Dickson as a test of the early version of the Edison Kinetophonecombining the Kinetoscope and phonograph. The idea of combining motion pictures with recorded sound is nearly as old as the concept of cinema itself. On February 27,a couple of days after photographic pioneer Eadweard Muybridge gave a lecture not far from the laboratory of Thomas Edisonthe two inventors privately met.
To make a recording, a person spoke or sang into a big horn. This horn collected the sound energy and sent it to a needle, which wiggled up and down as if it were being tickled by the sound.
As the needle wiggled, it cut a long wavy groove into a record made of soft wax, which was spun in a circle underneath the needle. After the recording was made, you could play the record back by placing the needle back at the start of the groove and spinning the record in circles again.
This time, the needle rode the wavy groove like a roller coaster. As it moved up and down, it recreated the sounds that had been recorded earlier, and it sent them out of the horn for people to hear again.
In the s, Edison invented moving pictures, or movies.
A long strip of tiny photographs was captured on film by a special camera, so that each picture was just a little bit different from the ones before and after it. The strip of film was later run through another machine, a projector, that would blend the different pictures together to create the illusion of motion and project the movie onto a large screen in a theater.
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Edison thought that, if he could unite the sound of his phonograph with his moving pictures, he could create the illusion of life itself—a picture of a person that could move and speak, as if it were alive. Also, the sound recordings were not very loud, so it was difficult for more than just a few people at a time to hear them.
Still, each invention became successful on its own. People were now able to go the store and buy records of music to bring home and play on their phonographs.
They no longer had to sing or play a musical instrument themselves, but could instead just choose a record and let the machine make the music for them. They also began to go out to new movie theaters, where dramatic stories told through the silent moving pictures became very popular.
Since there was no recorded sound to accompany the movies, the words that the characters spoke would appear on screen, in special pictures called "titles" that moviegoers read like in a book. Most of the time, though, the actors conveyed their thoughts and moods through their facial expressions and their actions, without speaking a word.
One of the most famous movie actors was a man named Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin always played a character called The Little Tramp, a poor but elegant man who often got into trouble even though he had a good heart.
The Little Tramp never spoke, but audiences could tell what he was thinking and feeling just by looking at his face and the ways that he moved his body, and people all over the world loved his films. The musicians sat in a pit below the screen and played music that fit the mood of what was happening in the movie: For those who could hear it, the music made the movie more enjoyable.
By the s, many people—hearing and deaf—went out to the movies several times a week to enjoy the show. At this time, another group of inventors tried to accomplish what Thomas Edison had not been able to do—to bring together movies and recorded sound.
They now had a new tool: In fact, these inventors worked for the telephone company. They used small microphones instead of big horns to collect the sounds, and they had devices called amplifiers that could make those sounds louder.
With electricity, they could make recordings that were loud enough for everyone in a large movie theater to hear.
Electricity also made it easier to keep the sound in sync with the image.A silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound (and in particular, no audible dialogue).
In silent films for entertainment, the plot may be conveyed by the use of title cards, written indications of the plot and key dialogue lines. The best example of the wipe is what's known as the Iris Wipe, which you usually find in silent films, like Buster Keaton's or the Merrie Melodies cartoons—the circle getting smaller and smaller.
As anticipated, the arrival of sound created great upheaval in the history of the motion picture industry, (as spoofed and exemplified in the film Singin' in the Rain ()).
However, the transition from silent films to sound films wasn't completely calamitous or disruptive. Sound introduced new technological changes for the industry and created challenges for its stars to make the transition.
Although Chaplin continued to make films (both silent and talkies) after , he is best known and beloved for his work in the silent era.
In the L Cut transition, the editor traditionally cut the picture frames out of the strip, but left the narrow audio track intact, thus creating an L-shape out of the film.
How did Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly satirize the film industry in Singin' in the Rain ()? It poked fun at the difficult transition from silent to sound production. Which of the following did NOT pose a challenge for the transition from silent to sound production in films?