Talking pictures : how they are made and how to appreciate them (1937)

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"Lights! Camera /" multaneous start of sight and sound. Another cam does the same fogging action inside the recorder. It takes a few seconds for the speed of the recorder and the camera to be absolutely together. Such synchronization is the essential principle of talking picture production. When this occurs a final cam turns, and a bell rings as the signal for the actual start of photography and recording. The development of this automatic starting system is an example of the refinements which clever minds are steadily adding to the whole film production proc- ess. In the early days of talking pictures, various indi- viduals on the set, the assistant cameraman, the assistant director and others gave the orders and made the motions which are now accomplished by electrical contacts set up by a few revolving metal wheels. Because of the necessity of co-ordinating several human voices and per- sonalities, it sometimes took three or four minutes to accomplish what is now done in a few seconds. The new method insures absolute svnchronization, and is much easier on the nervous systems of players and tech- nicians. The signal bell has sounded. The boom man calls, "Up to speed!" The director calls, "Camera!" The scene is on. In all, only ten to twelve seconds have elapsed. Not a sound is heard except the voices of the players. The camera clicks busily in its blimp, but not a click emerges from the metal cover. The phone is disconnected. The stage doors cannot be opened. The director cannot say a word. His directions must be completed before the scene starts. In silent pictures he [179]