Re: Mediations on 16mm optical sound

From: 40 Frames Directory (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Jan 04 2006 - 15:02:39 PST

Jeff Kreines wrote:

> 16mm optical tracks are pretty bad if the tracks are complex in
> nature -- made worse by the fact that many 16mm venues have mediocre
> acoustics and sound systems. (This includes venues with plenty of
> funding.)

I think this brings up two very important points:

(1) The venues that have the funding should be encouraged to pay *some*
attention to the audio system they are using for 16mm optical tracks. I
can already hear Jeff saying "good luck". However, it wouldn't require
much on the part of the venue/institution. Accoustics cannot be fixed
easily but using a sound processor or equalizer of some sort can work
wonders, rather than running line out to an amp with zero equalization.
Nobody does this with 35mm, why do it with 16mm?

(2) Filmmakers would do better to realize the limitation (or "freedom",
depending on how one wants to look at it) of optical sound. Record source
material optimally, mix optimally, but realize your talk nothing above
7,000 hz, and in some cases less. Keep it simple. And if you don't want to
keep it simple than run in sync with a computer or some other such device
that can deliver hi-fi audio. The limitations can be worked with the same
way people work with the limitations/variations of image reproduction
(hand-processing, pixelvision, DV, or whatever).

Alain LeTourneau

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