Synchronous Sound

This iMovie 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”

(Instructions for Windows Movie Maker are here).
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. Al Jolson, The Jazz Singer
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 by importing clapping sounds or by recording a narration with applause and cheers. 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 file and put it under your video track.  
  4. Import "" into the project. Trim away the leader. (Clip Trimmer>Select). 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. (Select>Detach Audio). Using the the Clip Trimmer, cut away the silent beginning of the sound track. Begin the sound track here.

  6. Set your "Vitaphone disc' skipping in order to "fix" it. (Select the Picture Track>Inspector>Audio>100%). Play your movie. The original mis-synchronized sound track and the detached synchronous tracks become simultaneously audible, so the "Vitaphone disc" now stutters.  
  7. Eliminate the stutter. (Select Picture Track>Inspector>Audio>Volume 0%).  
  8. Adjust the volume of the picture track to match the volume of the wild sound now affixed to "" (Select the detached sound track>Inspector>62%).  
  9. Play your movie. You're done! Break for lunch break before the matinee begins. You have restored sync sound to the shots.  
  10. Want to experiment more? To hear how the dynamic range of your recording process influences how "real" your movie feels and dates it, too, clip some bars of a stereo contemporary equivalent of Jolson's song. "Toot, Toot, Tootsie."  
  11. Import a vocalist song into any sound editing software of your choice. In Garage Band, for instance, try some variant of this:  
  Garage Band>Voice>Effects>Telephone Lines>Input Source>Mono 1>Camel Crusher>Bass Reduction>Remove Bass>Treble Reduction>Medium.  
  You return to another time and place.