Sound motion pictures : from the laboratory to their presentation (1929)

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38 SOUND MOTION PICTURES commonly, is a track alongside the picture. On this surface is a track or other marking which, when light is played upon it, releases vibrations that may be converted into sounds. How this is accomplished I will try to explain a little more definitely as the chapter goes forward. Just as there are at least two methods of synchronizing so there are many commercial machines employing them. I intend to discuss only the Vitaphone and Movietone, the Photophone, the Phonofilm, and the Bristolphone, be- cause it seems to me that these are the significant ones, and because in giving their details I believe I can best present the general subject. Later, in separate chapters, I shall take up separately the individual machines which, for one reason or another, would appear to merit detail in that fashion. For the time being, however, I present a broad survey, first for the layman, but equally useful, I hope, for the man in or entering the industry. The more detailed analysis, I feel certain, will be all the easier to grasp after such a preliminary background has been set up and comprehended. II. The Western Electric System The telephone is the foundation upon which the Western Electric sound pictures, in their present stage, have been reared. This recording and reproducing sound system represents several years of laboratory development. In the course of carrying on studies of communication prob- lems, the engineers of the Bell Telephone Laboratories developed for the Western Electric Company the ap- paratus that bears the name of the latter organization. This apparatus includes, first, the public address system for amplifying and distributing sound; second, certain electrical methods of recording sound on phonograph rec- ords (known as "Vitaphone"); and, lastly, the recording