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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » The Afterlife   » The First Year of Stereophonic Motion Pictures

   
Author Topic: The First Year of Stereophonic Motion Pictures
Robert Furmanek
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 113
From: Clifton, NJ, USA
Registered: Jun 2012


 - posted 11-17-2015 06:24 PM      Profile for Robert Furmanek   Author's Homepage   Email Robert Furmanek       Edit/Delete Post 
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of Fantasound, I'd like to share my new article on the first year of stereophonic motion pictures. I hope that you enjoy it!

http://www.3dfilmarchive.com/the-first-year-of-stereophonic-sound

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6902
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 11-17-2015 07:38 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The first year of stereophonic sound in revenue-earning service in theaters, maybe, but not the first year. The British engineer Alan Blumlein was cutting stereo (coarsegroove) phonograph discs as early as 1931, and had successfully demonstrated SVA optical sound-on-film by 1935 (possibly a little earlier). Two of his test films survive at the British Film Institute and show very clearly that he'd got 2.0 L/R on film to work. I've seen them two or three times: the channel separation is excellent and the dynamic range is not bad, either.

But EMI (for whom Blumlein worked at the time) didn't really have any links to the theatrical movie industry and were more interested in TV research anyway, and so Blumlein's work on stereo (both for films and music recording) wasn't developed into anything commercial for another two decades, by which time Blumlein himself was gone - died in a plane accident during the war, testing an experimental radar system he helped to invent.

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Robert Furmanek
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 113
From: Clifton, NJ, USA
Registered: Jun 2012


 - posted 11-17-2015 09:06 PM      Profile for Robert Furmanek   Author's Homepage   Email Robert Furmanek       Edit/Delete Post 
Of course there were early experiments dating back to the 20's and 30's but this article is meant to focus on the breakthrough year of 1953.

There's a great deal of wrong information circulating. This article is based on research in primary source documents including studio files and trade journals. Please share

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Sam D. Chavez
Film God

Posts: 2074
From: Martinez, CA USA
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 11-18-2015 12:26 PM      Profile for Sam D. Chavez   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Great work!

Have not looked at everything but outstanding posters.

Congrats!

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Robert Furmanek
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 113
From: Clifton, NJ, USA
Registered: Jun 2012


 - posted 11-18-2015 02:56 PM      Profile for Robert Furmanek   Author's Homepage   Email Robert Furmanek       Edit/Delete Post 
Thank you, Sam!

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Steve Matz
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 672
From: Billings, Montana, USA
Registered: Sep 2003


 - posted 11-18-2015 09:16 PM      Profile for Steve Matz   Email Steve Matz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Looks like they used the Super Simplex at the Broadway Theater. I would have thought they would of been using the newer E7 Projectors with the new sound innovation ... [Razz]

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Claude S. Ayakawa
Film God

Posts: 2724
From: Waipahu, Hawaii, USA
Registered: Aug 2002


 - posted 11-18-2015 09:32 PM      Profile for Claude S. Ayakawa   Author's Homepage   Email Claude S. Ayakawa   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
THE ROBE was the first movie I had enjoyed with Stereophonic Sound when I saw it at the Kuhio Threatre in Honolulu in 1953 and I have been hooked with it ever since. During those years, I have been seeing almost all of my movies at my hometown theatre, the Waipahu and almost a year later they installed a Scope screen and Four Track Mag Stereo and I was on ' Cloud Nine ' and very happy. The first film in Scope at the Waipahu was THE ROBE and the picture and sound was exactly like I had experienced at the Kuhio. Until Fox introduced CinemaScope with mag/optical prints and in time with prints only with an mono optical track, all Scope movies played at the Waipahu in Stereo and I saw them all. Some of the movies I remember very well were HOW TO MERRY A MILIONARE (Fox), THE HIGH & THE MIGHTY (Warner) GREEN MANSIONS (MGM) and so many all in terrific mag stereo sound. In time, seeing a movie in a Stereo occurred very rarely. The last one I remember seeing with mag stereo was TORA! TORA ! TORA! Shortly after that, the Waipahu was sold and the new owner ran porn movies. What a pity that had to happen

-Claude

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Robert Furmanek
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 113
From: Clifton, NJ, USA
Registered: Jun 2012


 - posted 11-18-2015 11:06 PM      Profile for Robert Furmanek   Author's Homepage   Email Robert Furmanek       Edit/Delete Post 
Great memories, Claude. Thanks for sharing!

Here's a better shot of the booth.  -

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Steve Matz
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 672
From: Billings, Montana, USA
Registered: Sep 2003


 - posted 11-19-2015 09:29 PM      Profile for Steve Matz   Email Steve Matz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That was state of the Art Equipment around 1940; Now Today it looks Archaic/Primitive. 40yrs from now people will see photos of current High Tech Digital Booths and say what I just did about the Broadway Theater's Equipment. When you look at an old Model T Ford, you say pretty primitive, but back then it was futuristic to people who only had ridden horses prior ... [Big Grin]

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

Posts: 8290
From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004


 - posted 11-21-2015 06:40 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
And when Magoptical came out, Disney wanted to re-release "Fantasia" in four track mag.

Thus, by telephone line, the optical tracks were transmitted to the magnetic tape recorders to be produced on the tracks on the film.

These old nitrate optical prints have long disappeared.

For the 1990, 50th Anniversary re-release of "Fantasia", the magnetic copies were carefully restored to the best for the Dolby SR optical track production, and the eventual CD production.

-Monte

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6902
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 11-21-2015 08:45 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Steve Matz
Now Today it looks Archaic/Primitive.
To a tube amp hi-fi nut with more money than sense, it probably still looks state of the art.

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John Eickhof
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 582
From: Wendell, ID USA
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 11-22-2015 05:58 PM      Profile for John Eickhof   Author's Homepage   Email John Eickhof   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Those RCA 'Fantasound' multi track optical dubbers look pretty nice! I'll bet they cost Disney a pretty penny or two also! I still have one or two of the later 3 track mag versions of the dubbers except they are basically a RCA 9030 with a selsyn drive and either a three or four track cluster and a brass flywheel, they were the early production dubbers before the smaller penthouses were designed. Imagine all that gear in a modern day digital projection box hanging from the auditorium ceiling!! HaHa!

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