The Aussie That Baffled The World Education Worksheet
Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary
EDUCATION DESCRIPTION: The Aussie That Baffled The World
While you may not know the name Jim Frazier, you’ve probably already seen through his eyes. He’s the man who made Spielberg’s dinosaurs seem real in The Lost World, and who made James Cameron’s Titanic seem to be truly sinking. One of only two Australians to have won an Oscar and an Emmy Award, Jim’s 'impossible lens' has paved the way for much of the world's cutting-edge optics technology, revolutionising human endeavour in fields as diverse as fighter-jet flying, heart surgery, surveillance and entertainment. But after the highs of global accolades, career success and creative freedom, his world collapsed in the face of unwinnable corporate lawsuits and the hijacking of his patented invention. Derided for 'breaking the laws of physics', his is a cautionary tale, enhanced with exclusive interviews from Academy Award winning film-makers, top-notch wildlife cinematographers, inventors and optical innovators.
TEACHER BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Welcome to the world of optical technology, where the stakes are high, the business cutthroat and the players not all they seem. Enter Jim Frazier, naïve Australian genius who invents a new lens that appears to break the laws of physics. Using a prototype to make Web of Intrigue, a film about spiders, Frazier wins an Emmy Award and is suddenly on centre stage.
Hollywood-based Panavision, the world's biggest film equipment company, wants the lens and signs an exclusive deal with Frazier. Before long he's propelled to stardom and international acclaim. Then comes the fall. Frustrated competitors find a tiny legal glitch in the video shot for the patent, bringing Frazier completely unstuck. Panavision sidesteps, hanging Frazier out to dry. In an unexpected turn of events, Frazier's "golden knight" appears and finds a way to restore Frazier's reputation, career and peace of mind.
The Frazier lens solved the universal limitations of depth of field by keeping the foreground and background in focus simultaneously. Additionally, its small size gives more flexibility to photographers and cinematographers. The lens has far wider applications than the screen industry, particularly in security and covert operations.
So much more than a rollicking good yarn about a brilliant Australian inventor, this documentary tracks the peaks and troughs of Frazier's creation of a depth of field lens that baffled the experts, changed wildlife documentaries forever and is still affecting our daily lives. In doing so, it showcases some of the best natural history footage ever shot and delves into the mysterious realm of cutting edge optical technology.
Junior Secondary Curriculum
The science curriculum provides opportunities for students to develop understandings about science and its processes, the scope of its contributions to our culture and society, and its applications in our daily lives. The science curriculum addresses the diverse needs of Australian students by providing them with scientific knowledge, understandings and skills to make informed and responsible personal, social, technological and environmental decisions that impact at the local, national and global levels and to participate, if they so wish, in science-rich careers.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Rationale
Senior Secondary Curriculum
Artists generate representations of their reality from an idea, an intention, an expressive or imaginative impulse or a stimulus by using the elements of the art form. They realize their creation as artwork, by using the instruments, media and materials in the processes and practices of that art form, to create new configurations of meaning for communicating to audiences.
Australian Arts Curriculum 2010: Defining the Arts
In undertaking these tasks, students of Science will develop:
• an ability to communicate their scientific understandings and findings to a range of audiences, to justify their own ideas on the basis of evidence, and to evaluate and debate scientific arguments and claims whilst respecting alternative viewpoints and beliefs
• an ability to solve problems and make informed, evidence-based decisions about current and future applications of science while taking into account moral, ethical and social implications
• an understanding of historical and cultural aspects of science as well as contemporary science issues and activities and an understanding of the diversity of careers related to science.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Aims
In undertaking these tasks, students of Media Arts will:
• become more aware of the cultural, social and ethical implications of their own, and others' media production
• engage with questions about how media and popular culture operates within national and global political, regulatory and market structures
• learn about various media histories and institutional practices
Australian Arts Curriculum 2010: Media Arts learning in Years 11-12
STUDENT LEARNING TASKS
Do some Internet research to help write 20-word definitions of the following terms:
• Reflected light
• Refracted light
• Optical technology
• Depth of field
In about 75 words, describe the three revolutionary features of the Panavision Frazier lens.
Write 100 words to describe how the Frazier lens, originally intended for the film industry, has transformed security cameras and covert surveillance operations.
Imagine you have designed a brilliant new invention that will revolutionise an area of human endeavour. First of all, you need to patent your idea. Do some research to help answer the following questions to find out what steps you must take:
• What is a patent?
• Who issues patents in Australia?
• Where is this organisation based?
• What are the four criteria your invention must satisfy in order to comply with the requirements?
• What is a 'no frills' patent, and how does it differ from a standard patent?
Write a 150-word biography of Jim Frazier in which you mention the following:
• Where he came from
• His educational background
• Five natural history and three feature films he has worked on
• Awards he has won
• His contribution to human endeavour
Define what is meant by depth of field. In about 100 words, explain why depth of field is important to photography and cinematography.
Jim Frazier tells a story about taking his cameras from his air conditioned accommodation in Borneo into the humid, outside air. Write about 100 words to describe what happened to his equipment, how he fixed the problem and what should be done to protect photographic/filming equipment in this type of temperature and moisture variation.
Do some Internet research to find out the names and release dates of three documentary and three feature films that Jim Frazier contributed to. Then choose one of these films and write a couple of paragraphs to describe what kind of contribution he and/or hid equipment made.
The film industry relies heavily on technology during the creative process. Explain in 150 words how the Frazier lens works, how Jim Frazier contributed to the advancement of the film industry through the development of his 'impossible lens' and name at least two of its wider applications.
Write 200 words to describe what happened between Jim Frazier, Panavision and the US legal system regarding the patent of his 'impossible lens'. Add a paragraph to explain what you would do to prevent a similar outcome if you ever patented an invention.