VFX Voice

The award-winning definitive authority on all things visual effects in the world of film, TV, gaming, virtual reality, commercials, theme parks, and other new media.

Winner of three prestigious Folio Awards for excellence in publishing.

Subscribe to the VFX Voice Print Edition

Subscriptions & Single Issues

October 15


Fall 2020

Final Frame: Bitzer and Griffith – An Early Dynamic Duo

The latest advancements in film production are creating even newer alliances in what is already a highly collaborative art form – such as the one between the visual effects artist and the cinematographer. A recent example of that is Visual Effects Supervisor Rob Legato, ASC and Director of Photography Caleb Deschanel, ASC, who worked hand in hand on virtually every shot of The Lion King. (See story in this issue.) Such close collaboration is the result of a trend towards virtual production techniques and tools. One of the earliest film production ‘dynamic duos’ was director D.W. Griffith and cinematographer Billy Bitzer. This pair began collaborating in 1908 and worked together until 1929. Bitzer was able to work so closely with Griffith that he was able to channel Griffith’s vision with pioneering camera innovations. Bitzer’s achievements include being the first to film completely under artificial light in contrast to outside, and he was also the first to use split-screen photography and backlight. He was arguably the inventor of the close-up as well as long shots, and an innovator in advancing matte photography. Bitzer’s leading-edge techniques included the fade out and iris shot to end a scene and soft-focus photography with the aid of a diffuser. Some of the duo’s best-known works are Broken Blossoms, Way Down East, The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance. Griffith, of course, is remembered for developing the language of film with certain kinds of camera shots and lighting to give a narrative more mood and tension, which is what he and Bitzer worked together to develop.

Share this post with

Most Popular Stories

The Miniature Models of <strong>BLADE RUNNER</strong>
02 October 2017
Final Frame
The Miniature Models of BLADE RUNNER
In 1982, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner set a distinctive tone for the look and feel of many sci-fi future film noirs to come, taking advantage of stylized production design, art direction and visual effects work.
Converting a Classic: How Stereo D Gave <strong>TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY</strong> a 3D Makeover
24 August 2017
Final Frame
Converting a Classic: How Stereo D Gave TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY a 3D Makeover
James Cameron loves stereo. He took full advantage of shooting in native 3D on Avatar, and has made his thoughts clear in recent times about the importance of shooting natively in stereo when possible...
The New <strong>Artificial Intelligence</strong> Frontier of VFX
20 March 2019
Final Frame
The New Artificial Intelligence Frontier of VFX
The new wave of smart VFX software solutions utilizing A.I.
How to Start a <strong>VFX Studio</strong>
01 October 2019
Final Frame
How to Start a VFX Studio
Four new VFX studios (CVD VFX, Mavericks VFX, Outpost VFX, Future Associate) share their startup stories
02 August 2017
Final Frame
Among the many creatures and aliens showcased in Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets are members of the Pearl, a beautiful...