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Re: [ARSCLIST] Recording Innovations

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention that the original motion picture sound tracks ("The Jazz Singer" (1927), "Lights of New York" (1928), for example) were on transcription disks, from what I've read.   How did they keep them in sync given the variances of normal disk recordings changing pitch, length, etc. from beginning to end?  I would guess synchonous motors would be the answer with bi-phase control.

This is the description given in Wikipedia: "The term Sound-on-disc refers to a class of sound film processes using a phonograph or other disc to record or playback sound in sync with a motion picture. Early sound-on-disc systems used a mechanical interlock with the film projector....
early systems with the film projector linked to a phonograph, developed by Thomas Edison (Kinetaphone, Kinetaphonograph), Selig Polyscope, French companies such as Gaumont (Chronomegaphone and Chronophone) and Pathe, and British systems..... Phono-Kinema (some sources say Photo-Kinema) was a sound-on-disc system for motion pictures invented by Orlando Kellum. The system was used for a small number of short films, mostly made in 1921."  

From the various descriptions, the sound quality of earlier "experiments" didn't come up to the later commercial enterprises.

Rod Stephens

--- On Wed, 6/24/09, Anthony Baldwin <jazztrash@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> From: Anthony Baldwin <jazztrash@xxxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Recording Innovations
> To: ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2009, 10:48 PM
> ... 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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