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Transition to Sound in Film  

2013-02-19 17:00:54|  分类: 【英语资料】 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Transition to Sound in Film

The shift from silent to sound film at the end of the 1920s marks, so far, the most important transformation in motion picture history. Despite all the highly visible technological developments in theatrical and home delivery of the moving image that have occurred over the decades since then, no single innovation has come close to being regarded as a similar kind of watershed. In nearly every language, however the words are phrased, the most basic division in cinema history lies between films that are mute and films that speak.

 

Yet this most fundamental standard of historical periodization conceals a host of paradoxes. Nearly every movie theater, however modest, had a piano or organ to provide musical accompaniment to silent pictures. In many instances, spectators in the era before recorded sound experienced elaborate aural presentations alongside movies' visual images, from the Japanese benshi (narrators) crafting multivoiced dialogue narratives to original musical compositions performed by symphony-size orchestras in Europe and the United States. In Berlin, for the premiere performance outside the Soviet Union of The Battleship Potemkin, film director Sergei Eisenstein worked with Austrian composer Edmund Meisel (1874-1930) on a musical score matching sound to image; the Berlin screenings with live music helped to bring the film its wide international fame.

 

Beyond that, the triumph of recorded sound has overshadowed the rich diversity of technological and aesthetic experiments with the visual image that were going forward simultaneously in the 1920s. New color processes, larger or differently shaped screen sizes, multiple-screen projections, even television, were among the developments invented or tried out during the period, sometimes with startling success. The high costs of converting to sound and the early limitations of sound technology were among the factors that suppressed innovations or retarded advancement in these other areas. The introduction of new screen formats was put off for a quarter century, and color, though utilized over the next two decades for special productions, also did not become a norm until the 1950s.

 

Though it may be difficult to imagine from a later perspective, a strain of critical opinion in the 1920s predicted that sound film would be a technical novelty that would soon fade from sight, just as had many previous attempts, dating well back before the First World War, to link images with recorded sound. These critics were making a common assumption—that the technological inadequacies of earlier efforts (poor synchronization, weak sound amplification, fragile sound recordings) would invariably occur again. To be sure, their evaluation of the technical flaws in 1920s sound experiments was not so far off the mark, yet they neglected to take into account important new forces in the motion picture field that, in a sense, would not take no for an answer.

 

These forces were the rapidly expanding electronics and telecommunications companies that were developing and linking telephone and wireless technologies in the 1920s. In the United States, they included such firms as American Telephone and Telegraph, General Electric, and Westinghouse. They were interested in all forms of sound technology and all potential avenues for commercial exploitation. Their competition and collaboration were creating the broadcasting industry in the United States, beginning with the introduction of commercial radio programming in the early 1920s. With financial assets considerably greater than those in the motion picture industry, and perhaps a wider vision of the relationships among entertainment and communications media, they revitalized research into recording sound for motion pictures.

 

In 1929 the United States motion picture industry released more than 300 sound films—a rough figure, since a number were silent films with music tracks, or films prepared in dual versions, to take account of the many cinemas not yet wired for sound. At the production level, in the United States the conversion was virtually complete by 1930. In Europe it took a little longer, mainly because there were more small producers for whom the costs of sound were prohibitive, and in other parts of the world problems with rights or access to equipment delayed the shift to sound production for a few more years (though cinemas in major cities may have been wired in order to play foreign sound films). The triumph of sound cinema was swift, complete, and enormously popular.

 

Paragraph 1: The shift from silent to sound film at the end of the 1920s marks, so far, the most important transformation in motion picture history. Despite all the highly visible technological developments in theatrical and home delivery of the moving image that have occurred over the decades since then, no single innovation has come close to being regarded as a similar kind of watershed. In nearly every language, however the words are phrased, the most basic division in cinema history lies between films that are mute and films that speak.

 

1. The word “regarded in the passage is closest in meaning to 2

analyzed

considered

altered

criticized

 

 

2. According to paragraph 1, which of the following is the most significant development in the history of film?1

The technological innovation of sound film during the 1920s

The development of a technology for translating films into other languages

The invention of a method for delivering movies to people's homes

The technological improvements allowing clearer images in films

 

Paragraph 2: Yet this most fundamental standard of historical periodization conceals a host of paradoxes. Nearly every movie theater, however modest, had a piano or organ to provide musical accompaniment to silent pictures. In many instances, spectators in the era before recorded sound experienced elaborate aural presentations alongside movies' visual images, from the Japanese benshi (narrators) crafting multivoiced dialogue narratives to original musical compositions performed by symphony-size orchestras in Europe and the United States. In Berlin, for the premiere performance outside the Soviet Union of The Battleship Potemkin, film director Sergei Eisenstein worked with Austrian composer Edmund Meisel (1874-1930) on a musical score matching sound to image; the Berlin screenings with live music helped to bring the film its wide international fame.

 

3. The word “paradoxes in the passage is closest in meaning to 4

difficulties

accomplishments

parallels

contradictions

  

4. Why does the author mention “Japanese benshi and “original musical compositions?3

To suggest that audiences preferred other forms of entertainment to film before the transition to sound inthe1920's

To provide examples of some of the first sounds that were recorded for film

To indicate some ways in which sound accompanied film before the innovation of sound films in the late 1920s

To show how the use of sound in films changed during different historical periods

 

5. Paragraph 2 suggests which of the following about Eisenstein’s film The Battleship Potemkirf? 1

The film was not accompanied by sound before its Berlin screening.

The film was unpopular in the Soviet Union before it was screened in Berlin.

Eisenstein’s film was the first instance of collaboration between a director and a composer.

Eisenstein believed that the musical score in a film was as important as dialogue.

 

Paragraph 3: Beyond that, the triumph of recorded sound has overshadowed the rich diversity of technological and aesthetic experiments with the visual image that were going forward simultaneously in the 1920s. New color processes, larger or differently shaped screen sizes, multiple-screen projections, even television, were among the developments invented or tried out during the period, sometimes with startling success. The high costs of converting to sound and the early limitations of sound technology were among the factors that suppressed innovations or retarded advancement in these other areas. The introduction of new screen formats was put off for a quarter century, and color, though utilized over the next two decades for special productions, also did not become a norm until the 1950s.

 

6. The wordovershadowed in the passage is closest in meaning to 1

distracted from

explained

conducted

coordinated with

 

7. According to paragraph 3, which of the following is NOT true of the technological and aesthetic experiments of the 1920's?1

Because the costs of introducing recorded sound were low, it was the only innovation that was put to use in the 1920's.

The introduction of recorded sound prevented the development of other technological innovations in the 1920's.

The new technological and aesthetic developments of the 1920s included the use of color, new screen formats, and television.

Many of the innovations developed in the 1920s were not widely introduced until as late as the 1950's.

 

Paragraph 4: Though it may be difficult to imagine from a later perspective, a strain of critical opinion in the 1920s predicted that sound film would be a technical novelty that would soon fade from sight, just as had many previous attempts, dating well back before the First World War, to link images with recorded sound. These critics were making a common assumption—that the technological inadequacies of earlier efforts (poor synchronization, weak sound amplification, fragile sound recordings) would invariably occur again. To be sure, their evaluation of the technical flaws in 1920s sound experiments was not so far off the mark, yet they neglected to take into account important new forces in the motion picture field that, in a sense, would not take no for an answer.

 

8. Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in the passage? Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.2

It was difficult for some critics in the 1920s to imagine why the idea of sound film had faded from sight well before the First World War.

As surprising as it seems today, some critics in the 1920s believed that the new attempts at sound films would fade just as quickly as the attempts made before the First World War.

Though some early critics thought that sound film would fade, its popularity during the First World War proved that it was not simply a technical novelty.

Although some critics predicted well before the First World War that sound film would be an important technical innovation, it was not attempted until the 1920s.

 

9. The word “neglected in the passage is closest in meaning to 1

failed

needed

started

expected

 

10. According to paragraph 4, which of the following is true about the technical problems of early sound films?4

Linking images with recorded sound was a larger obstacle than weak sound amplification or fragile sound recordings.

Sound films in the 1920s were unable to solve the technical flaws found in sound films before the First World War.

Technical inadequacies occurred less frequently in early sound films than critics suggested.

Critics assumed that it would be impossible to overcome the technical difficulties experienced with earlier sound films.

 

Paragraph 5: These forces were the rapidly expanding electronics and telecommunications companies that were developing and linking telephone and wireless technologies in the 1920s. In the United States, they included such firms as American Telephone and Telegraph, General Electric, and Westinghouse. They were interested in all forms of sound technology and all potential avenues for commercial exploitation. Their competition and collaboration were creating the broadcasting industry in the United States, beginning with the introduction of commercial radio programming in the early 1920s. With financial assets considerably greater than those in the motion picture industry, and perhaps a wider vision of the relationships among entertainment and communications media, they revitalized research into recording sound for motion pictures.

11. In paragraph 5, commercial radio programming is best described as the result of 2

a financially successful development that enabled large telecommunications firms to weaken their competition.

the desire of electronics and telecommunications companies to make sound technology profitable

a major development in the broadcasting industry that occurred before the 1920s

the cooperation between telecommunications companies and the motion picture industry

 

Paragraph 6: In 1929 the United States motion picture industry released more than 300 sound films—a rough figure, since a number were silent films with music tracks, or films prepared in dual versions, to take account of the many cinemas not yet wired for sound. At the production level, in the United States the conversion was virtually complete by 1930. In Europe it took a little longer, mainly because there were more small producers for whom the costs of sound were prohibitive, and in other parts of the world problems with rights or access to equipment delayed the shift to sound production for a few more years (though cinemas in major cities may have been wired in order to play foreign sound films). The triumph of sound cinema was swift, complete, and enormously popular.

 

12. According to paragraph 6, which of the following accounts for the delay in the conversion to sound films in Europe? 2

European producers often lacked knowledge about the necessary equipment for the transition to sound films.

Smaller European producers were often unable to afford to add sound to their films.

It was often difficult to wire older cinemas in the major cities to play sound films.

Smaller European producers believed that silent films with music accompaniment were aesthetically superior to sound films.

 

Paragraph 5: These forces were the rapidly expanding electronics and telecommunications companies that were developing and linking telephone and wireless technologies in the 1920s. In the United States, they included such firms as American Telephone and Telegraph, General Electric, and Westinghouse. They were interested in all forms of sound technology and all potential avenues for commercial exploitation. Their competition and collaboration were creating the broadcasting industry in the United States, beginning with the introduction of commercial radio programming in the early 1920s. With financial assets considerably greater than those in the motion picture industry, and perhaps a wider vision of the relationships among entertainment and communications media, they revitalized research into recording sound for motion pictures.

Paragraph 6: In 1929 the United States motion picture industry released more than 300 sound films—a rough figure, since a number were silent films with music tracks, or films prepared in dual versions, to take account of the many cinemas not yet wired for sound. At the production level, in the United States the conversion was virtually complete by 1930. In Europe it took a little longer, mainly because there were more small producers for whom the costs of sound were prohibitive, and in other parts of the world problems with rights or access to equipment delayed the shift to sound production for a few more years (though cinemas in major cities may have been wired in order to play foreign sound films). The triumph of sound cinema was swift, complete, and enormously popular.

 

13. Look at the four squares [] that indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage.

When this research resulted in the development of vastly improved sound techniques, film studios became convinced of the importance of converting to sound.

Where would the sentence best fit?2

 

14Directions: An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points.

 The transition from silent to sound films was the most important development in film history.

Although music and…

Because of intense…

The rapid progress…

 

Answer Choices

Although music and speech had frequently accompanied film presentations before the 1920s, there was a strong desire to add sound to the films themselves.

Because of intense interest in developing and introducing sound in film, the general use of other technological innovations being developed in the 1920s was delayed.

The rapid progress in sound technology made possible by the involvement of telecommunications companies transformed the motion picture industry.

Japanese filmmakers had developed the technology for creating sound films before directors in Europe and the United States began experimenting with sound.

Before the First World War, film directors showed little interest in linking images with recorded sound.

The arrival of sound film technology in the United States forced smaller producers in the motion picture industry out of business.


 

 

参考答案:

1. 2

2. 1

3. 4

4. 3

5. 1

6. 1

7. 1

8.2

9. 1

10. 4

11. 2

12. 2

13. 2

14. Although music and…

Because of intense…

The rapid progress
 

  

参考译文:电影声音的演变

 

电影史上最为重大的一次过渡——电影从无声到有声的跨越发生在1920年的年底。尽管在戏剧和家庭成像的多元化方面更高级的视觉技术在之前已经发展了十年,依然没有一项类似的发明出现可以被归入这次转折。但是在所有语言中几乎都是这样描述的:电影史上最基本的分水岭就是从默片到电影中语音的加入。

 

这项历史周期中最基础的的标志性事件却隐藏在一系列的矛盾中。尽管在几乎每家庄重的剧院中,都有一架钢琴或是其他乐器来给无声的画面提供配乐。在一些实例中,录音时代之前的观众都亲历过那种在电影放映画面的同时旁边是复杂的音效呈现,从日本的benshi(口技)的多点音效的对话演绎到欧洲和美国由管弦交响乐乐队演奏的专门为电影谱写的曲谱。在柏林,为了能在露天公演的关于苏联的波利金战役,该片导演Sergei Eisenstein与奥地利的作曲家Edmund Meisel合作创作与电影相匹配的音效;柏林的放映电影的同时现场演奏音乐让这种电影形式有了国际影响力。

 

除此之外,录音的辉煌还是使20世纪20年代同时百家争鸣的视觉影像方面的技术和审美实验的进步相形见绌。在这期间充斥着新技术的发明或者提出,有一些甚至取得了成功,新的色彩处理,更大的和不同尺寸的屏幕,多屏放映的设计,甚至是电视。声音转化的高成本和早期声音技术的局限成为了抑制或妨碍了这些发明的在其所在领域的优势。新型屏幕设计的引进被推迟了25年,彩色,在接下来的20年除了用于特殊生产外,一直到1950年都还不是标准。

 

虽然这件在事后很难想象,但是在1920年一个倾向性的批判性观点预测有声电影仅仅作为一项新奇的技术将会迅速从视线中退去,就像之前的许多试图将图像与录音连接在一起的尝试一样,而这可以追溯到一战之前。这些批评家都持有一个共同的假设,那就是早期成果的技术缺陷仍将不可避免的发声(较差的同步性,微小的音量和断断续续的录音)。对于20世纪20年代声音试验的技术缺陷的评估(与真实情况)差的不远,但是他们忽视了那些电影领域的新力量,这些新力量不会接受“不”作为答案。

 

而在1920年,这个了力量急速的扩张发展出了连接电话与无线电工艺的电子公司和电子通讯公司。在美国,他们包括了像美国电话与电报这样的公司。通用电器公司,威斯汀豪斯都对声音技术的各种形式和一切商业开发潜力表示感兴趣。1920年的早期,这些竞争与合作开创了美国的广播产业,开始引入了商业广播节目。由于财富贡献明显的比那些电影工业的多,而且他们在娱乐与交互媒体之间的关系上有一个更广的看法,他们重启了电影配音的研究。

 

一个粗略的统计表明,1929年美国的电影产业放出了超过300部有声电影,同时还有一定数量的默片音轨,或者为电影准备两个版本以照顾一些还没有声音部件的电影院。美国在生产环节的转换最终完成与1930年。欧洲要稍微晚一点更多是因为他们有很多小型的无法负担音效成本的生产商,另一部分原因是对于专利权和许可领域问题而使设备的配备拖延了声音产业的转变很多年(尽管很多大城市的电影院为了播放外国电影可能已经添加了设备)。有声电影取得了胜利,并迅速,完全,广泛的流行起来

 

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