The Masters of Compositing Series – Part 2: Paul Vlahos

Co-founder of Ultimatte and developer of modern compositing technologies.

This is the second in a series of interviews with the pioneers and masters in the compositing/VFX film & television industry. I originally recorded these interviews for my published book “The Green Screen Handbook” (Sybex/Wiley, pub) and had intended to produce one full-length documentary from the materials. But after a couple of years past now, I thought they would be better served as individual parts of a series to help educate and inform people about these historic times from the early days of VFX compositing through modern-day techniques.

Previously: Click Here to view Part 1 of the series, Petro Vlahos

The Masters of Compositing Series – Part 2: Paul Vlahos

Co-founder of Ultimatte and developer of modern compositing technologies.

Paul Vlahos, son of Petro Vlahos and co-founder of Ultimatte Corp. in 1976 and continues as CEO. Paul founded iMatte Inc. in 2000 and serves as CEO. He has made many inventions over the years have resulted in over twenty patents. Besides the Ultimatte matting devices used in the broadcast industry Paul pioneered the Virtual Studio in 1989. In 1993 Paul revolutionized the motion picture industry with the first software to win an Oscar. The KnockOut matte extraction software changed the print graphics industry in 1999. iMatte has introduced Sightdeck, a unique production, distance collaboration display system, which you can see in-person at NAB in April in Las Vegas.

Paul's contributions to both Ultimatte and iMatte continue to create ground-breaking innovation and technological landmarks in the visual entertainment and business/communications industries.

About iMatte:

iMatte, Inc. emerged in mid-2000 to take advantage of technologies that empower communicators in a far more effective manner than ever before.

iMatte's strong roots and foundation is the award-winning technology company, Ultimatte Corp., the world's recognized leader in sophisticated matte extraction and compositing tools for the film, video and graphics communities. Founded by Petro and Paul Vlahos in 1976, Ultimatte provides real-time hardware and computer software products, allowing industry specialists the ability to create completely seamless film effects in motion pictures and virtual studios for broadcasters.

The industry has recognized the achievements made by Ultimatte, its Founders and team members with various awards, including:
An Oscar® in 1964 for Blue Screen Compositing Technology and the Sodium Vapor Light Matte Extraction Technology (used at Disney); second Oscar® in 1995 for Ultimatte's first software product, Cinefusion – Television Emmy in 1978 for Ultimatte Compositing Technology – Oscar® Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994, Presented to Petro Vlahos from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Paul Vlahos realized the potential of taking the technologies he helped to develop at Ultimatte and enhance them for the digital and e-commerce age. His vision energized key associates at Ultimatte to join him in the establishment of iMatte to undertake this new direction. iMatte is developing immersive presentation technologies that easily enable the presenter to interact directly with the graphics and collaborating presenters to create more compelling learning experiences.

I was fortunate to sit and interview both Petro & Paul on the same day while they also shared some of the new technology they were developing for iMatte. I've been working with Ultimatte in their software development primarily, since the early 90's and am always inspired when I get a chance to visit and see what's new in development.

I hope you are as inspired watching this interview and learning about some of the history of the technology we now take for granted in our everyday production workflow!


SEE ALSO in this series:

Part 1: Petro Vlahos

Part 3: John Galt

Jeff Foster is a published author of several how-to books and training videos in the motion graphics, animation and video production industries and is an award-winning video producer and artist. Visit his web site to learn more about his training methods, tips & tricks at PixelPainter.com

Learn more about compositing, motion tracking, roto, green screen and more with Jeff's video workshops!


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Jeff Foster has written and contributed to several books and magazines, and has been producing motion graphics, photography and creative design for major corporations, television and film for more than 25 years. See his full…