Thursday, February 21, 2013
Celebrating Petro Vlahos, father of modern visual effects
Vlahos's initial uses of the bluescreen were fairly tame, allowing Charlton Heston to race chariots in Ben-Hur or letting Dick Van Dyke dance with animated penguins in Mary Poppins. Nowadays, entire sets are constructed from chroma key backdrops, and most video editing software supports some form of greenscreen technology. Vlahos's work has been improved over the years but remains conceptually unchanged from his original idea 73 years ago.
It would be ridiculous to list every movie that uses some form of Vlahos's chroma key technology, as it would probably include every major film of the last half-century. Instead, here are a few movies to which Petro Vlahos directly lent his visual effects wizardry. Each one of these won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.
Ben-Hur – HU DVD 3857
Mary Poppins – HU DVD 7850
The Thief of Bagdad: An Arabian Fantasy – HU DVD 8101