The American cinematographer (Mar 1937)

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90 American Cinematographer • March, 1937 Members of the Franklin-Crandville Expeditions Ltd. in Calcutta wi th some ot their sound equipment. The expedition was organized by Fred LeRoy Crandville, A.S.C. From left to right are Mr. Schul meister, laboratory; Major W. J. Moylan, production manager; Mrs. Franklin, Captain Norman Franklin and Paul Perry, A.S.C. They Make Pictures In India by Paul Perry, A.S.C. NDIA'S MOTION PICTURE STUDIOS turn out more than 300 feature productions each year. These pictures ore made by native Indian artists and technicians, about na- tive subjects, for that vast majority of India's three hun- dred millions who prefer to be entertained bv their own people, speaking their own languages. To me, however, the most remarkable thing about India's film growth is the fact that her film technicians are largely self-taught, and in spite of this handicap are producing highly credit- able pictures. In this development, India's eyes are turned largely to- ward Hollywood for information and inspiration. The Americon Cinematographer is by far the most respected and influential film publication received in India; its tech- nical articles by members of the A.S.C. and their fellow- workers in research, recording and the like are as gospel pronouncements in the Indian studios. Most strikingly is this borne out by the fact that several years ago, in an article in the Cinematographer, L. E, Clark argued that the men who record motion picture sound deserved a title more fitting than "sound man or "recording engineer." The Cameraman, he pointed out, had advanced his craft to a point where the bare desig- nation "cameraman" was woefully inadequate, and while undoubtedly he was a photographic engineer, he also was uniquely an artist; and fittingly to designate this unique combination the word "cinematographer" had been coined and had come into use. Birth of Vocabulary The same development, Clark continued, had taken place in the work and status of the recording experts. Accordingly, these men deserved an equally fitting desig- nation. Since "cinematographer" indicates one who "writes with motion," should not his fellow-artist be termed one who "writes with sound"? And Clark suggested the name "audiographer." Today, if in any of India's many and widely-scattered studios, you inquire about the "sound man" or "recording engineer" you are greeted with a blank stare. From one end of India to the other the dictators of the decibels are known as "audiographers" and their work as "audi- ography." In the matter of technical equipment the Indian film industry is to a considerable extent Americanized, with second honors going to Germany. Most of the raw film used is of either Eastman or Agfa manufacture, though both DuPont and the British Selo products are represented. Bell & Howell and Mitchell cameras compete strongly with the French-made DeBrie "Super-Parvo." The latter have a considerable advantage in price and, I think, in the com- missions paid its agents. At any rate, more and more DeBries are coming into use. Americans and British Lead Sound Lighting equipment represents another contest between American and German products. Hollywood-made Mole- Richardson lamps are well known and extensively used, but German lamps, thanks in no small part to the aid af price and commissions, are also very widely used. Quite a few of the new M-R "Solarspots" are to be found in the better-equipped Indian studios. As yet no foreign manu- facturer has anything that can compare with them. Now that a British Mole-Richardson plant has been started in London these lamps should have definite advantages in India, for the Government gives British-made products a marked preference in duties. Sound equipment is largely American and British. RCA, Western Electric and British Acoustic are the leading sys-