Rafu Staff Report

The “In Memoriam” segment of Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony included design engineer Albert Saiki, who passed away in Los Angeles on Nov. 7, 2022 at the age of 92.

Albert Saiki

Saiki, who worked for Panavision, was the recipient of mutiple Oscars in the scientific and technical category:

1992 — For the mechanical design of the Primo Zoom Lens for 35m cinematography.

1995 — For the mechanical design of the Panavision 11:1 Primo Zoom lens for motion picture photography.

1998 — For the design and development of the Eyepiece Leveler, which keeps the camera eyepiece at the same level, regardless of whether the camera position is tilted up or down, enabling the camera operator to concentrate on the composition of the image. Takuo Miyagishima of Panavision also won.

2001 — For the mechanical design of the Panavision Primo Macro Zoom Lens (PMZ). This compact, wide-angle, macro focus lens enhances and expands the picture-capturing ability, both technically and artistically, of the cinematographer. It is the first cine lens that allows macro photography while still being able to zoom.

Another Asian American recognized in the “In Memoriam” montage was model maker and visual effects artist Greg Jein, who died on May 22, 2022 at the age of 76.

Greg Jein

He earned Oscar nominations for his work on Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977), building the iconic mothership that rises above Devil’s Tower, currently housed in the Smithsonian’s Stephen F. Hazy Center.

A second visual effects Oscar nomination was for Spielberg’s “1941” (1979).

Jein’s other visual effects credits included “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” (1979), “One from the Heart” (1981), “Twilight Zone: The Movie” (1983), “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension” (1984), “Batteries Not Included” (1987), “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” (1989), “The Hunt for Red October” (1990), “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” (1991), and “The Scorpion King” (2002).

His model-making credits included “Star Trek: Insurrection” (1998), “Fantastic Four” (2005), “Serenity” (2005), “Avatar” (2009), “John Carter” (2012), “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012), “Oblivion” (2013), “Interstellar” (2014), and the live-action “Mulan” (2020).

Jein was also Emmy nominated for his work in television, including “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Angels in America.”

For over three decades, Jein built and supervised the building of models and miniatures for Industrial Light and Magic, Boss Film, Walt Disney Imagineering and many other production houses, in addition to taking assignments from defense contractors such as Lockheed and Hughes Aircraft.

Jein was a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, serving on the Visual Effects Steering Committee, as well as a participant in the Visiting Artists Program. He was a member of the Art Director’s Guild as a set design model maker.

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