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Alexandre Gauthier-Foichat wins "Best Innovation of the Year" award

Alexandre Gauthier-Foichat ©Inria

The Digital Creation GENIE Award has been won by Alexandre Gauthier-Foichat for his software, Natron, a video compositor for cinematographic production.

The Natron FX software was voted "Best Innovation of the Year" at the first ever Paris Images Digital Summit, on 22 January 2015.

What does the "Digital Creation GENIE Award" recognise?

Alexandre Gauthier-Foichat : The "Digital GENIE Awards" ceremony was held during the Paris Image Digital Summit, the former Paris FX.
This was the first time that awards have been given. The aim is to recognise people who have made a key technical contribution to film production or post-production, other than the actors who are recognised at the Césars ceremony.

What gave you the idea of entering this competition?

Alexandre Gauthier-Foichat : In fact it wasn't our own idea, it was the events organisation team that contacted us to say that the jury voting on the awards for Best Innovation (Venceslas Biri, Pascal Buron, Pierre Hénon, Véronique Godé and Virginie Guilminot) had nominated us for Natron.

What does this award mean for you?

Alexandre Gauthier-Foichat : First of all, it is not an award that I have won all on my own, since there are two of us, Fréderic Devernay & myself, who jointly developed the software. It is also recognises all the different internal (at Inria) and external contributors to the project.
 Natron was up against some major software packages, especially the rendering engine used by the D-Neg studio. What makes Natron stand out is that it is the only open source freeware positioned as a standard professional compositing tool. The jury gave a special mention to the philosophy and issues involving access to information and education for everyone thanks to Natron and so rewarded the project on two counts: for its technical innovation and also its community aspect, since it opens up new work opportunities for all film schools.

Has the award opened up new opportunities for you?

Alexandre Gauthier-Foichat : The award means we can promote the project more widely and, in particular, lends even greater credibility to the open source project. Some people are wary of open source projects because they don't understand how such projects are governed or funded.
The Natron software project is now funded by Inria via the Action 3DS project within the PRIMA team and its objective is to become an incontrovertible post-production tool as well as a platform for developing computer-assisted visual/graphics tools. Today, the film industry needs to be able to rely on stable and sustainable software databases in order to encourage shared work practices within the industry, and neutralise any differences in the education of young people working in these areas.

Keywords: Alexandre Gauthier-Foichat Digital GENIE Awards INRIA Grenoble - Rhône-Alpes Natron Compositing Paris Images Digital Summit