Vikas Sathaye: Indian engineer part of team awarded sci-tech Oscar

MUMBAI: An Indian Engineer from Mumbai, Vikas Sathaye, was part of the team that picked off 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”.

Vikas Sathaye on Saturday won an Academy plaque for innovating a camera system that has been used in numerous Hollywood blockbusters. The camera mount is said to be such that it can be attached to the base of a helicopter and its main function is to eliminate vibrations for a steady footage, according to a Times of India report.

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.

In 1992, he joined an engineering college as an Assistant Professor and stayed on for six years. He started working as an Assistant Manager for Honeywell Process Solutions in 1999. During the next 10 years, he changed a few jobs while working in the embedded systems industry. Finally, in March 2009 he took up a position at Shotover Camera System in New Zealand’s Queenstown where the award-winning technology was developed.

He has been working as a Software Engineer in RFI Industries for the past 6 years in Australia’s Adelaide, according to his LinkedIn account.