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Ira Tiffen has been working with glass for over forty years, developing specialized optics for film and television production, and still photography.

His efforts have earned him a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as well as a Prime-Time Emmy Award, from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. A creative innovator, Ira holds several patents on photographic accessory designs; he is also author of the filter section of the American Cinematographer Manual. He is an associate member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) and an elected Fellow of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE).

While retaining his interest in the imaging world, Ira is now employing his unique capabilities in pursuing his long-held passion for creating art glass.

Read more below.

Photograph of Artist by Jeannie Chapkowski

Professional Experience

More than 30 years creating optical solutions for the photographic, broadcast television and motion picture imaging markets.

Formal Education:

Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering, New York University, 1973

Selected Accomplishments:

  • Invented the most important optical filter effects of the past 30 years --innovations that are used in the majority of motion picture and television productions worldwide- including Pro-Mist®, Soft/FX®, Ultra Contrast, Color-Grad®, Diffusion/FX, Glimmerglass, Smoque, Cool and Monochrome Day-For-Night, Vector Star, LL-D®

  • Wrote the ‘Camera Filters’ section of the ASC standard reference publication, “American Cinematographer Manual,” both film and video editions (through several revisions)

  • Awarded four patents in camera accessory design:

         6,820,844- Tripod handle arrangement
         D339,599- Camera accessory
         5,105,312- Lens mount accessory system
         5,040,011- Self-mounted camera accessories

  • Designed, built and implemented specialized equipment for optical filter manufacturing

  • Contributing optical design consultant for Disney Imagineering in development of unique elements of Times Square Studios (where “Good Morning America” originates) (1999)

  • Created unique product design approach to glare elimination from computer monitors (EZ-See, 1985)

  • Developed specialized optics for military flight training simulators for Hughes Aircraft, General Dynamics, Rockwell, General Electric, others (1984-1992)

  • Collaborated on development of mass-produced holographic display images, including embossed and injection-molded plastic (1980)

  • Collaborated on production of three signed and numbered laminated glass holographic art editions, of 250 each, by the important Israeli artist, Agam, commissioned by the Times Mirror Corp. of Los Angeles (1980-81)

  • Awards and Commendations:

  • Scientific and Technical Award (Technical Achievement Award) from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (1992)
  • Prime Time Emmy Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (1998)
  • Elected Associate Member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC)(1992)
  • Elected Fellow of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (2002)
  • Honorary Doctorate from Columbia College ( (1996)