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Petro Vlahos, Inventor Of Blue- And Green-Screen Technology, Dies

The concept was first used for “Ben Hur,” back in 1959, and won him an Oscar for “Mary Poppins,” five years later.

Petro Vlahos, Inventor Of Blue- And Green-Screen Technology, Dies

The man who introduced blue- and green-screen technology to Hollywood is dead. Petro Vlahos pioneered the concept, which lets directors superimpose live action over a pre-recorded background over five decades ago. “All visual effects professionals and movie fans owe him a debt of gratitude,” said Everett Burrell, senior visual effects supervisor at Look Effects. “It’s hard to even conceive of how we would do what we do without the amazing number of processes and techniques he pioneered.”

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Although the technology was not new when Valhos started to use it–it had been seen before in The Thief of Baghdad and The Ten Commandments, his firm, Ultimatte, made the process much more realistic. Vlahos, who was 96 when he died, was awarded many patents for the techniques he invented in his laboratory, including the one which won him an Oscar, teaming up live action with cartoons on Mary Poppins.

[Image by Flickr user Silver Circle Movie]

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My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.

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