Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Remembering Vladimír Novotný

Vladimír Novotný was born on Ocotber 14, 1914 in Tábor, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary. He grew up with his older brotherAntonín [1913-2005], who later became an actor. Vladimír went to grammar school in Tabor and, at the end of the 1920s, the family moved to Prague. Here as a seventeen year old student participated in 1931 along with his brother Anthony in auditioning for roles as extras in the film “Před maturitou” (1932) by Director Svatopluk Innemann. He played a tiny role as one of about 25 students. Antonín helped bankroll the film so he was given a major role.
After a few more small roles he became interested in photography and cameras. In 1933 he became an assistant cameramen to Karla Degla and Vaclava Vich (1933-1936). During military service he filmed with George Hansel movies in the military environment. Later he founded with Joseph Vácha studio trick film AFIT. In this work he filmed headlines and prepared trick shots for feature films. During the occupation, the studio took over the firm Pragfilm. After the war he worked with Jiří Trnka on animated films, he also filmed various short documentaries and cultural images, and from 1947-1948 he was an assistant cameraman to John Roth.
He became a director of photography and cinematographer in the 1950s where he filmed his only euro-western “Lemonade Joe” (1964).
Novotný also worked as a cameraman in television. He even patented a method and apparatus for transmission of stereoscopic television pictures, which was also presented at the International Television Festival in Prague in 1965. He worked with the famous Laterna Magica and in 1955 he was involved in the Czechoslovak attempt to make plastic cinema.
Since 1952 he worked as a teacher at the Prague Film Academy (FAMU led pedagogic supervision of short films Studio FAMU).
Vladimír died on April 14, 1997 in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
Today we remember cinematographer Vladimír Novotný on what would have been his 100th birthday.

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