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Re: Center Optical Track?

Hi Sarah,

<< I have a 35mm optical only track that has its optical track in the center
of the film and not on the edge as is normal.  I've never seen one of these
before, and don't really know what to do with it.  Is there a method of
transfer (and a post house) we can use to transfer the sound? >>

This was a standard method of recording sound from the late 1920s until after
World War Two.  Optical recorders were used to record original sound in movie
studios;  the tracks were then treated almost exactly the same way as
sprocketed mag.  But the recorders were also used for many other things (for
example, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had one of the machines surreptitiously
recording telephone conversations in the basement of the White House during
his first term in office) up until magnetic recording got good enough, about
45 years ago.

It is doubtful that any facilities are still handling this kind of work, so I
would suggest that you check with some museums, such as the Museum of the
Moving Image in Astoria, Queens.  They might either have equipment they could
set up for the playback of your film, or would know where such equipment
still exists.  Alternatively, playing back a center optical track is not much
different than a regular sound track, so you might find somebody who is
willing to adjust or adapt a standard reader to serve the purpose.

Good luck,
Christopher Bacon


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