And the Oscar Goes To… New College’s Steven Rosenbluth

Published on Friday, February 24th, 2017 by David Gulliver

Steven Rosenbluth, a 1991 graduate of New College of Florida, has been presented with an Academy Award for his visual effects work on the development of the Overdrive Motion Management System.

Rosenbluth and colleagues Joshua Barratt, Robert Nolty and Archie Te received the Scientific and Engineering award at the 89th Scientific and Technical Awards on Feb. 11. The award, known best as the Oscar, is given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Rosenbluth, president of Concept Overdrive Inc., oversaw and built prototypes of a new visual effects mechanism that manipulates robotic puppets and environments in real- time, giving Hollywood filmmakers a plethora of new special effects to use.

Films utilizing this technology include “Star Wars: Rogue One,” “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” “Life of Pi,” “Pacific Rim,” “Passengers,” “Suicide Squad,” and “Alien: Resurrection.”

Rosenbluth began his film career at New College of Florida, where he won multiple awards for a stop-motion animation film. He created his own area of concentration that married the arts with engineering prowess and concluded his time at college with a thesis project that dealt with the construction of a robotic puppet. This puppet would later serve as the model for his Overdrive Motion Management System.

“[Overdrive Motion] is so versatile, it was the only thing that could be slotted in to fill the gap between visual and digital effects,” Rosenbluth said. The machinery filled an untapped niche and this achievement led to Rosenbluth’s Academy Award.

Rosenbluth was happy to see the work of his team recognized, but is already looking ahead.

“Winning an award was nice, but people like me don’t believe they do ‘great things’, and are never satisfied with what they’ve done – I’m always moving on to the next better thing,” he said.

“The thing that has always been most rewarding to me is the thrill you get when you first turn something on – and it works. The first taste I got of that was during my thesis project at New College, late one night in the science building. I’ve been pursuing those “It’s alive!” moments ever since, and I’ve been lucky enough to get myself into a position to do so time and time again as a career.”