Synchronous Sound

     
 
This Movie Maker 2012 exercise teaches:
 


● How to synchronize a sound track with a picture track
● How to filter sound tracks to modify their acoustical properties
● How synchronous sound makes silent movies seem more “real”

 
( Movie Maker 2012 downloads free here if your Windows 7 or Windows 8 OS lacks this Windows Essentials software).

 
In Free and Easy (1930), MGM director Fred Niblo plays a MGM director cuing camera, lights, and sound. MGM cinematographer Leonard Smith operates the camera. Arthur Lange, who headed the MGM music department, conducts. The orchestra plays on the set while actors sing. Early Hollywood musicals frequently mirrored Hollywood musicals.
Douglas Shearer, MGM's chief sound engineer, recorded music, dialogue, and singing simultaneously to a variable density sound track that ran the length of the unexposed 35 mm picture negative.
 
Imagine yourself into Shearer's shoes.
 
  1. The Jazz Singer (1927) helped set off the sound movie boom of 1927-1928. View the pivotal moment of the Jazz Singer here.  
 
2. Download these files— two shots from The Jazz Singer. The movie shots have been altered.
In one shot, the sound track is rendered inaudible. In the other, the Vitaphone sound track and the picture track now fail to synchronize.

  3. Import "JazzSingerShot1" into the project. Trim away the leader. Restore wild sound to the shot with this cheer and applause sound file or by recording a narration with applause and cheers. If you record your own applause sounds, click on the microphone icon in the lower left and click "start narration". Whoop it up for a couple of seconds and end the narration. Import the sound file and put it under your video track.  
  4. Import "JazzSingerShot2" into the project. Trim away the leader. Play the clip. You'll notice that the clip fails to synchronize. (You are a 1927 projectionist who has miscued the Vitaphone disc). Silent movie sound cues could be approximate. Synchronous sound cues are precisely correct... or they are ludicrous.
 
  5. Fix the synch. Detach the audio track from the picture track by dragging the video clip down to the audio/music track. This will automatically delete your video track. Then import the JazzSingerShot2 onto the video track by dragging it on. Mute the newly imported audio track by right clicking the track and click "mute". Now maneuver the audio/music layer so when he says "wait a minute" the audio lines up with his delivery.  
  9. Play your movie. You're done! Break for lunch break before the matinee begins. You have restored sync sound to the shots.  
 
 
  You return to another time and place.