Gottfried Wilhelm “Billy” Bitzer (April 21, 1874 – April 29, 1944) was a pioneering cinematographer notable for his close association with D. W. Griffith.
Bitzer provided assistance during Griffith’s directorial debut, 1908’s The Adventures of Dollie, which was shot by Arthur Marvin. He eventually succeeded Marvin as Griffith’s regular cinematographer, working with him on some of his most important films and contributing significantly to cinematic innovations attributed to Griffith.
In 1910, he photographed Griffith’s silent short, In Old California, in the Los Angeles village of “Hollywoodland”, qualifying Bitzer as, arguably, Hollywood’s first Director of Photography.
In 2003, a survey conducted by the International Cinematographers Guild named him one of the ten most influential cinematographers in history. Bitzer, it is said, “developed camera techniques that set the standard for all future motion pictures.”
Among Bitzer’s innovations were read morethe fade…