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Optical sound on 35mm


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#1 Damien Bhatti

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 03:30 AM

If you were wanting to make a blow up to 35mm, hypothetically speaking, how and when would you get the optical soundtrack made? What is the alternative to optical soundtracks? Is optical soundtracks the standard for the festival circuit? Thanks,
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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 08:45 AM

If you were wanting to make a blow up to 35mm, hypothetically speaking, how and when would you get the optical soundtrack made? What is the alternative to optical soundtracks? Is optical soundtracks the standard for the festival circuit? Thanks,

The worldwide standard for optical soundtracks on 35mm prints is Dolby SR stereo. Any 35mm sound projector, even very ancient mono ones, can run an SR print. The lab is where the conformed 35mm visual image and soundtrack are brought together on the final master print. The final mixed soundtrack is submitted on 35mm magnetic film (magnetic tape with sprocket holes) for the most part. I suggest you get a copy of Tomlinson Holman's "Sound for Film and Television" for an overview of the entire process.
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#3 Dominic Case

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 10:45 PM

The final mixed soundtrack is submitted on 35mm magnetic film (magnetic tape with sprocket holes) for the most part.

I haven't seen 35mm mag for years. More likely to be put down onto DA88 cassette, or on a disk.

The final track is then recorded onto an optical sound negative - a hi con black and white filmstock - creating an analogue image of the audio waveform down the edge of the film just inside the perforations for the Dolby SR track, and checkerboard-type digital matrix patterns between the perfs for Dolby SR-D, or outside the perfs for SDDS. However the analogue SR track is used universally whether or not you choose a digital format as well.

The track is then exposed onto print stock at the same time as the image is exposed onto it from the image negative, to make a final composite print with optical track, which yes, is the standard for festivals.
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#4 Simon Wyss

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 04:43 AM

The worldwide standard for optical soundtracks on 35mm prints is Dolby SR stereo. Any 35mm sound projector, even very ancient mono ones, can run an SR print. The lab is where the conformed 35mm visual image and soundtrack are brought together on the final master print. The final mixed soundtrack is submitted on 35mm magnetic film (magnetic tape with sprocket holes) for the most part. I suggest you get a copy of Tomlinson Holman's "Sound for Film and Television" for an overview of the entire process.

The worldwide standard for 35 mm film optical sound reproduction is the monaural track since 1927 (Fox Movietone Newsreel) and should remain such. Dolby Stereo and Spectral Recording comes in addition. For me it's a pain in the brain that everybody walks out on the tradition. Single centered variable area tracks reproduce badly with the twin cells of modern projection. Not only the 3:4 aspect ratio of the classics is disregarded but also the optical tracks are not properly read. Non-Dolby sound negatives are still available and they cost less. Sorry for the counterpost
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#5 Hal Smith

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 11:31 AM

I haven't seen 35mm mag for years. More likely to be put down onto DA88 cassette, or on a disk.

We DIY troops use 35mm because it can all be done in house. Tomlinson's book thoroughly covers more contemporary methods. FYI I own a DA-98, ProTools, an Orban Audicy w/SMPTE, etc. but it's so much more hassle to go that route for five minutes worth of film with a basic track. This way I can edit sound with a razor blade after some premixing in ProTools. I own a KEM telecine and can actually produced a demo quality SD video inhouse (I'm working on marrying an HV-20 to it to produce HDV tapes and then to BluRay).
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