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ARSCLIST  March 2006

ARSCLIST March 2006

Subject:

Re: Quarter-inch splicing tabs

From:

Rod Stephens <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 11 Mar 2006 10:33:24 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (129 lines)

Hi Tom,

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 
sound track.

Rod Stephens
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 
> difficult.
> -- 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 
>> rehearsal,
>> and the piano moves.
>>
>> dl 
>
>

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