The Technological Problems Of Sound In The Silent Film

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Silent movies were almost always accompanied by music, from a multipieced pit orchestra to a single piano or even a guitar. This is why silent film audiences seemed perfectly happy with silent movies. There was also technological difficulty of matching sound with visuals so that everyone in the audience could hear. The problems were synchronisation and amplification. A vitaphone was something that produced the first commercially viable sound system. This was then replaced by the now- standard strip of celluloid prepped for sound that runs on the side of the film strip, this makes the two modes remain in sync.

Even after this apparatus was invented, sound still presented quite a few problems. The early sound cameras and equipment were noisy and very big in size which meant they were not practical for transportation. They were to be kept in sound proof rooms called “blimps”. It also took a while to figure out that that you could move a microphone around by placing it on a stick. This is called a ‘’Boom pole’’. Early sound films were very static because the actors had to speak through a static mic. One of the non-technological problems they had was that some actors did not sound the way they looked on the silent screen. It was also difficult for silent scene writers to find the correct balance in sound scripts and dialogue.

In 1926 the first film with sound was produced. Don Juan developed the “vitaphone” which was a sound- on disk system. The name “vitaphone” derived
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