Now that we've seen bluescreen technology abused in the recent Star Wars prequels, it might be more difficult for some people to appreciate Arthur Widmer, who died of cancer at 92 on May 28. In the 1950s while working for Warner Brothers, Widmer developed the Ultra Violet Travelling Matte process, which would evolve into bluescreen (and greenscreen, orangescreen, etc.); one of the first films to use his techniques was 1958's The Old Man and the Sea.

Widmer received a special lifetime achievement Academy Award in 2005, mostly for his work with bluescreen, but also for helping develop 3-D, widescreen, and other special effects for Warner and, later, Universal. Before his time at the studios, he also worked on film processes at Kodak. He retired in 1979.

As the summer movie season is upon us, it is hard to ignore Widmer's influence. How many movies playing in the next few months use blue screen? A lot. Some might say we depend on it too much. But without this technology, many of our favorite movies of the past 30 years would not have been possible.
categories Movies, Cinematical