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Perspecta Sound

From Wikipedia, Chace Audio

Introduced in 1954 by Fine Sound Inc., Perspecta Sound was an ingenious scheme for using a standard mono optical film soundtrack and steering it to three discrete speakers: Left, Center, and Right. Since it did not require a new sound head for the projector, it was a cheaper alternative to magnetic stereophonic tracks in that era.

How did it work? Three sub-audible tones (at 30Hz, 35Hz, and 40Hz) were mixed and embedded into the optical soundtrack in addition to the audible sound. When the soundtrack was played back through a Perspecta decoder, the level of the three low frequencies determined the level of the mono soundtrack playback in each of the speakers: Left (30Hz), Center (35Hz), and Right (40Hz). If the theater did not have a Perspecta decoder, then the track could still be played as a standard mono soundtrack since the low frequency tones could not be reproduced on the playback systems of that era.

Mixers could use Perspecta to follow directional on-screen action as well as significantly increase the volume and impact of music and effects by increasing the volume equally on all three speakers. Unlike true stereo, however, all sounds and voices had to move simultaneously, which limited the ability to pan sounds independently.

Paramount was a supporter of Perspecta when they introduced VistaVision; soon to follow were Universal-International, United Artists, and MGM Studios. Films that used Perspecta include: White Christmas, Gone with the Wind (1954 reissue), East of Eden, To Catch a Thief, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Vertigo, Gigi, and Yojimbo.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License found at http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html. It uses material from the Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perspecta.

Tags:
THEATRICAL