The history of the sound in the cinema

The history of the sound in the cinema

By @ALVY - 14 AUGUST 2014

It is worth relaxing awhile with this documentary of John Hess, graduate The history of the sound in the cinema, where the shallow one and highly interesting revision does to the technology of the sound that the cinematographic industry has come using from his beginning.

The history includes from the first tests and experiments with sound - which which was not including the human voice - off ends of the XIXth to first " movies spoken " that would come little later. Thomas A. Edison and other inventors of the epoch, as Eadweard Muybridge, worked on adapting the gramophone and other devices to incorporate sound into the images in movement, without great success. Up to this moment it was much more suitable to lead to a complete orchestra to the room and to do that the prominent figures "were" "speaking" by means of written cartels.

The principal problems of the sound in the cinema were two: to support the synchrony and later to amplify the sound in order that it could be heard in a room - for not speaking about others at which the maximum time for disc of gramophone they were in the habit of being approximately 5 minutes. Ironically, some inventors (included Edison) were thinking that the business of the movies was in the street machines of coins as personal entertainment, not in the big cinemas, and that therefore only was necessary to solve part of these problems.

In that epoch brilliant name of inventions stays as the Zoopraxiscope, the kinetófono or the fonocineteatro. If they you do not sound of anything, it is because they did not obtain it. In the epoch of the Great Depression one started using system called Tri-Ergon invented by three Germans in 1919, which was incorporating the sound as a band in the wings of the own photographic movie. This was simplifying the matter of the synchronization. And using a pipe of radio invented a bit before for Lee de Forest the effect obtained amplifier. Technical decisive problems!

Since then the full-length films. there have begun to incorporate prominent figures who were speaking as part of the argument, not as mere tests - or as part of the newscasters of the epoch. The first one was The singer of Jazz (1927) - who curiously was combining songs with signs for the dialogs. [Update: Johnny wrote to us it brings over of a short on the very same Conchita Piquer dated in 1923, though filed as if out of 1927.]

The rest is a history: the people began to come in mass to the cinemas and in record time the mute cinema would fall down in the oblivion. The lesson was costly: he supposed approximately 300 million dollars of the epoch, almost five times the valuation of this industry in that moment; the necessary thing to renew the systems of records, assembly, copy and distribution, to equip the rooms of the theatres, to renew the employments of the technical personnel and up to the customs of the own actors - who before were more caresses that actors like them we know nowadays. Does someone see parallelisms in this history with others related to the " new technologies “?

The last part of the documentary is dedicated to the most recent systems: from the 50s the innovations have been great in the different formats and it is interesting to see when each one arose: Fantasy (1940) of Disney was the first movie "multichannel" (in other words: "estéreo"; named Fantasound for the occasion); the Cinerama was offering already in 1952 a total of 7 channels; the system of reduction of noise Dolby was invented in 1966, and made début with The mechanical orange in 1971; It has borne a star (1976) already was using the Dolby Stereo and 4 channels; when it was used in Star Wars (1977) he supposed his point of maturity; the certification THX came in 1983 and the Dolby Digital in 1992 with Batman Returns - though the information continued going printed in the photographic movie. Other Dolbys like the DTS and the SDDS used for the first time in Jurassic Park (1993) already in format 7.1 (overcoming for the first time the primitive Cinerama.

The future? The Japanese television, NHK already possesses a room of tests in which movies of definition project 8K with sound surround 22.1 - must not be seen bad a movie of action there.

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