The Talking Machine Forum — For All Antique Phonographs & Recordings

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 Post subject: Re: Plantation Act Starring Al Jolson, 1926
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:56 pm 
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Victor IV
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Jolson had quite a career revival with The Jolson Story movie and then all those records he made for Decca in the late 40's. Gosh, those Jolson Decca albums are still thick as fleas in the old 78 stacks today.


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 Post subject: Re: Plantation Act Starring Al Jolson, 1926
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:26 am 
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Victor V
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OrthoFan wrote:
Phonofreak wrote:
...I thought the first talkie was in 1927 when the Jazz Singer was produced. This short was produced in 1926, before the Jazz Singer.
Harvey Kravitz



The odd thing about the Jazz Singer is that it mostly a silent film using subtitles to tell the story, but with a synchronized score, along with a few scenes where Jolson is singing. The one famous scene where he talks to his mother was done ad-lib -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Djd1XfwDAQs At the end of the scene, it reverts back to a silent movie, with subtitles, which is rather jarring if you've seen it.

"The Lights of New York" (1928) is credited with being the first full-length all-talking movie. The famous line culled from that movie was "take...him...for.......a.......ride..."

A number of early sound films appear on YouTube, including some of Edison's attempts. This one, from 1913, is rather creepy -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQEImz2P8Cg

OrthoFan


I am rather disappointed that Edison resorted to dubbing for the Kinetophone shorts, considering that he made the very first film with live sound... :(

Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Plantation Act Starring Al Jolson, 1926
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:44 pm 
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Victor IV
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Lucius1958 wrote:
I am rather disappointed that Edison resorted to dubbing for the Kinetophone shorts, considering that he made the very first film with live sound... :(
Bill


I remember asking on this forum--can't find the post now--about how the Kinetophone shorts were made and was told that the actors were not lip-syncing or dubbing their lines/songs, but that the sound was recorded real-time. How this was possible, given the fact that the performer had to stand x-inches from the mouth of the recording horn, with the instrumentalists grouped as closely as possible to the horn, I don't know. In other words, if the conventional sound recording process was employed, then the recording horn would have to appear in the film.

So this begs the question, if this WAS a real-time recording of the actors performing, was some special type of acoustic recording horn and diaphragm used--one that had the SAME capabilities as the early microphones (coupled with electrical amplification)? If so, is there any information about this?

OrthoFan


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 Post subject: Re: Plantation Act Starring Al Jolson, 1926
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:10 pm 
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Victor II
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The Edison talking pictures that featured a stage setting with multiple performers cavorting around were indeed lip-synced to a previously recorded sound track. Allmost all talkies made after mid-1929 were also lip-synced. Even with micro phonic technology getting a good sound balance on an ensemble moving around is almost impossible.


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 Post subject: Re: Plantation Act Starring Al Jolson, 1926
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:26 pm 
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Victor IV
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Camera noise, too. Early talkies capturing on set sound tried to deal with the problem by putting the cameras inside sound deadening enclosures, with a host of resulant problems.


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 Post subject: Re: Plantation Act Starring Al Jolson, 1926
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:55 pm 
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Victor IV
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Allmost all talkies made after mid-1929 were also lip-synced.


This statement must be a typo. Are you really saying that all movies in the 30s and 40s were lip-synced? Doesn't make any sense.


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 Post subject: Re: Plantation Act Starring Al Jolson, 1926
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:32 am 
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Victor VI
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Phototone wrote:
The Edison talking pictures that featured a stage setting with multiple performers cavorting around were indeed lip-synced to a previously recorded sound track. Allmost all talkies made after mid-1929 were also lip-synced. Even with micro phonic technology getting a good sound balance on an ensemble moving around is almost impossible.


According to the presenter from the Edison Historic Site who showed the films some (if not all) were recorded live. Photographs of the stage show a truly enormous horn and a phonograph on a rigging over the players (it is an enlarged version of the typical flower horn). If they were just playing back a recording a smaller horn on the floor would suffice. Also- in one film you can just barely see the edge of the horn at the top of the image and as one actor walks across the scene the horn swings slightly as it is pushed to follow him.


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 Post subject: Re: Plantation Act Starring Al Jolson, 1926
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:35 am 
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Victor VI
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marcapra wrote:
Quote:
Allmost all talkies made after mid-1929 were also lip-synced.


This statement must be a typo. Are you really saying that all movies in the 30s and 40s were lip-synced? Doesn't make any sense.


Musical productions were sometimes done to a pre-recorded soundtrack- but otherwise that statement is silly


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 Post subject: Re: Plantation Act Starring Al Jolson, 1926
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:21 pm 
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Victor IV
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estott wrote:
According to the presenter from the Edison Historic Site who showed the films some (if not all) were recorded live. Photographs of the stage show a truly enormous horn and a phonograph on a rigging over the players (it is an enlarged version of the typical flower horn). If they were just playing back a recording a smaller horn on the floor would suffice. Also- in one film you can just barely see the edge of the horn at the top of the image and as one actor walks across the scene the horn swings slightly as it is pushed to follow him.


Many thanks! That reconfirms what I was told earlier, and also, explains a few knocks and bumps which are audible in the Nursery Rhymes film.

Phototone wrote:
Allmost all talkies made after mid-1929 were also lip-synced. Even with micro phonic technology getting a good sound balance on an ensemble moving around is almost impossible.


I've never come across anything to support this. I do know that the process of lip-syncing to a prerecorded soundtrack was used extensively for musical numbers filmed after about 1930, when the recording technology progressed, and sound on disc recording was displaced by sound on film. Studio "re-dubbing" was also used for scenes filmed outdoors with less than perfect acoustic characteristics, or to correct a garbled sound track in an otherwise usable scene, etc..

In one well-known early British talkie, Blackmail, an actress's voice was entirely replaced with that of another, but in real-time as noted here:

"Lead actress Anny Ondra was raised in Prague and had a heavy Czech accent that was felt unsuitable for the film. Sound was in its infancy at the time and it was impossible to post-dub Ondra's voice. Rather than replace her and re-shoot her portions of the film, actress Joan Barry was hired to actually speak the dialogue off-camera while Anny lip-synched them for the film. This makes Ondra's performance seem slightly awkward." FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackmail_(1929_film)

In a few very early musical numbers I've seen, such as "Alice in Wonderland," from "Puttin' on the Ritz" (1930), and "Wedding of the Painted Doll," from "The Broadway Melody" (1929), the numbers were apparently filmed "silent," but accompanied by prerecorded off-screen voices and orchestras:

Wedding of the Painted Doll -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzDWoepbSWM -- starts at 0:54
Alice in Wonderland -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LONI14cPWA0

(Sadly, both numbers were originally filmed in 2-Strip Technicolor, but now, only exist in black and white.)

OrthoFan


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 Post subject: Re: Plantation Act Starring Al Jolson, 1926
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 11:47 am 
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Victor II
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marcapra wrote:
Quote:
Allmost all talkies made after mid-1929 were also lip-synced.


This statement must be a typo. Are you really saying that all movies in the 30s and 40s were lip-synced? Doesn't make any sense.


All musical numbers, particularly involving a big production number were indeed pre-recorded under ideal conditions and then the performers danced and cavorted to the soundtrack which was played back on set as they performed. I am not talking about standard dialog scenes.


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