| Norman Dawn|
| Film director|
| February 2, 1975, Santa Monica, California, United States|
For the Term of his Natural Life, Two Lost Worlds, Arctic Fury, The Adorable Outcast, Showgirl’s Luck
Eva Novak, Arthur Tauchert, Marcus Clarke, Bill Kennedy, Kasey Rogers
Norman O. Dawn (25 May 1884 in Argentina – 2 February 1975 in Santa Monica, California) was an early film director. He made several improvements on the matte shot to apply it to motion picture, and was the first director to use rear projection in cinema.
Norman Dawn Wikipedia
Dawn's first film Missions of California made extensive use of the glass shot, in which certain things are painted on a piece of glass and placed in between the camera and the live action. Many of the buildings which Dawn was filming were at least partially destroyed; by painting sections of roof or walls, the impression was made that the buildings were in fact, whole. The main difference between the glass shot and the matte shot is that with a glass shot, all filming is done with a single exposure of film.
Dawn combined his experience with the glass shot with the techniques of the matte shot. Up until this time, the matte shot was essentially a double-exposure: a section of the camera's field would be blocked with a piece of cardboard to block the exposure, the film would be rewound, and the blocked part would also be shot in live action. Dawn instead used pieces of glass with sections painted black (which was more effective at absorbing light than cardboard), and transferred the film to a second, stationary camera rather than merely rewinding the film. The matte painting was then drawn to exactly match the proportion and perspective to the live action shot. The low cost and high quality of Dawn's matte shot made it the mainstay in special effects cinema throughout the century.
Dawn patented his invention on 11 June 1918 and sued for infringement of the patent three years later. The co-defendants, matte artists who included Ferdinand Pinney Earle and Walter Percy Day, counter-sued, claiming that the technique of masking images and double exposure had long been traditional in the industry, a legal battle which Dawn ultimately lost.
Dawn worked in Australia for a number of years, directing a big-budget adaptation of the classic novel For the Term of His Natural Life (1927), and a musical, Showgirl's Luck (1931).
A partial list of Dawn's films may be found at the Internet Movie Database. Here are some additional films not mentioned at IMDB:Missions of California: 1907
Gypsy Love: 1910
Women of Toba: 1910
Story of the Andes: 1911
Ghost of Thunder Mountain: 1912
Man of the West: 1912
The Drifter: 1913
Two Men of Tinted Butte: 1914
Oriental Love: 1916
The Girl in the Dark: 1917
Sinbad the Sailor: 1917
The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin: 1917
Danger, Go Slow: 1918
A Tokyo Siren: 1920
The Vermilion Pencil: 1922
For the Term of His Natural Life: 1927
Showgirl's Luck (1931)
Orphans of the North (1940)
There is a Norman O. Dawn collection in the Ransom Collection of the University of Texas, Austin.
'*'According with the book Special Effects: The History and Technique (RICKITT, Richard Ed. Watson-Guptill Publications, [s.l], 2000), page 190, Norman O. Dawn was born in a Bolivian Railroad Camp. Bolivia not Argentina.