Having worked in Hollywood during the '60-'90s as a film editor, I understood that the mag. 3 tracks (fullcoat or 3-stripe) for motion picture sound tracks were filtered on both the top and bottom (rolled off) due to sound system problems in theaters and the three/four track half-inch tapes were "clean" to my knowledge. Any comments?
--- On Sun, 12/14/08, Scott D. Smith <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> From: Scott D. Smith <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] 35mm magnetic film as a music-master recording method
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Date: Sunday, December 14, 2008, 2:53 PM
> To the best of my knowledge, Command stopped using 35mm as
> a recording
> medium after Enoch Light sold the label to ABC Records in
> 1965. ABC then
> sold it to MCA, who promptly relegated it to the trash heap
> re-issues. A sad story...
> Richard Gradone did a doctoral dissertation on the career
> of Enoch Light
> and his record labels while at NYU in 1980. I have never
> read it, so I
> don't know if it might contain any pertinent
> information or not.
> I have only a few Project 3 original releases. I know that
> "Patterns in
> Sound" series was done on 35mm, but after that,
> I'm really not sure.
> There is also the entire catalog of Project 3 quad
> releases, which I
> assume were probably done on 4 track tape, but could have
> been recorded
> on 35mm 4 track mag as well.
> In general, the recordings that Enoch Light did under the
> Command label
> were considered by many to be both artistically and
> technically superior
> to the Project 3 releases, which had arrangements which
> were tended to
> be less interesting than those that were done under the
> Command label.
> In general, they didn't sell as well as the Command
> releases did.
> I have no idea what Essex is doing with the current
> catalog, or even
> where the masters are. My guess is that they are probably
> in about the
> same condition as the Everest masters.
> The only other possible release I can think of might be the
> (Stokowski) version of "Fantasia", release by
> Walt Disney under the
> Buena Vista label. Sadly, the original 1939 recording has
> been lost to
> time, having been recorded on 35mm nitrate film, and later
> to 3 track magnetic film over a jury-rigged class A phone
> arrangement in 1955. Despite this, Terry Porter managed to
> clean it up
> fairly well for the 1980 re-release.
> There were also a number of other movie soundtracks which
> were done on
> 35mm mag for film release, some which ran simultaneous
> session tapes. I
> know a few scoring mixers who worked in Hollywood during
> the early
> seventies. They have told me that practices varied from
> session to
> session. Some would run tape and film, others were done
> only on film
> (usually four track or six track), and later mixed to a 2
> track tape
> master for album release. Since liner notes seldom
> contained these
> details, they are probably lost to time. Nearly every mixer
> I've spoken
> to has preferred the quality of the mag film masters over
> those done on
> tape. This is probably primarily due to the faster speed of
> the film
> (equivalent to 18 IPS), thicker oxide formulations, and
> wider track
> configuration (150 mil for 3 track, 100 mil for 6 track).
> Nearly all the mag film that I have worked with from the
> through the late 60's has suffered from some degree of
> VS, some much
> more so than others. Even film that has been stored in
> decent vault
> conditions has suffered, primarily due to the fact that
> most of it has
> been stored in sealed film cans, which doesn't allow
> for venting of the
> film. Most of the films also suffer from various degrees of
> base warp,
> which makes for a difficult situation when it comes to
> film-to-head contact.
> Scott D. Smith
> *Chicago Audio Works, Inc.*
> Tom Fine wrote:
> > Hi All:
> > I'm cookin' up some research here and I
> figured I throw a few
> > questions out to the group. The topic: the use of 35mm
> mag-film as the
> > main recording medium for music albums.
> > 1. As far as I can tell, before Everest Records
> started using 35mm to
> > do classical music recording sessions, the only prior
> use of 35mm as
> > an album-recording or album-mastering medium was a few
> cases of
> > film-soundtrack albums where the LP master was cut
> right from the 35mm
> > soundtrack magnetic master. I think RCA issued a few
> of these early in
> > the LP era but I'm not positive those were from
> 35mm magnetic masters
> > (they might have been from optical masters from
> pre-magnetic film
> > days). Any specific pre-Everest titles would be most
> > Everest's use of mag-film was circa 1959-60.
> > 2. The mag-film trend was short-lived, I think. As far
> as I can tell,
> > by 1964 or so, only Command Records was still
> regularly making 35mm
> > mag-film masters for music albums. Any information on
> other labels
> > aside from Command and Project 3 regularly using 35mm
> as their
> > recording and mastering medium in the mid-60's
> would be appreciated.
> > The last Mercury Living Presence film sessions were
> 1963. Mercury's
> > pop Perfect Presence series ended in late 1961, if I
> recall correctly.
> > 3. By the late 60's, I think only Enoch
> Light's Project 3 Records was
> > still regularly recording and/or mastering to 35mm. If
> anyone has
> > information different from this, I'd be most
> appreciative if they'd
> > share it. I think Project 3 continued to use 35mm
> regularly into the
> > early 70's, even creating 4-track quad masters.
> But I don't have any
> > specifics about that era and Project 3, so any
> additional information
> > is greatly appreciated.
> > For those shy and/or discreet, please feel free to
> ping me off-list
> > and thank you in advnace.
> > Thanks!
> > -- Tom Fine