Queenstown company wins Academy Award

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Action: The K1 filming2015 disaster film San Andreas in Los Angeles, USA

An innovative Queenstown company has won an Academy Award for its helicopter camera mount.

John Coyle, Brad Hurndell, Vikas Sathaye and Shane Buckham, of Shotover Camera Systems, have won the Scientific and Engineering Award for the “concept, design, engineering and implementation” of their $NZ664,000 K1 system.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognised the firm’s six-axis stabilised aerial camera mount, with enhanced ability to frame shots while looking straight down, “enables greater creative freedom while allowing pilots to fly more effectively and safely”.

Shotover’s systems are used by Hollywood’s elite film-makers — used to shoot footage for scores of blockbusters including Alien: Covenant, Suicide Squad and Jurassic World.

Chief executive Brad Hurndell said: “It’s fantastic.

“The K1 is the No1 system used for all of the blockbuster movies and this recognition cements that, which is extremely satisfying.”

The academy has named 34 award winners for technical and scientific achievements.

They will be honoured at its annual scientific and technical awards presentation on Saturday, February 10, at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills — a month ahead of the 90th Oscars.

“We’re all excited to pick up the award.”

Brad Hurndell
Honoured: Brad Hurndell

Last year, the K1 system won a technical achievement gong in Hollywood at the Society of Camera Operators Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Mr Hurndell said the customer focus enabled Shotover Camera Systems to stay ahead of the competition.

“And it’s helpful our customers are always trying to do something new, so we work with them to achieve their dreams and goals.

“As a result we have to be on the cutting edge — it’s a great place to work.”

Mr Hurndell said the academy delivered the news by traditional mail. The firm will receive a plaque rather than one of the famed gold Oscar statuettes.