As a retired (except for sound projects) motion picture film (and later
digital) editor, much of the work I've been able to do with sound
tracks, whether they be on 35 MM (16 MM is much more difficult to edit)
film or a non linear editing system like Audition, has been a result of
learning the tricks of the trade. Many of those same techniques I
learned in the Hollywood studios editing my sound tracks have been used
as I've gone into the world of strictly audio editing.
You are correct about keeping the distance of the sprockets right, but
in "35", you have four sprockets per frame and twenty four frames per
second, so you have 96 increments in that second to change what's
there. Since the mag. tracks in the beginning of post production (i.e.,
the cutting room) are double system or separate from the picture reel,
you can slip the sound or manipulate it in any way that works for you.
Many times on the cutting bench, I've made a series of butt splices that
were one sprocket in length, so that one frame might have four splices
in it. When working with loop lines from actors that were not very
accomplished in recreating their lines in "post", I had to change the
timing and even the syllables of their tracks to get good synch.
And yes, when I first started as an apprentice in the '50s, we did still
work with optical sound tracks, but unless you had a composite print
(the sound track mated to the picture and running along its edge), you
still could manipulate it to do what you wanted. As far as cutting
optical sound tracks, there is a technique called "blooping" wherein you
use ink at the splice to briefly cover the jump in modulation, and at
sound speed, the change is hardly heard, but there is even an art to
that. At ABC television in Hollywood where I first started, we would
even bloop composite prints when we inserted new commercials for the
summer reruns in film shows. We had a jig that would clamp the section
into place with a slot that exposed only the sound track with a diagonal
taper from one end to the other. We would actually use a spray gun to
evenly distribute the ink on an angle across the splice. One could (and
did as an apprentice) do this process all day. One should keep in mind
that the optical sound tracks on 35 and 16 composite prints are pulled
up and proceed the picture in order to reach the sound head on the
projector (which is positioned after the picture head) "in sync" at the
same moment the corresponding picture is going through the picture
gate. So that complicates the process of editing these prints after
the sound has been mated in the lab printing. Even so, were even able
to edit in or out scenes for timing purposes without ruining the
continuity of sound. Of course, if the modulation at the cut was strong
enough and not too different, we could make the splice without
blooping. Sometimes you got lucky!!
Thank God for digital tools. Everything today is a "piece of cake"
compared to solving problems in those earlier days. Of course, in post
production we had much more time to think and figure out solutions then,
because working with film had a given time frame. Today, the "bottom
line" and faster tools drive us all. Everybody thinks that we can work
wonders in a flash, but it still takes time to think out the solutions
and multiple passes help us to sift out the details of perfecting a
Family Theater Productions
Tom Fine wrote:
> Film editing is a different thing. You have to keep the sprockets
> distance right. There have been editing jigs for film since the
> earliest days of film. With optical-sound film, you will hear pops and
> ticks on edits because it's entirely possible to mate up different
> parts of a wave-form and it's also very easy to scratch the emulsion,
> particularly with edge-only opto-sound. Really good sound editors used
> to be able to go by the visible soundtrack on the film. As you
> probably know, the first binaural-stereo recordings were done by Bell
> Labs on optical sound-film and re-released on LP in the 1970s.
> Stokowski and the Philly and they put some then-current
> many-mic/many-track records to shame sound-wise.
> By the way, editing mag-film has the same limitations as optical in
> that sprocket distance must be maintained. There isn't much time
> between sprockets but there sometimes is enough to make an edit
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "David Lennick"
> <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Friday, March 10, 2006 10:59 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Quarter-inch splicing tabs
>> "Richard L. Hess" wrote:
>>> In some respects, I think we can credit Jack Mullin as the earliest
>>> craft editor, working with scissors to edit Bing Crosby and Burl Ives
>>> shows in 1947 on his Magnetophon transports with his own electronics.
>>> And yes, you can hear some of them.
>> Even before then, MGM was editing on film to put together its
>> soundtrack albums and
>> cut production numbers down to three minutes..some of those edits
>> sound as if they
>> were done with an axe.
>>> Were the Columbia pitch changes due to start-of-reel/end-of-reel
>>> speed changes or what?
>> That must have been the reason. Some glaring ones: Dinu Lipatti's
>> Chopin Waltzes,
>> very last track (side 1 I think), major pitch change right on the
>> last note. EMI
>> finally corrected that on the CD issue but we had to put up with that
>> pitch change
>> for over 30 years before that happened.
>>> The worst edit I ever did was when we had the organ blower on for the
>>> main take and then we did a pickup at the end and someone had turned
>>> the organ blower off....
>> The worst editing on a best-selling LP is on Vladimir Horowitz's
>> so-called "live"
>> recording of the Rachmaninoff 3rd Concerto on RCA. Parts are from the
>> and the piano moves.