Speaking of slide automation, I've got a couple of discs in my
collection that are curious - anyone else run into one of these or
have more information about how they were used.
They're 16" heavy laminated transcriptions pressed by Columbia's Sound
on Disc division for the 1934 Chicago Century of Progress World's
Fair. One is for the "School Room" exhibit in the Central Station
Industry Exhibit; the other is for the "Operating Room,
Electro-Magnetic Spectrum and School Room" exhibit.
When you listen to them, they contain narration for the exhibit with
long silent pauses that sound as though things would happen in the
exhibit with lights or moving parts.
There aren't any control tones on the disc. I assume that they were
played along with the exhibit as it was controlled by some kind of
automated time system separate from the disc. I've got two copies of
one of the discs and saw someone have more copies up for bid on the
web a year or two ago - I'm assuming that they pressed several copies
as the exhibit would run multiple times each day for a long period and
the records would get worn out.
I've found pictures online of the exhibit building, but not for these
specific attractions at the Fair - if photos could be found and
photos, someone could do a recreation of it using 3d software to give
an impression of what it was like.
The Central Station was sponsored by a group of American electric
power companies. The exhibits feature a school room of the future
that includes climate control, filmstrips and movies for the kiddies,
and infrared lamps to kill germs and give them a good tan when they're
stuck inside the classroom all day.
On Sat, Aug 4, 2012 at 10:24 PM, Randy A. Riddle <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Archiving these wouldn't be at all technically difficult - just
> remarkably tedious.
> If one had the original multitrack tape and the slides and film, along
> with a script, you could set up multiple video tracks in Final Cut or
> a similar video editing package and key the video track to an audio
> control track for each projector, placing the slides with cuts or fade
> in or fade out as a guide.
> It could be output in 4K or 6K format for projection at a festival or
> museum showing or down-coverted to hi-def for reference viewing by
> Of course, if the original slides and tapes were available, the
> original equipment could be reassembled for a showing, but that would
> probably be impractical and expensive.
> On Fri, Aug 3, 2012 at 2:18 PM, Richard L. Hess
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Hi, Randy,
>> I was involved in making shows a step down from this for St. John's
>> University (my alma mater) which we did for several years for Freshman
>> Orientation--and even developed a small business out of this named "LM
>> Productions". It stood for "Last-Minute Productions" as one of the team
>> members experienced in personally developing Ektachrome slide film in his
>> own darkroom and the Freshmen could actually see themselves in the slide
>> show (which was given on the final day of orientation). We also did some of
>> these for parents as well, as the business expanded and did a few for other
>> We either arranged four projectors in a quad or three in a row and had only
>> a single cue tone that changed all projectors at once, but we could continue
>> some images by putting multiple copies in. We couldn't afford the AVL
>> sequencers. We used mono sound with cue tones on the other channel.
>> I also made five of these shows personally between 1975 and 1989. The 1975
>> show was for an art project on St. George and the Dragon for a friend. The
>> 1976 and 1978 ones commemorated trips to England and the 1978 "Cathedrals
>> and Abbeys of England" received about 25 showings around the NY City area
>> and several in the Aurora, Ontario area in the early 1980s, plus a few
>> showings in the Glendale, California area. Mary Beth and I did a slide-tape
>> show from our Expo 86 and 1989 Alaska trips. I don't think I've shown any of
>> these more than once or twice since the kids were born in the early 1990s.
>> I have been struggling with how to preserve and show them today. All the
>> elements are preserved--all the slides have been scanned at 12 MP and the
>> sound tracks are all on hard drive in our storage servers. The reassembly is
>> not an easy task. Finding a format and application to do it has not been a
>> major priority, but I tried it once and kept crashing Adobe Premier about
>> ten years ago. One of the joys of this show is that many of the exterior
>> images were shot on Kodachrome 25 and I want to maintain some semblance of
>> that level of resolution. Also, the images are a mix of vertical and
>> horizontal which makes life a joy.
>> My five shows were only two projectors/one image with dissolve.
>> So, extrapolating from what I know and have done to preserve my meagre
>> creativity in this area, I would hate to see the budget for properly
>> preserving some of the more massive shows. In a sense, its a bit like the
>> massive painting of The Crucifixion at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in
>> Glendale, California.
>> It is a 195 x 45 foot painting, displayed with a programmed narration that
>> drives lighting spotlighting areas of the painting as they are discussed.
>> This, too, was from another era, as was Todd-AO and especially Cinerama
>> which is difficult to reproduce properly. Showscan and IMAX are two other
>> difficult-to-archive formats that are still current.
>> The difficulties and costs of archiving "Grandeur" formats (using the 20s
>> Fox Studio short-lived format's name) and large multi-media presentations
>> are huge. Anything other than playing back at "full scale" diminishes the
>> experience--in the same way as looking at a lock-down camera video recording
>> of an opera would.
>> Is there any archive focusing on these, I wonder???
>> On 2012-08-03 9:22 AM, Randy A. Riddle wrote:
>>> When I was in college at App State in North Carolina, Kodak brought a
>>> show to campus that I still remember today.
>>> It consisted of hundreds of 35mm slides and 8mm or 16mm movie footage
>>> shot by two guys that went on an adventure trip somewhere in the
>>> western US.
>>> The whole thing was automated with a recorded sound track and racks of
>>> It's a shame that shows like this aren't archived in ways they can be
>>> periodically brought out and redone.
>> Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
>> Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
>> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.