Early Movie Audio

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Sonik Wiz

👂 500 MPH EARS 👂
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In my own little brain, there are two landmark events in motion picture soundtracks that stand out. One is Disney's Fantasound created for the Fantasia movie. The other is related to movie audio more as we know it being actually two events: The Who's Tommy in Quintaphonic and Lucas's Star Wars. Before that there was a vague overlapping time when most movies were in simple stereo. I never really gave thought of the evolutionary aspect of history that brought us to those points.

I was watching a 1930's something movie on TCM and the credits read "Western Electric Noiseless Recording." I'm always interested in how ancient techniques are the precursor to modern technology. So of course I did the google.

I found a lengthy but excellent article about much more than just the WE stuff. Some highlights I learned:

🔹There was great resistance to implementing sound for movies. Many people considered dialogue as text being the universal form of this communication. Easily translatable & edited to any language.

🔹Before electronic audio with movies they used mega-microphones & recorded sound acoustically on records. To be loosely synced up manually when projected.

🔹The invention of the Audion tube by De Forest ushered in an era of extraordinary innovation & proliferation of audio formats for film.

🔹One example of the above is doing the entire soundtrack in the studio, like ADR today, recording on disc with synchronizing blips on the film. Much like dts cinema at one time.

🔹Western Electric Noiseless Recording was not.

Brief History of Early Sound in Motion Pictures
 

Sonik Wiz

👂 500 MPH EARS 👂
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Thanks for the post that was good to read.

I esp liked the specifications chart of the various film audio formats. I remember in the early days of HT many peoples goal was to recreate movie theater sound at home. Maybe they should have tried rolling off the high end more & adding a few percent more distortion. :sneaky: But then, esp with the advent of digital audio folks realized it could be much better than at the local cineplex.
 
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