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Belton, J. (1992). 1950s magnetic sound: The frozen revolution. In R. Altman (Ed.), Sound Theory Sound Practice (pp. 154–167). New York: Routledge. 
Added by: sirfragalot (10/26/2004 02:44:51 PM)   
Resource type: Book Article
BibTeX citation key: Belton1992
View all bibliographic details
Categories: Film Music/Sound, History
Keywords: Film sound, History, Immersion, Sound Recording
Creators: Altman, Belton
Publisher: Routledge (New York)
Collection: Sound Theory Sound Practice
Views: 6/782
Notes
A history of magnetic stereo sound recording (including early attempts at 4 and 6-channel surround) in the 1950s (Cinemascope and Todd-AO). Of interest for its analysis that, despite stereo's promise (and that of surround or travelling sound) that it would create greater realism, audiences found artifice in the device and, as seemingly dictated by the conventions of the preceding decades of cinema sound, decreed that mono sound was more realistic. Ultimately, such a technique proved a dead end for this very reason.
Added by: sirfragalot  
Quotes
p.158   Discussing the battle between mono and stereo film sound in the 1950s: "Through its usage as an element of spectacle and through its identification with the genres of spectacle, stereo sound became associated for audiences not so much with greater realism as with greater artifice."

He remarks later (p.160) on comments made by others that there is a comparison to the transition from B&W to colour where colour was seen by audiences as indicative of fantasy, spectacle and animation -- the opposite to B&W which signified realism.   Added by: sirfragalot
p.162   Discussing the fourth (surround) sound track of 1950s' magnetic stereo recording, Belton argues that while travelling sound might have been more technically realistic (than mono from behind the screen), it drew attention to itself and so was perceived as artifice "violating the timeworn conventions of stylistic invisibility which governed Hollywood filmmaking practice and which insured that the audience's access to the events which unfolded before them would be unmediated (that is, realistic)."   Added by: sirfragalot
p.163   Claims that magnetic sound (surround) in the 1950s was the first instance of off-screen dialogue actually emanating from off-screen. Microphone placement during recording (close to the sound source rather than at the camera's subjective position) and theatre speaker placement created this effect. "The effect was decidedly theatrical ... spectacularizing the concept of voice off."   Added by: sirfragalot
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