Article: Moving Pictures That Talk

This is a brilliant 4-part article by production sound mixer and Cinema Audio Society member, Mark Ulano, and is archived at the website.

Here are some excerpts from the article to give you a good idea how well detailed and documented the piece is about the history and evolution of sound in film:

“…sound with film as an idea seems to have started fourteen years before the invention of the motion picture, during the phonograph’s infancy. The December 22, 1877, issue of Scientific American contains…”

“…Edward Amet was among the first to develop a practical coin operation mechanism to convert the increasingly idle Bell & Tainter machines. Amet also invented the first $5.00 phonograph…”

“…The use of the phonograph, as the first technology aggressively applied to the problem, lands broadly in one of three methods, i.e., post-sync dubbing, mouthing and miming to playback of a pre-recorded phonograph record or simultaneous live recording of …”
“…Edison didn’t really get interested in talking pictures until the late 1880’s when he revived his dormant interest in the phonograph. This revival was stimulated by the legitimate fear of losing control over his invention…”

“…The Motion Picture Patents Company, with its vise-grip monopoly on the American film industry, took the Chronophonograph seriously enough to…”

“… Will Barker’s Cinephone was first brought here from England in March of 1909.13 It was one of the simplest and cheapest systemsavailable. It too was a lip-sync playback mechanism…”

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