in the plaque. They're all given on a separate evening
at the Academy. Then what happens is that this is the first time, I
guess, that at the Oscars, they were broadcasted the awards were
given, were broadcasted. So that was quite an experience to be shown
live on TV.
APA: That's great. Well, Tak, thank you very much for this
interview. The people at UCLA really appreciate this.
TM: Well, I hope, let's say, I provided some sort of path for the up-
and-coming engineers. So this is to all the engineers in the movie
industry -- something to look forward to.
Honoring Our Own (Wins an Oscar in 2005)
Every year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences honors the
technical wizards behind filmmaking. This year, they honored one of
our own with the highest award, an Oscar. Takuo Miyagishima, one of
the first employees of Panavision, who has worked for the company
for 50 years -- and had a hand in helping Panavision secure its
previous Oscars -- was able to finally take one of his own home.
On February 12, 2005, at the Scientific and Technical Achievement
Awards held in Pasadena, the Academy bestowed three Oscars: Tak
Miyagishima received the Gordon E. Sawyer Award for his
technological contributions, Horst Burbulla was honored for the
telescoping Technocranes, and Jean Marie-Lavalou, Alain Masseron and
David Samuelson for La Louma, their camera crane and remote system.
"My son humbled me," said Tak, upon accepting his Oscar. "He
said, `Dad, you've been working so long they had to give you
something and this is it.' I said, `I hope that doesn't mean they're
getting rid of me.'"
Tak admitted that his work has only been a "small step in bringing
joy and entertainment to the citizens of the world. But being here
amongst all my friends and family, I wouldn't change places with
anyone. Here's to the industry we all love."His wife, Yoshie, and
his three sons, Daryl, Bryan and Paul and their wives accompanied
Tak to the award ceremony. It was a proud moment for the entire
Miyagishima family, along with Tak's Panavision family.
Tak began his career at Panavision in 1954, together with founders
Robert Gottschalk and Richard Moore. When he came on board, they
were already in production with the larger anamorphic projection
attachments Super Panatar. His first project was to furnish drawings
that showed how the units were to be mounted on the various
projectors used in those days. His next project was the design of
the Ultra Panatar Anamorphic Projection System. This was the first
step in making the lenses much smaller. In order to adapt the lens
for each customer, whenever an order was received, the company's
order included the throw of the theater (the distance from the lens
to the screen). Panavision would then furnish them with corrector
lenses that would focus the lens properly in their theater.
Panavision's first foray into taking lenses came at the request from
a production company that wanted to use the Ultra Panatar for
photographing as well as for projection. "I remember making a
removable front corrector/focus lens holder. This allowed them to
achieve focus merely by using the corrector for that focus
distance," said Tak. Then, Doug Shearer and Frank Milton of MGM
approached Panavision to design and manufacture a camera system to
compete with Todd/AO and Mike Todd. Panavision's new design came to
be known as Camera 65 System/Ultra Panavision (65mm camera utilizing
an anamorphic lens). The first lens designed had a power of 1.33x
but ended up having an anamorphic power of 1.25x, with an aspect of
ratio of 2.75:1, when projected.
When Raintree County started production, "we made them what I refer
to as a `box' (blimp) that the camera was mounted in," said
Miyagishima. "This was actually a square box which we made from one
half inch aluminum plates screwed together with the appropriate port
glass so that the lens could photograph through it. The box was
awkward, but we knew it had to be in the interim since the design of
a new blimp was still being perfected." The new blimp ended up being
quite heavy as well, and took four grips just to move it around. The
lenses were designed using prisms to do the anamorphosis. "After
Raintree County, before the start of Ben Hur, we redesigned the
lenses and this time we replaced the prism with cylindrical
elements," said Miyagishima.
Tak has been influential in developing and designing new
technologies that have been unique contributions to the field of
cinematography. With his contribution, Panavision received two
Oscars, first in 1978 for the Panaflex Motion Picture Camera System
and again in 1993 for the Auto Panatar Anamorphic Photographic Lens.
While Tak was busy designing lenses, there were two other men on the
design staff at Panavision: Bob Shea, who came from Acme
Tool/Photosonics, and Al Saiki. "When Gottschalk gave his blessing
to make the Panaflex, we also hired Al Mayer from Mitchell Camera to
aid in the design of the camera. Bob Shea designed the camera
movement and Al Saiki contributed to the design of the magazines. My
contribution was the design of the vibration mounts for the
movement," Miyagishima remembered. "I would give credit to all who
worked on this project for making it a success. I would add Jack
Barber, Jurgen Sporn, Hans Spirawski, Oliver Conway, George Kraemer
and many others without whose contribution to the Panaflex system it
would not have been as successful."
As for his contribution to the Auto Panatar, Panavision's anamorphic
lenses for 35mm, "it wouldn't have succeeded without George
Kraemer's input," said Miyagishima. "When we decided to start our
program, we first used prisms to achieve the power of 2x for our
anamorphic system, but soon realized that we were confronted with
three variables that had to move in synchronization as the lens was
being focused. We had to plot the amount of travel of the lens as it
was being focused. Then we had to plot the amount of counter
rotation of the astigmatizers. Finally, we had to plot the amount of
rotation of the prisms, which kept the anamorphic power at a
constant 2x. All three of these variables had to move precisely in
synch for the lenses to be in focus throughout its range from
infinity to closest focus," he explained. The prisms were rotated to
eliminate the "anamorphic mumps" that the Cinemascope lenses were
noted for. The term anamorphic mumps was so-called because if the
Cinemascope lens was focused from ten feet or closer, the images of
the actors became wider. Consequently, in all the Cinemascope
productions, close-ups were kept to a minimum.
Similarly, when Panavision replaced the prism's cylindrical elements
to achieve constant focus, they now had to overcome two variables.
Each lens had to be plotted to keep synchronization between focus
travel and counter rotation. In the beginning, 10 points were
plotted and they measured the travel and the counter rotation quite
accurately (Infinity, 60', 20', 15', 12', 10', 8', 6', 5', and 4').
After studying the results of the graphs that were
plotted, "eventually, I soon realized that we would only require two
plot points: Infinity and 5', thus eliminating many hours of intense
scrutiny to achieve our required graph and determining our correct
gear ratio," said Tak. When the first lens was built, they were
invited by Twentieth Century Fox to test the lenses on the set of
The Diary of Anne Frank, starring Molly Perkins. "I remember seeing
comparisons of our lenses versus that of the Cinemascope lenses and
even though our lenses out-performed theirs, they decided to use the
Cinemascope. Eventually, we were able to get our lenses into
Twentieth Century Fox when Frank Sinatra demanded them for the
picture Von Ryan's Express. The rest is history," said Tak.
Tak's past awards from the Academy include a Technical Achievement
Award and a Scientific and Engineering Award in 1998 (with Albert
Saiki) for the design and development of the Eyepiece Leveler and
the mechanical design of the Primo Lens Series. In 1999, he received
the Academy's John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation, awarded
for "outstanding service and dedication in upholding the high
standards of the Academy." That same year, the American Society of
Cinematographers (ASC) awarded him (and Albert Mayer) with the
President's Award for their contributions to the industry. Other
awards include an Emmy for the Lens Series in 2001, and in 1991 the
Fuji Gold Medal in recognition of his design of the single auto
focusing anamorphic camera lens. Tak also became a Senior Fellow of
the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) in
A long-time member of the Academy, the ASC, and SMPTE, Tak has
served on numerous film technology committees for each organization
including the Academy's new Science and Technology Council. At
Panavision, he has been a role model for the engineering group for
many years and is about as good a representative of Panavision to
the industry as our company could ever hope for. Amongst other
qualities, Tak is known for his willingness to mentor young
Panavision employees and others in the industry, his responsiveness
to customer needs, his gentle and kind ways, his humility and
modesty in view of his significant career accomplishments, and his
incredible generosity of spirit and intellect. It is absolutely
befitting that the Academy recognize our Tak Miyagishima with its