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TommygunZA

Keeping current and abreast of new techniques

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I think its always important to stay abreast of the latest happenings and technology in film so with that in mind I bought this...it is actually fascinating reading. I really like the bits on sound perspective and also that the sound recordist was responsible for the photography of sound onfilm (so had to have knowledge of developing and film) and also that often hiss on old tracks was due to  silver bromide crystals not being washed out properly.                              

IMG_4105.JPG

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Cool.  Those early recordists had a really impossible task and had to be serious engineers to make that gear work at all.  Yes, the actors then were all from theatre and SPOKE UP ALL THE TIME, but having had the opportunity to record optical sound in the field at the start of my career (Auricon Cine-Voice 1 !)  I can say that it was a huge battle all the time to get anything intelligible, let alone good-sounding.  I can bet that guys on this cat's level WERE dialed into the chemistry of optical track developing and printing--that was their edge.  But I can't quite figure out what the dude in the picture is doing?  Riding a rock?

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I was very lucky to get to meet an ILM Optical Printer a few days ago. We talked for some time. He was a super nice guy and told me lots of stories that made my head spin. 

 

Here are some pics. I feel this was in my opinion the best era of film making. 

 

ILM.tech-OpticalPrinter.004.jpgILM-Workhorse-Optical-Printer.jpgILM.tech-OpticalPrinter.001.jpg

 

 

 

In the late 1980s, digital compositing began to supplant optical effects. By the mid-nineties, computer graphics had evolved to rival and surpass what was possible with optical printers, and many now consider optical printing all but obsolete.[5] Improvements in film scanners and recordersallow for a complete feature film to be processed by computers, have special effects applied, and then be processed back to film.

Today, optical printing is mostly used as an artistic tool by experimental film makers, for educational purposes, or for photochemical (as opposed to digital) film restoration. As a technique, it is particularly useful for making copies of hand painted or physically manipulated film.

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I think its Peter Lorre, looking perpetually shifty, in Crime and Punishment (1935). I think he may be trying to hide behind the rock. 

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2 hours ago, Dalton Patterson said:

I was very lucky to get to meet an ILM Optical Printer a few days ago. We talked for some time. He was a super nice guy and told me lots of stories that made my head spin.

It's crazy how hands on processes back then were vs today with computers.  I've come to know title designer Dan Perri of "The Star Wars Intro Crawl" fame / about a million other features and the stories he has about how long it would take to accomplish today's menial tasks is remarkable.  I think it was about the 35th time was the charm when it came to getting the sign off on the Star Wars logo for instance...

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In the SF area there are still a lot of ILM photo-chemical vets working, people who spent years managing rigs like the Tondreu and other early computer-controlled tracking rigs used to fly cameras by models, often doing multiple passes on the same piece of film to save the resolution loss of film compositing.  I did a little of it, it felt like slow death and I scurried back to location work.  Not work for people with short attention-spans.

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12 minutes ago, Philip Perkins said:

  Not work for people with short attention-spans.

 

Exactly the way I feel about music editing.  I just don't have the temperament for it, and because I don't/won't do it, when I do, it's even slower than a death crawl. :)

 

D.

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Sorry to hi-jack this thread.

So with all this talk of optical printing, who thinks "MOS" means Missing Optical Stripe and not what we have all come to learn over the years?

 

Bill

 

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Totally Bil!

 

On an American drama I recorded in the mid 80's, if there was no sound on a shot at rushes

the director and the producers would all shout out "where's the track!"

 

mike

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7 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

Cool.  Those early recordists had a really impossible task and had to be serious engineers to make that gear work at all.  Yes, the actors then were all from theatre and SPOKE UP ALL THE TIME, but having had the opportunity to record optical sound in the field at the start of my career (Auricon Cine-Voice 1 !)  I can say that it was a huge battle all the time to get anything intelligible, let alone good-sounding.  I can bet that guys on this cat's level WERE dialed into the chemistry of optical track developing and printing--that was their edge.  But I can't quite figure out what the dude in the picture is doing?  Riding a rock?

I have a couple of copies of that book-will have to take a closer look at the “Crime and Punishment” photo. An apt description of working in the realm of optical sound back in the day!

 

Silver bromide crystals in the developer were only just a small sampling of all the issues that could come up. Even assuming that your track was properly exposed, in focus, and not over-modulated, there were still lab issues to deal with like processing gamma, printer slip, and cross-mod distortion. The original Western Electric manuals have at least 50 pages devoted to stringing and calibrating the light valve.

 

Given the rudimentary equipment those guys dealt with, it’s amazing that it worked at all. (Not to mention that, prior to 1951 or so, you also risked torching yourself due to the nitrate base film!) 

 

And yeah, you had to know what the hell you were doing as a recordist. A very unforgiving medium for sure.

 

-Scott

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On 7/25/2018 at 3:22 PM, Sound Intuition said:

Sorry to hi-jack this thread.

So with all this talk of optical printing, who thinks "MOS" means Missing Optical Stripe and not what we have all come to learn over the years?

 

Bill

 

Minus Optical Stripe (or strip) is what I thought it was?

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19 hours ago, Izen Ears said:

Minus Optical Stripe (or strip) is what I thought it was?

I agree with Dan.That’s what I always heard when asking my mentors about the origin of MOS.

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Ah, the last great mystery of the early motion picture world.  It will never be proven one way or the other but makes for a continued fabulous story.  I always loved the Otto Preminger story myself.

 

D.

Otto-Preminger.png

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... likewise, I hadn't even realised there were alternatives to Mit Out Sound ... but then we here in England all learnt Nagra IS as being Idioten System. Why, you'd think we liked nothing better than making fun of the Germans. Long live the 48% ...

 

J

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