John Whitney was one of the earliest pioneers of computer graphics, most memorably known for his work on the opening sequence of Hitchcock’s Vertigo. But even in this educational video for IBM in 1968, the distance that computer graphics has come is startlingly clear.
Whitney’s Experiments in Motion Graphics was first published in 1968, 10 years after Vertigo first came out. It was produced as part of his fellowship with IBM, a first at the time. Whitney was no stranger to working with computers, but access to IBM’s cutting-edge systems gave him the chance to pursue his dream of integrated audio-visual motion graphics.
For a modern audience, the talk is instructional, and not just as a good foundation of how Windows XP’s music visualizer came to be—it’s also a succinct reminder of how far our filmmakers have come, and how hard modern movies rely on techniques devised a few decades ago.