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ARSCLIST  August 2012

ARSCLIST August 2012

Subject:

Re: archiving slide-tape shows (was voca-film technology)

From:

Steve Smolian <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Tue, 7 Aug 2012 10:31:15 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (268 lines)

During the 1963-4 World's Fair in NY, I ran the sound system and functioned 
as a general stage hand at the fashion show.  Tough duty.  One of my pals 
ran the system at the Chrysler pavilion.  The entire show- audio, lights, 
visual, platform movements, etc., was run from a pre-programmed mixing 
board.  When things went wrong, his job was mostly to fix what he could and 
call the tech squad when he knew he couldn't.  Some other big pavilions had 
equally intricate systems.  I never met the on-call roving tech.

My second job there was to troubleshoot problems with McKenzie repeating 
cartridge players- endless loop, very slippery, graphite backed audio tape 
systems that operated in banks of six or more.  These were smaller than the 
Cozinou (sp?)-Muntz types used in radio stations as well and were very 
reliable- mostly.  For some of these I recorded the audio and programmed 
them to work with slide shows and some mechanical gizmos.  General Cigar was 
one such location.  I think the Minnesota Pavilion was another.  I can't 
recall the rest, but it totaled about half-a-dozen sites.

Steve Smolian

-----Original Message----- 
From: Tom Fine
Sent: Tuesday, August 07, 2012 9:59 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] archiving slide-tape shows (was voca-film 
technology)

Hi John:

Any place that worked with corporate/commercial clients was riding that wave 
in those days. You guys
in previous posts have cited some of the miriad corporate and educational 
presentations that were
made over the years. Plus this stuff was huge with amusement parks and 
tourist attactions.

There was also a whole element of multi-source sound to all of this. One 
good example is the
14-channel system Ampex made for Knott's Berry Farm:
http://www.ilk.org/~ppk/Manuals/Ampex_Case_Histories/Ampex%2014-channel%20AG-300%20case%20history.pdf

Also, using mult-track tape to run light cues and even motorized moving 3-D 
objects/displays. I'm
thinking specifically of the Cyclorama at Gettysburg and more elaborate 
museum displays I've seen
over the years.

There was also a trend in the 80's and 90's to have wall-sized banks of NTSC 
TV monitors with
different source video elements making up a large-screen whole, used both by 
artists and
commercial/corporate and entertainment multimedia. Now how would one 
preserve THAT sort of thing? I
guess you could do it today as digital picture-within-picture stuff on 
mega-displays or projection
systems?

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John Schroth" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, August 07, 2012 9:28 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] archiving slide-tape shows (was voca-film 
technology)


> Tom very nice. I'm impressed with the videos from AAV and that your dad 
> was so heavily involved there. He was riding the AV wave back then.
>
> Regards,
>
> John Schroth
>
> On 8/7/2012 7:45 AM, Tom Fine wrote:
>> This is a very interesting YouTube channel.
>>
>> http://www.youtube.com/user/EamesOffice
>>
>> This one seems to be a film of a multi-screen slide/film show.
>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ob0aSyDUK4A&feature=plcp
>>
>> That's one (primative) way of preserving it as it was presented.
>>
>> I too remember "The New York Experience," I think I was pre-teen when we 
>> saw that.
>>
>> My father was involved in a few of these productions. He did sound design 
>> and mixing for several of the large-scale things at the 1964-65 World's 
>> Fair and also Expo67. I think some of them involved multiple film and 
>> still image elements. He also did the sound design and mix for the 
>> interactive multimedia Ford's Theatre "historical drama" thing in the 
>> 70's (I have an opening night program somewhere but don't recall going to 
>> it as a little kid).
>>
>> Here's another YouTube:
>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJqutj9Usjw
>> this is a promo film made for the Armstrong Audio-Video complex in 
>> Melbourne, Australia, circa 1974. My father designed it, oversaw 
>> construction and ran it for the first year. Note the extensive 
>> multi-media facilities. This was when color TV was new to Australia, so 
>> the facility was state of the art then. Apparently, musician Brian Cadd 
>> was popular down under back then.
>>
>> Here's another look at AAV, the video montage from the grand opening 
>> gala:
>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMwZWLPpcFM
>> this one features heavy use of the Rutt-Etra video synthesizer, which was 
>> a new toy back then.
>> By the way, can anyone positively identify the recording console and 
>> 24-track tape machine types? That's an Ampex AG-440B 4-track in the small 
>> production studio.
>>
>> Back squarely on-topic, AAV was involved in many of the typical mid-70's 
>> corporate and entertainment multi-media productions. I think that era was 
>> pretty much the heyday of that sort of thing, worldwide.
>>
>> -- Tom Fine
>>
>>
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "John Schroth" 
>> <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Tuesday, August 07, 2012 1:21 AM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] archiving slide-tape shows (was voca-film 
>> technology)
>>
>>
>>> Hi Mike:
>>>
>>> No, Unfortunately the Eastman House is not doing anything regarding 
>>> archiving these types of programs. I think for several very 
>>> understandable reasons:
>>>
>>> A huge percentage of these programs were proprietary - used for huge 
>>> sales meetings and trade shows to release new product lines to sales 
>>> people within the company or distributors. Like Apple releasing the 
>>> first Macintosh with a program called "Blue Busters" (a takeoff on Ghost 
>>> Busters - Apple busting "Big Blue" aka IBM), or Saab releasing the new 
>>> (back then) 900 line, titled "Saab 900". Since many of the really big 
>>> budget shows were for corporate presentation, it would be tough to get 
>>> companies to release these privately owned programs.
>>>
>>> How many people are really interested in preserving them? I for one 
>>> would be, but I'm in the small minority. There is not a lot of money to 
>>> be recouped from trying to preserve a multi-image slide presentation. 
>>> The funds at many institutions are very tight. When money does become 
>>> available it is most often used for preservation of high-brow or more 
>>> well-known media that a large percentage or people can identify with, 
>>> know about, and would be interested in helping to support, or paying 
>>> money to see, or is viewed by people as a more valuable or important 
>>> asset.
>>>
>>> How do you recreate a multi-image program digitally and project it with 
>>> the same effect, the look would really not be the same. Also, part of 
>>> the wonder of watching a multi-image slide presentation is watching all 
>>> those projectors firing away, hearing the clicking of the advancing 
>>> slides and just shaking your head thinking how mad it was that it even 
>>> worked.
>>>
>>> The few programs of note that would be worth taking a stab at 
>>> resurrecting and preserving are in rough shape. I've talked to many of 
>>> the old "well known" producers and owners of the past large production 
>>> companies. The few shows they have kept are stored in garages and old 
>>> warehouses. Mothballed away because they were so significant at the time 
>>> and cost so much to produce that the people who produced them, loved 
>>> them, and could not see throwing them out. But in most cases they did 
>>> not store them properly. Fading and mold would be just a couple of the 
>>> issues facing poorly stored slides.
>>>
>>> Richard mentions "The New York Experience". I remember seeing this 
>>> program with my dad, then going back to see the projectors all firing 
>>> away and watched in wonder. My dad was with Kodak for 35 years in the 
>>> motion picture/audiovisual division and worked with people who produced 
>>> such programs. Also Richard mentioned some great presentations used at 
>>> National Parks. Kodak also produced many widescreen multi-image programs 
>>> that were glorious wonders of photography and took you all over the 
>>> world. These were used as promotional image pieces and toured the globe 
>>> helping to promote Kodak. Donna Lawrence productions produced an amazing 
>>> 360 degree slide presentation that ran as a fixed display for the 
>>> Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. There was even a 24 projector show 
>>> that ran as a fixed display on the Queen Elizabeth II (I have one of the 
>>> slide projectors taken from the ship before the Cunard line retired 
>>> her). All of these are noteworthy and would be worth preservation, but 
>>> they were either fixed displays or touring displays. Even if a working 
>>> copy was available, the slides got to a point of being so faded that 
>>> they would be hard to bring back to their former full-color glory 
>>> without a lot of work. And I wonder how many surviving audio tapes used 
>>> to run the programs would have been in even decent shape.
>>>
>>> AMI - the Association for Multi-Image, which I was a member of for many 
>>> years before it went defunct, had a national competition every year. 
>>> Shows from all over the world were submitted. Any shows that won awards 
>>> had Ariel Image transfers made of them to share with anyone in the AMI 
>>> community who wanted to rent them out. This would be worth investigating 
>>> to see who were the leaders of the organization prior to closing up 
>>> shop, and who had the tape masters of the shows. Could they be had and 
>>> if so, make arrangements to get them converted to digital format. At 
>>> least the stories and the content could be saved. Several years back at 
>>> my 25th reunion, there was talk of doing just that, but everyone got 
>>> busy and nothing became of it. I'd still think I'd like to pursue this 
>>> and should. I'm glad this posting came about so that I can again put 
>>> this up a front burner.
>>>
>>> As a side note, many of these shows could be classified as moving image 
>>> presentations. Many times we used a fat back that held a large roll of 
>>> 35mm slide film on a Nikon 35mm still camera with a motor drive, to 
>>> shoot moving image sequences. When you cycle these sequences these 
>>> through 15 or more slide projectors - the likeness of motion picture 
>>> film movement is close, with a different effect, but still amazing (and 
>>> much cheaper than hiring a film crew and the equipment).
>>>
>>> I have a collection of these shows that I will post on Vimeo sometime in 
>>> the next week or so for anyone that is interested. They were originally 
>>> mastered on 1", then dubbed down to 3/4"-U. Copies were made and sent 
>>> out on 3/4"-U dubs. I quickly copied these to VHS whenever they came 
>>> in - so the quality is far from perfect, but it gives you at least an 
>>> idea of how neat these shows really were.
>>>
>>> Kind Regards,
>>>
>>> John Schroth
>>> Media Transfer Service, LLC
>>>
>>> On 8/6/2012 1:39 PM, Michael Biel wrote:
>>>> From: John Schroth <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>
>>>>> I majored in Multi-image slide presentation at RIT over 25 years ago.
>>>>> They had a core-curriculum in Multi-Image slide production, the only 
>>>>> one
>>>>> like it in country at the time.
>>>> Wow!  In this thread we have really hit on a nearly forgotten format 
>>>> for
>>>> archiving, and your info and expertise is valuable.  Is Eastman House
>>>> doing anything on this?  I think this topic is worthy of an ARSC
>>>> Conference presentation -- not sure if the Moving Image organizations
>>>> are interested in these non-moving image presentations.  I remember the
>>>> ones I've seen being very impressive -- but every time a movie was
>>>> inserted, the combination of the noticeably lower resolution and the
>>>> disruption of looking at lengthy-held still images reduced the effect.
>>>> These programs could be reproduced with the superior HDTV projection 
>>>> now
>>>> available, using multiple projectors and screens of course. There
>>>> should be an effort to do it NOW while we still have people like you
>>>> that remember the equipment and programming so it can be converted to
>>>> computer controlling.
>>>>
>>>> Mike Biel  [log in to unmask]
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> -----
>>>> No virus found in this message.
>>>> Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
>>>> Version: 2012.0.2196 / Virus Database: 2437/5181 - Release Date: 
>>>> 08/06/12
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>
>>
>> -----
>> No virus found in this message.
>> Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
>> Version: 2012.0.2196 / Virus Database: 2437/5181 - Release Date: 08/06/12
>>
>>
> 

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