Pierre Chabert, inventor of the lighting balloon and president/CEO of Airstar Space Lighting, will receive an Academy Award for technical achievement on March 1. The award is specifically given for "the introduction of balloons with internal light sources to provide lighting for the motion picture industry."
Although Airstar's balloons are not brand new, according toe awards administration director Rich Miller, achievements in scientific and technical awards do not have to be introduced in 2002 and, in fact, are considered only "if they have a proven track record for showcasing successful, repeated use in the film industry."
Chabert launched Airstar in 1994 in France. Since then, the company has developed a family of lighting balloon products that are inflated with helium and air and feature internal lighting systems with tungsten-halogen and HMI discharge lamps. The company's involvement in the film indusy came in 1996 when Airstar was commissioned to light the nighttime shots of James Cameron's Titanic in Rosarita Beach, Mexico. Since then, the company's products have been used in the production of many films, photo shoots, videos, and commercials.