Task one – Sound Design



  • 1879 – Dickinson UK to Verginia and joind Edison
  • 1883 – Dickinson becomes leading engineer
  • 1889 – Kinetoscope Release
  • 1891 – The birth of Jack Donovan Foley and Carl Stalling
  • 1893 – Kinetoscope Official Release
  • 1895 – Eidoloscope (Dickinson)
  • 1895 – Dickinson leaves Edison for American Mutoscope Company
  • 1901 – The birth of George Groves
  • 1906 – The birth of Jimmy Macdoald
  • 1914 – Foley Moves to California
  • 1922 – Groves Liverpool University
  • 1923 – Groves joins Bell Laboratories (NY)
  • 1925 – Warn Borther buy Vitaphone Corporation
  • 1926 – Groves makes “Don Juan” the first sync. soundtrack (Music & Effects)
  • 1927 – “Talkies” W.B and Groves “The Jazz Singer”
  • 1928 – The first all talking picture  “Lights of ew York” (Groves)
  • 1929 – Foley Artist “Show Boat”
  • 1930 – Pre scoring (recording music in advance) Groves
  • 1935 – Jimmy Macdonald gets opportunity for sound at Disney
  • 1936 – Carl Stalling works at Warner Brothers
  • 1937 – Motion Picture Editors Guild
  • 1938 – Wage increase (10%) by MPEG
  • 1941 – Jimmy Macdonald makes sounds for “Dumbo”
  • 1943 – International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE under MPEG)
  • 1944 – (MPEG) Society of Motio PFE
  • 1948 – The birth of Ben Burtt
  • 1965 – Dolby Laboratories (UK)
  • 1966 – Dolby makes Dolby A (Sound compressor, controller and noice reduction)
  • 1968 – Dolby B (Dynamic range for consumer market)
  • 1969 – Zoetrope Film
  • 1970 – “The God Father” and the release of THX (Zoetrope)
  • 1971 – Dolby’s first film “Clockwork Orange”
  • 1974 – “Callon” (Dolby-encoded Optical Sound)
  • 1975 – Director of Sound Ben Burtt “Star Wars”
  • 1975  – Dolby Stereo and the movie “Lisztomania” (Dolby)
  • 1976 – “A Star Is Born” (Dolby)
  • 1976 – Dolby Laboratories moves to the US
  • 1977 – Ben Burtt and Sprocket System wins Best Sound & Best Sound Edit for years to come
  • 1978 – Ben Burtt “Body Snatchers”
  • 1980 – Zoetrope Film “Apocalypse Now” (Movemet towards digital)
  • 1982 – Ben Burtt “E.T”
  • 1982 – Sprocket System moves to new ranch
  • 1983 – “Return of the Jedi” (Ben Burtt)
  • 1985 – Zoetrope new Unix – based computers for film editing
  • 1987 – Sprocket chages to the new Skywalker Sound
  • 1988 – “Willow” Ben Burtt
  • 1989 – “Indiana Jones” Ben Burtt
  • 1992 – “Batman Returns” (Batman Returns)
  • 1995 – The release of laser disc
  • 1997 – Zork: Grad Iquisitor” Computer Game Ben Burtt
  • 1998 – Sound mixers and recordists are added to MPEG protection
  • 2008 – “Wall-E” Ben Burtt
  • 2012 – Dolby Surround 7.1

Time Line Reflection and Analysis

When I look down this historical time line and look over the links and materials I have found, I see two thing: I see that the encouragement of two young business men had set the stage for a number of bright film makers to make incredible steps towards the progression of sound design. Also I see the technology and landmark companies giving these individuals the confidence and freedom to promote it.

I will start my critical reflection by first mentioning that if it wasn’t for the necessary invention of the Kinetoscope and Dickinson’s brave decision to embark on his own company and production of the Eidoloscope;- sound animation would not have been given the influence or kick start it needed for it’s development. Although it is safe to say that if these two pioneers did not come up with the design the idea of motion picture would have been someone else’s progression, as the idea of motion picture was always something people shared. Although  if it wasn’t invented at this time such individuals like George Groves and Ben Burtt would have not been the ones to make the big progressions to sound, and who knows what that could have meant: It properly would have meant a long list of bland movies with mediocre efforts toward sound design. Lets face it; such movies like “Star Wars” and “The God Father” were revolutionary and their influences are still being seen to have effect on new film makers.

I feel that the best efforts made towards sound design were from George Groves and Jack Foley just because of the amount of appreciation their work has been given. For example George Groves was in a league of his own and my finding have proven him to be so much more that just a sound operator, his work ethics were incredible and he would often work outside of his job description. It was as if he and he alone knew exactly what sound design was all about as he brought sound to film and even made adaptations to it before he was finished. Groves led where as others followed, and was awarded as one of the biggest contributors:

“The greatest contribution to the film’s success”
– Al Jolson

Jack Foley had diverse and creative understanding of how sound could and should be used. This bred Ben Burtt who’s efforts blew any scale of achievement toward sound; he was and is still is the leading man for sound design who’s incredible talents have given film an extraordinary appeal.

Such bodies like USITT and MPEG also need to be considered as without these any sound desiger from the 1960’s would have properly had all there creative talents zapped from them by the big leading companies such as Warner Brothers. I feel especially MPEG would have issued the right terms and mean for these individuals to work under.

Dolby I feel is responsible for the biggest and most crucial steps toward sound design. Without Dolby we would have never experienced a clean sound meaning an impossible task for sound designers. Their possibilities would have been limited and their skills would only sought to a certain level meaning certain designers may not have shrived as each individual would have more or less sounded the same. Although Zoetrope films made it possible for computerised video mixing (making the first progression toward digital) and Skywalker sounds for their incredible software;- Dolby had been running for years before them and their development as a whole has been more noticeable in the eyes of the public than any other landmark company. The cinema experience relies heavily on Dolby; sound designers rely on stereo recording and the means of compressing and expanding sound; film makers expect sound to be piercing when heard and consumers want to have the best experience when watching film and television. All this is due to sound and I feel Dolby’s efforts will be seen and heard for generations to come where as all other predecessors will be forgotten and their efforts will go unnoticed.

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