Nick recently brought his 1920’s recording lathe and amplifier on the road to the University of Chicago Lab School to demonstrate the equipment and give seminars on early recording technology.
Film sound preservation is different from film image preservation in one very important way: the image on the film is comprised of discrete still images that, when used along with a shutter, simply fool the brain into perceiving smooth motion. However, the audio on the film is continuous and requires continuous movement to properly convey the same level of realism and quality as the picture.
Vinegar syndrome deterioration is becoming increasingly common with mag elements, including elements that have been stored in good environments. As bad as these mag elements may look, though, it is still possible to get excellent sound quality with the proprietary cleaning and transfer technology at Endpoint.
Although extreme deterioration of acetate optical tracks is far less common than acetate mag, it is still important to be aware that optical tracks can be in danger of irreparable deterioration. Some vinegar syndrome deterioration issues in optical tracks are to be expected such as shrinkage, warping, and weave from uneven shrinkage. Luckily, these issues can still be dealt with using custom film transports.
Although major label 78rpm records are remarkably free of production flaws and technical cutting errors, this is not the case with budget labels like Paramount and Gennett. In the quest to increase the transfer quality of these discs with poor technical specs but incredible content, we are constantly investigating the causes of the sound quality limitations and how to best overcome them.