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MUMBAI: An engineer raised in Mumbai, Vikas Sathaye, was part of the team that bagged the scientific and engineering award at the Oscars 2018 Scientific and Technical Awards on Saturday. The four-member team was honoured at the Beverly Hills ceremony “for the concept, design, engineering and implementation of the Shotover K1 Camera System”, which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences describes as a “six-axis stabilised aerial camera mount” that has an “enhanced ability to frame shots while looking straight down”.
In his statement to the press, Sathaye said that in 2009 he joined a new company called Shotover Camera Systems in Queenstown, New Zealand, which is where he worked on the aerial mount. “One of the reasons to start this company in Queenstown was the natural beauty and stunning scenery which attract a lot of film producers and directors,” he said.
“The camera mount gets attached to the base of a helicopter, which carries the camera and lens. Its primary function is to eliminate any vibration from reaching the camera and thus getting steady footage. The other function for the camera mount is to move the camera head in the desired direction as required by the camera operator, who sits inside the helicopter and uses a joystick to control the camera head movement,” Sathaye explained.
The aerial mount or gimbal used for 3D aerial filming was named Shotover K1. Sathaye, born in Pune in 1967, grew up in Mumbai. After school, Sathaye completed a diploma in instrumentation from VPM’s polytechnic, Thane, followed by a BE in electronics from VIT Pune, and an MTech in instrumentation from IISc.
He taught at Pune’s Cummins College of Engineering for Women for seven years, during which he was sent to Italy for a project with Fiat for three months. It was this experience that inspired him to enter the field of embedded software technology.