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Re: [ARSCLIST] Recording Innovations

... And it would be interesting to establish how many of these supposed "Hollywood" developments were kick-started by the early-1930s technical and artistic diaspora from Berlin studios such as UFA, where, say, lip-synching to a backing track for musical numbers was fully in place by 1931.

Tony B

On 25 Jun 2009, at 1:04, Tom Fine wrote:

What they were doing in Hollywood, from the early days, was recording different aspects of the final soundtrack on different bits of film and then mixing together from motor-sync'd playback to a final sound master. There were crude mixing consoles from early in the electronic recording days, too. One specific example I was told about, and I'll ask the guy for the film title because I don't remember it, was the final music was mixed from three optical elements, one made from each microphone, with each microphone focused on a different musician or group of musicians. This would be very similar to live-in-the-studio multi-tracking. They were also able to pre-record music tracks very early, so a singer on film would be singing against a playback. And lip-sync'ing and indeed orchestra play-sync'ing were developed early on, too. By the early 1930's, Western Electric (and probably others) had developed amplifier and mixer-network systems allowing for mixing many different sound elements into a final soundtrack. Also, the whole idea of "stem" mixes came out of Hollywood, a way to reduce many elements to a few logically organized stems for final mixdown. By the 1940s, the major studios' sound departments had big 3-person consoles for final mixing (dialog, music, sound effects). Those guys were aces, too. Think of the mono soundtracks for some of the big musical pictures, that's a very complex sound universe to fit into one channel.

-- Tom Fine

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