British Columbia

Oscar goes to 4 Vancouver grips for new green screen

Green screens are a fixture on big-budget movie sets, but they can also be a hassle. Thanks to four Vancouver grips, that hassle might be reduced. They are winning a Technical Achievement Academy Award for their new invention.

Technical Achievement Academy Award won for green screen inventors say is safer and faster to use

The Air Cover green screen, fully inflated and in use on a movie set. (

Four local film industry key grips are in L.A. to receive a Technical Achievement Academy Award for developing a new type of green screen.

The Air Cover green screen is an inflatable green screen that co-inventor Steve Smith says is safer and faster to use than traditional green screens, which are usually held up with metal scaffolding.

"You're usually using truss and a construction crane, and when you start getting into some of the higher winds, it's never something you look forward to getting into," Smith told On The Coast guest host Gloria Macarenko.

Smith, along with co-inventors David McIntosh, Mike Branham and Mike Kirilenko first used their new green screen while filming the new Godzilla movie in 2013, when the shoot called for a 720-foot long green screen.

"The producer liked the idea, it was more cost effective, time saving, and a big concern for the studios was from a safety aspect," he said. "You could take it down at night, you never to worry about it being up in high winds, because you can take it down in 10 minutes."

After the success with that shoot, Smith and his colleagues started a company to market the devices, Aircover Inflatables, in Delta.

Smith says he's hopeful the device will become a new go-to tool in the grip and lighting departments' toolboxes.

"A lot of the cameramen and visual effects producers, who, ... in terms of what they're looking for, make the call, are kinda calling it an industry standard of the future," he said. "So that's what we're hoping for."

Smith and his colleagues will be receiving their award on Feb. 13.

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: And the winner is...: 4 Vancouver grips win technical Oscar for new green screen


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