Petro Vlahos, the visual effects pioneer who created the green and blue-screen has passed away, aged 96. He was responsible developing the techniques used for the visual treats in Mary Poppins and Ben Hur.
Although the process of blue-screen originally went back to 1940, but when Vlahos created the company Ulimatte with his son Paul, he changed the way it was used by inventing the colour-difference travelling matte scheme. It took the blue-screen technique from the likes of The Thief Of Bagdad (1940) and changed to film scenes against an aquamarine blue-coloured background.
This is then used to generate a matte – which is transparent wherever the blue-colour features on the original film, and opaque elsewhere. This can then be used to superimpose a separately filmed scene or visual effects to create a composite. Mr Vlahos’s discovery was via a rather complicated lab process which separates the blue, green and red parts of »
- Dan Bullock
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