International projectionist (Jan-Dec 1954)

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given (Paris, France, Film Exposition) . CScope Proportions Rejected 2. IP is unalterably opposed to the 2.55-to-l projected picture proportions of the CinemaScope system. This proportion is not only aesthetically incorrect but it provides an image the sweep of which the human eye is incapable of encompassing. Proof to the contrary is invited, especially from 20th Century-Fox. 3. The insistence of 20th CenturyFox upon the use of multiple so-called stereophonic sound tracks is, to our way of thinking, the veriest nonsense. In support of our opinion we offer the accompanying excerpt from a statement by the eminent motion picture critic of the New York Times, Mr. Bosley Crowther (January 31, 1954), with which we wholeheartedly agree, and, we are sure, so do countless other moviegoers : Ear-Splitting Volume Forgetting the shocking bombardment of multiple-outlet sound that went with the Warner Brothers three-dimensional film, "House of Wax" — which shattering experience, incidentally, is hard to erase from the mind — one still can cite pointed examples of confusion and excessiveness in sound that have been notable in other pictures where the stereophonic feature has been used. It must be said that a private demonstration, made for a few people here last week, to show the difference between stereophonic and regular single-outlet sound in the crucifixion sequence from "The Robe," did not impress this observer with any overwhelming advantage in the stereophonic device. As a matter of fact, the single-outlet system was more effective. Confusion the Net Result In using the stereophonic device to have voices seem to emerge from the screen ap proximately where the speaking character is, the business of switching from one to another outlet (or alternating the respective volume) as the character moves becomes an obvious mechanical contrivance that confuses the image on the screen. This is so, even when the passage is uniform and smooth. When there is a variation in volume in the different sound tracks, the disturbance is bad. . . . there remains a question of whether the reproduction of sound, to represent voices or specific noises, is not more uniform and plausible from a single horn. Any sound from outlets away from the screen, however, is superfluous and disillusioning. Stereophonic sound reproduction, when properly applied, would undoubtedly enhance any motion picture presentation, as was fully demonstrated in the "Ave Maria" sequence of Walt Disney's "Fantasia" of blessed memory as an outstanding technical achievement. However, the Hollywood contingent, persisting in their technical ignorance, refuses to insist upon acceptable sound-levels in the theatre. Auditory perspective is by no means an unknown art, and there comes readily to mind the notable research work done 20 years ago by Dr. Harvey Fletcher, of Bell Telephone Laboratories. These data are available even to the Hollywood technicians who today seem to be reading as they run. Dramatic Content Mere magnitude of projection screen image as exemplified by the CinemaScope system does not alter one whit the old adage that for entertainment purposes a vital consideration is the dramatic content of the picture. The old saying that there can be too much of a good thing may be readily transposed in terms of much too much (screen size) of a bad thing. The Tushinsky prismatic anamorphic lens attachment. This adjustable device is fitted to projection lens in a manner similar to the standard cylindrical type of anamorphic attachment, but can be adjusted to project pictures in a variety of aspect ratios. In passing, let us not forget that if companies having the industry stature that Paramount and Loew's enjoy are ready to accept the single-optical track system, the method must have some practical merit. The Fine system (Perspecta Sound) is a sound reproduction process that uses one optical sound track of the standard size and can be adapted for conventional one-channel reproduction, or can also give an effect of stereophonic sound. If no stereo sound is desired, the film need only go through the soundhead in the conventional way. If the theatre be equipped for stereophonic sound, special low-frequency signals, incorporated on the optical track, can cue the sound from the single track to speakers positioned at various parts of the screen. Prismatic Anamorphoser There were demonstrated in New York during the latter part of March two prismatic anamorphic lens attachments devised to project motion pictures in any aspect ratio ranging from the conventional 1.33-to-l up 2.55-to-l — the Tushinsky lens and the Gottschalk lens. Such devices are a commonplace in the projection art, having been known and utilized for years in various forms. Prisms are tricky units and involve serious consideration in both their design and application to projection work. The first public demonstrations were given at the RKO 86th Street Theatre in New York under conditions completely under the control of the demonstrators and using their own film, all of which was in color and of extremely light density. Obviously, such film will pass a much greater amount of light than would a color print of a darker density; and with black-and-white prints the difficulties of light transmission would be pronounced. Non-Technical Acclaim These demonstrations met with considerable enthusiasm by a large segment of the industry, and practically the entire trade press went overboard in its acclaim. However, IP is in the projection business, not in the orchidthrowing business, therefore, it arranged for a subsequent private demonstration of the Tushinsky device. At this later private demonstration (Continued on page 10) INTERNATIONAL PROJECTIONIST • APRIL 1954