talking pictures

September 24th, 2010

 

The electric method of sound reproduction had created a new ways of communication not just through technology of recorded sound on the radio but was able to bring together sound and image for the very first time.  This led to a new entertainment industry  not in the talking machine but in the very profitable motion pictures.    How did motion picturs become syncronized?

As we all know by 1922 talking pictures were available to film makers.  They had everything  they needed for electric recording such as amplification of sound, microphones, and of course the reproduction in theatres from the loudspeakers. The only problem that still existed was syncronization.  To achieve  this goal two people were hired Henry Stroller and Harry Pfannenstiehl.  These two individuals were experts who worked for Western Electric where they learned speed control and how to syncronize electric motors. Those techniques were develop through extensive research using telegraphy and by exchanging pictures over wires. Would this method work in motion pictures?

  Henry Stoller and Harry Pfannenstiehl decided to use two separate electric motors to achieve this goal.  The 2 motors controlled the film camera and the disc recorder.  They put them in the same circuit to create syncronization. It was a success. For the very first time  there was sound in short movies and it lasted for the require 10 minutes to film which was key in filming.

   As you can see syncronization in motion pictures  created  a new form of sound in the movies that made a lot of people rich.  This changed the entertainment industry forever.  Can you picture movies without sound today? I could not watch movies without sound because its boring. In one of my classes I had to watch the movie Metropolis (1941) which had no sound in the background. I was bored and could not wait until the movie ended.  Syncronization  changed the music and motion picture business forever.  I leave you with this question What would music videos be like without sound or watching a horror movie without the scary music in the background, or TV be like with no sound today?

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2 Responses to “talking pictures”

  1. Amy Herzog on September 26, 2010 10:59 pm

    I’m in complete agreement about the significance of sound in cinema. One thing to bear in mind, though– “silent” films (from the pre-1927 era) were almost never truly silent. The audience viewed the films with live musical accompaniment, and this accompaniment could be very interpretive and creative. Many jazz musicians got their start working as film accompanists (Fats Waller, for example).
    Lots of great reflections so far!

  2. Marty Chesick on March 19, 2012 9:47 am

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