BAR HARBOR—Mount Desert Island High School and University of Maine graduate Jefferson Hobbs is among the winners of this year’s Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
The award was given to iZotope, a software company in Cambridge, Mass., where the Bar Harbor native has worked for nine years. The nod was specifically for the development of the company’s RX sound processing software.
About 20 years ago, a couple of MIT students launched the iZotope company for audio, music and post-production, which, according to Hobbs, has been growing ever since. “I joined the company nine years ago, right around the time of RX1 and now we’re on RX8,” said Hobbs.
“The iZotope team makes software that is used in the movie studios to fix audio. We’re able to remove background noise and allow people to use the dialog that was recorded on set versus going back to rerecord it,” Hobbs said. He noted that the RX software is also used for music recordings when it “can take audio and break it apart into pieces so people can extract vocals or dialogue out of recordings for modification.”
Hobbs, who is a senior software engineer and RX team lead, along with his team at iZotope, earned an Emmy award for the same RX audio repair technology software in 2019. “We were the first company to receive two Emmy awards,” he said.
Due to the pandemic, this year’s Scientific and Technical Achievement ceremony was streamed completely online. “I watched the awards with my family on my couch in a t-shirt and jeans,” said Hobbs. iZotope engineer Alexey Lukin and CEO Mark Ethier attended the virtual ceremony to accept the award on behalf of the company’s broad team of employees.
Since there are many individual components to software, Hobbs explained the company is able to solve difficult audio problems by working as a team.
“The awards are given to the team as a whole that works on it. We’re passionate about fixing audio. Some of us are musicians so we bring that passion to work and
we try to really accomplish solutions for what people are having out there,” he said.