He invented the Schüfftan process, a special effects technique that employed mirrors to insert actors into miniature sets. One of the first uses of the process was for Metropolis (1927), directed by Fritz Lang. The technique was widely used throughout the first half of the 20th century until it was supplanted by the travelling matte and bluescreen techniques.
Schüfftan won the 1962 Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White for his work on the film The Hustler.
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