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motion picture photography

Sound

From 1927, the addition of the soundtrack to film posed the problem of incorporating sound into the visual repertoire of the silents. The first feature with dialogue, The Jazz Singer (1927), used a film and phonograph method that allowed for camera mobility but was difficult to synchronize. It was soon displaced by a method in which sound and image were recorded together and projected on a single piece of film.

Directors such as René Clair and Rouben Mamoulian were pioneers in the effort to use sound creatively and in conjunction with the image, but most films simply recorded dialogue to accompany static images, as early sound recording methods required that the camera be encumbered within a soundproof booth. As the technological difficulties of sound recording receded, the image regained its prominence and the stalled work begun in the twenties went forward.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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