Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#1 by David Ralph ( deleted ) , Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:43 pm

Saturday evening drinks with friends and the discussion turned to super 8mm sound films and the antiquity of producing the films compared to DVD's. One topic was the way in which the sound was put onto 8mm films and whether the process was the same as the 'old' cassette tapes where 'speed' recording was employed which greatly increased production but with a loss on sound quality. I couldn't answer as I didn't know. Can anyone throw any light onto this subject.


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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#2 by Robert Crewdson ( deleted ) , Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:56 pm

In a telephone conversation with Dave West of DCR films, he told me that Derann and others recorded the soundtrack at high speed, whereas he recorded it at normal speed, and had just spent £1,000 on a machine to do it.



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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#3 by Hugh Thompson Scott ( deleted ) , Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:07 pm

I know that when Derann were in their infancy, their mag sound was recorded via a Eumig Mark "S" projector, it was a few years before they installed the Leevers Rich recording set up. I have a lot of their early releases and the sound is very good., this being recorded in "real time" on Standard 8mm, I understand the later equipment enabled them to record 4x normal speed, I understand it was to hit "top note", but not
being a sound engineer, I don't know, might have been for to get the job done quicker.



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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#4 by David Ralph ( deleted ) , Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:27 pm

Thanks for the responses. It (still) amazes me how we ever got film and sound for the home market. The amount of work and effort to produce a super 8mm film is mind blowing, but the technology for this is still something that can be explained and understood. Ask someone how they produce a Blu-ray disc and the blank looks coming back sums it all up.


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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#5 by Andrew Woodcock , Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:38 pm

Derann did indeed install high speed recording equipment which was of a professional standard. Without sifting through the FFTC editions I couldn't tell you right this minute David, what the machines they used were, but what I do know is, Derek received quite a few raised eyebrows at first regarding the quality of the potential soundtracks obtained from this newly installed kit, but when it was like new, it was excellent on the old pre striped stock and many others including Walton followed suit I believe with Derek's high speed recording equipment once they witnessed the results from it themselves.

This may be of interest to our readers here including David Ralph hopefully! (sorry, too many Davids for a moment there ha ha!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBQ0_tOAyJQ

I love the fact that this little production here was made by a company named Dream Catchers. How very appropriate in this instance here!!


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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#6 by Hugh Thompson Scott ( deleted ) , Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:42 pm

I'm always in awe of what can be achieved from that little brown band David, no, not the Jackson Five, sound stripe, amazing. Mind you,
I can enjoy the old stuff just as well, as long as the dialogue is audible, no wow on sound, I'm happy.



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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#7 by Tom Photiou , Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:50 pm

The last time we put T2 through to an audience, the minute the sound came through the speakers one of the blokes turned to look at the projector, a few minutes later he turned and looked again and asked me if the sound was being played through a separate CD. Thats precisely how good the results can be & often were. Although obviously the pioneer amp i use does make such a huge difference to a single speaker plugged in. (& there aint nothing wrong with that either).


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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#8 by Robert Crewdson ( deleted ) , Mon Jul 04, 2016 2:05 pm

It is amazing just how good the sound can be from that narrow stripe.



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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#9 by Andrew Woodcock , Mon Jul 04, 2016 3:43 pm

Bloody hell, how we miss these fellas eh?

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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#10 by Dave Alligan , Mon Jul 04, 2016 4:39 pm

Derann recorded at 4x normal speed, but if you sent a film back to Derann with the sound out of sync it was recorded at normal speed and the quality was far superior, I done this with my print of Terminator 2 wow it blew your socks off


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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#11 by Dave Alligan , Mon Jul 04, 2016 4:41 pm

Robert

Many years ago I was on holiday on the Isle of Wight and went to see Dave West and he showed me his Elmo GS1200 which he used to record his prints.

Dave


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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#12 by David Hardy ( deleted ) , Mon Jul 04, 2016 4:57 pm

Yes David sound recorded on stripe is always much better at "real time speed " than sound recorded at faster 4 x speeds and upwards.
The same principle applied with Reel to Reel Tape and Music Cassettes. Those copied at high and faster speeds were always of
inferior in sound quality .
However I am never happy about the overall sound quality of film stripe on 8mm no matter how fast it is copied.


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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#13 by Hugh Thompson Scott ( deleted ) , Mon Jul 04, 2016 5:06 pm

I know that when Derek had to make his own stripe, the results were disappointing, but when they adjusted the sooundheads on
their own machinery, they were astonished at how good it was, He was definitely not one to give up, but I think that stuff took a toll on him, it was terrible stuff to remove. In conversation with him at Blackpool, this was when he sorted a print of Jason for me, I asked him
if he was taking the proper precautions on applying this stuff, God alone knows what chemicals were being absorbed by him.



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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#14 by Andrew Woodcock , Mon Jul 04, 2016 5:22 pm

Who knows, Derek may have still been with us here had Kodak and Agfa continued to have given us all pre striped stock. It is something we will never know but is precisely why I urge anyone associated with film to keep well away from known hazardous chemicals, which are undoubtedly harmful to our health!


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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#15 by Robert Crewdson ( deleted ) , Mon Jul 04, 2016 7:31 pm

I would be interested to hear from the new users of 16mm, how they find the optical sound compared to the Super 8 magnetic. The drawback of my Eumig is that it only has a volume control. I presume some of the more modern machines have tone, or even bass and treble. So if the sound is not great, there is nothing I can do about it; so for me, I find the 16mm optical sound far superior.



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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#16 by Andrew Woodcock , Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:24 pm

well I cannot speak as a new user of 16mm film projectors Robert, but what I can say is Super 8mm better machines do indeed have plenty of tone control and the best have separate Bass and Treble controls.

As the video suggests that I posted earlier, magnetic sound tracks have a far broader bandwidth than their optical counterparts and when a magnetic track is recorded well, from the traditional methods of reproducing sound, it really cannot be beaten Robert.

It is only poor stripe, poor recording, bad heads, basic machines etc etc, that sometimes makes people doubt the magnetic tracks ability at times.

Another way in which inter comparisons become blurred, is if you are comparing an 8mm machine with a 16mm one as a stand-alone unit.
Generally speaking, 16mm ones have a much larger built in speaker than super 8 ones have.
Built in speakers are only ever monitor speakers on Super 8mm machines.
It is only when extension speakers are fitted can you really judge the quality of sound on any Super 8mm model.


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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#17 by Hugh Thompson Scott ( deleted ) , Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:39 pm

I can't really agree with that Andrew, 16mm sound is very good, remember that the BFCC have been showing films with DVD sound for
a long time now, methinks its for a very good reason, it ain't good enough for large presentations.



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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#18 by Andrew Woodcock , Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:44 pm

Mine sound excellent slaved out Hugh when the track and recordings are both good.

I know the 16mm optical track is far better than the 8mm one, but my magnetic tracks are head and shoulders above any optical film I have.

I have to say, there isn't one optical film soundtrack that I own that I am even mildly satisfied with. They always let the side down one way or another when I watch these films.
Lethal Weapon is the best I have, but even then, it screams down your ear lugs in parts of the film. Really unpleasant sound when this happens.

I have seen and heard 16mm films and while much better than the optical 8mm ones, I can still clearly detect that the bandwidth is very very limited.

The later Derann prints often couldn't be trusted for BFCC presentation once pre striped stock dried up.No two prints were ever the same!
Also Deranns equipment wasn't the best either by the time you see Ged in the video above striping his pasted film stock.
By this time, it had seen thousands of miles of usage.
I think that is why John and Keith choose to highlight these films in the very best light Hugh.


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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#19 by Hugh Thompson Scott ( deleted ) , Mon Jul 04, 2016 9:09 pm

I totally agree on 8mm opt sound Andrew, it is hit and miss, okay if you're not too critical, not a patch on the projectors you're
showing your films with mag sound on now, but 16mm is no slouch, I am very happy with the quality, loud and clear. As for Keith
and John with their shows, it used to amaze me when reading the reviews in the mag, A* picture A* sound, then you read of them showing said films with disc sound, it spoke volumes, pardon the pun.



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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#20 by Andrew Woodcock , Mon Jul 04, 2016 9:16 pm

Very true Hugh, very very true!
Many should have read Picture A* Sound C minus!
Of course if you were "In the club" with Derann, then of course some things simply had to glossed over!
Ha ha ha.


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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#21 by Robert Crewdson ( deleted ) , Mon Jul 04, 2016 9:28 pm

It was a big minus having no tone control; not a problem with Walton and DCR prints. It was advertised as HQS (High Quality Sound); perhaps they thought that was sufficient.



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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#22 by Andrew Woodcock , Mon Jul 04, 2016 9:36 pm

As its a Eumig HQS model Robert, no doubt if you slaved out through the 5 pin din socket, into a separate amplifier with bass and treble control and even better if it had a "loudness" button, through some good speakers, I've no doubt it would still sound very good so long as your head is healthy (magnetic ha ha!).


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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#23 by Robert Crewdson ( deleted ) , Mon Jul 04, 2016 9:51 pm

Thanks for that info Andrew, I used to consider buying the Eumig extension speaker, but there were so many films I wanted, that spare money was used for them.



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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#24 by Hugh Thompson Scott ( deleted ) , Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:08 pm

I had a little Philips ext. speaker that was okay, not really recommended for stripe sound, but was sold to me when buying my first sound projector. The little hum suppressor that Craven churned out, did have a tone control on it, it was only when I purchased one of their
25w amplifiers and speaker, did I realise how the sound could be improved. I used to put it through my bass amp before that, but it was very loud on "hum", probably caused by an earth loop.



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RE: Magnectic Sound - How did they do it?

#25 by Andrew Woodcock , Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:16 pm

The Craven speakers were held in very high regard for our Cine gear back in the day!


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