Ballhaus was known for his work on Academy Award winning films "Goodfellas" and "The Departed." He also served as the Head of Jury at the 40th Berlinale Film Festival.
German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus died overnight in his home in Berlin, his publisher confirmed on Wednesday, citing information from his family. He was 81.
Ballhaus was a highly sought after cinematographer, working with German directors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Wim Wenders in the 1970s before making a name for himself in the US in the 1980s. Ballhaus himself was nominated for three Academy Awards for best cinematography in his career. His work on "Broadcast News," "The Fabulous Baker Boys," and "Gangs of New York" earned him the nods.
Ballhaus also worked on Academy Award winning films "Goodfellas" and "The Departed," both directed by Martin Scorsese. Ballhaus and Scorcese worked together on seven films over more than 20 years.
Ballhaus had a signature 360 degree tracking shot, in which the camera moves in a circle around the actor. He was also known for using the challenging "vertigo effect," where he moved the camera backwards while zooming in.
Publisher Thomas Rathnow said Ballhaus was "more than a cameraman" on Wednesday after Ballhaus' death.
"He was an artist who created unforgettable pictures in numerous films and in cooperation with the best directors of our time," said Rathnow.
kbd/ks (AFP, AP, dpa)