Film form has been changed by technological development in areas such as colour, viewing modes, recording, film genre, narrative, aesthetics, as well as sound. Sound is one of the inputs that are mostly taken for granted when people are watching a film. The truth is an era in which films were silent before innovation of sound existed. These were known as silent films, which did not have any synchronized sound, recorded and no dialogue that was spoken. These films used title cards, mime, and muted gestures to entertain the audiences (O'brien, 2005). The thought of combining the motion pictures with recording of sound is almost as old as invention of film form itself. However, this idea was not crystallized into synchronized dialogue until the late 1920’s due to the technological challenges that were involved (Chion & Gorbman et al., 1994). Introduction of the system known as Vitaphone and perfection of the amplifier tube known as audion were among the first archaic technologies to pave way for modern day sound in film. Sound films were the motion pictures which sound had been synchronized with picture. Edison conceived the synchronization of the visual medium and a phonograph he invented would make sound film. This was around the year 1885 more than thirty years before commercial feasibility of sound film. There were several problems to be overcome by inventors and entrepreneurs before actualization and acceptance of sound into film form (Livingston &Plantinga, 2012). Silent film lovers were perhaps content with silent movies because they were always accompanied with some kind of music and the presence of narration seemed to augur well with the small town folk. Another obstacle was the fact that by the 1920s the industry of silent film was the mainstay of film form in the aspects of film writing, photography, music and acting. Technologically, there was difficulty in matching sound and the visuals such as was audible to all in the audience. Synchronization of looks (of the actors) and their voices was also important in giving sound film acceptance (O'brien, 2005). These problems were namely synchronization as well as amplification. These difficulties facing silent screenwriters in finding the right balance between dialogue and action were gradually overcome in order to make the film going experience more fulfilling than it had been before (Livingston &Plantinga, 2012). The first of the sound films to incorporate synchronized sound were known as talkies or talking pictures and included only effects and music with the first film to feature as a talkie was “The Jazz Singer” in the month of October 1927 by Warner Bros (Chion &Gorbman et al., 1994). However, this was replaced by sound on film, which also triumphed over sound on disc still in the era between 1914 and early 1930s (from conception to early perfection) Sound on film was one of the revolutions in the film form industry ensured more synchronization between sound and actions thus improving the quality of film viewing. Among the first impacts of sound technology on film form were the negative consequences such as the complexity and difficulty in production occasioned by introduction of live recording of sound. The cameras were very noisy and needed a soundproofed cabinet as a way of isolating the loud noise of the equipment from the voices of the actors this limited the movement of the camera (O'brien, 2005). Another
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Technological Development in Film History - The Impact of Sound on Film Form Name: Course: Instructor: Date: Technological Development in Film History - The Impact of Sound on Film Form Technological innovation dictates film form. This statement is true in view of the film industry today and in retrospect what it used to be at the onset of film form in the late 19th century…
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