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1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 339 (326)

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition
1948-49 Theatre Catalog
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 339
Page 339

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 339

and distribution of reflected sounds within it. This is accomplished, in the manner already discussed, by sound-absorbing material for different pitches of sound and reflecting material at suitable angles for distribution of sound. An example of a completed studio is Studio 8-H of the National Broadcasting Company in New York.

The associated control room is soundproofed from the studio to prevent feedback. It need not be quite so soundproof against outside noise as the studio itself, but it must have nearly perfect listening conditions for proper monitoring of a program, judging quality, microphone placement, and poor performance.

The higher the fidelity of the program, the more necessary it becomes to try for acoustical perfection in both the studio and the control room. A place used primarily for playing records is relatively unimportant compared to a studio originating frequency-modulation programs.

All of us are interested in television. A studio used for telecasting is in some ways quite different from those used for broadcasting and recording; yet they are similar in many respects to the present sound stages for motion pictures. Here, again, the first requirement is isolation from extraneous noise to prevent transmission of something foreign to the program.

In television as in sound motion pictures, two senses are being catered to, the sound and the vision must match. If an outdoor Scene is being shot the sound should not be reverberant as though coming from a rain barrel; and conversely an indoor scene must carry a certain amount of room acoustics to make it sound real. The first condition is secured by covering practically all of the interior surfaces with a very efficient sound-absorbing material, to allow as little echo and reverberation as possible. In the second condition, when shots require reverberation, the reflection of sound is usually accomplished by reflective surfaces of sets and flies, or by adding reverberation through chambers or mechanical devices.

The reverberation chamber is a room with very hard surfaces. The echo chamber is one where a desired length of sound path may be used between microphone and speaker. One mechanical device is composed of a series of long damped springs with the alternate ends massdoaded and clamped for reflection of mechanical vibration induced by the signal. These devices may be used as a parallel signal path so as much of their effect may be added to the signal as is desired.

A television studio should have a ceil ing height capable of accommodating place and mount special lights. The ven tilating system must be adequate to ban. dle the increased load caused by the lighting. Usually catwalks are used to heat from the intense lighting. The whole effort is to bring as many scenic conditions as possible under a protective roof and within soundproof walls and close to the elaborate equipment needed for pickup and telecasting a program.

In all of these enclosed spaces we are attempting to produce programs and entertainment which will be the most natural and pleasing to the greatest number of people. For this reason sound coming with television and with motion pictures, too, should match the scene conditions. If the actors are evidently in a living room their voices should sound as though they were in a normal-sized room and not as if they were in the bathroom, or out in the woods. Music, too, should have its normal reverberation and not give the impression that the Violins are stuffed with cotton.

This whole science of architectural, or space acoustics, as we have called it, is a rather simple thing. It is just a matter of common sense to have our studios treated to give them natural sound and to have our theatres designed so that everyone in them hears the sound as it should be. If the rules previously stated are followed there should be no reason why this goal cannot be attained.


An unusual seating effort, in order to gain a plush reputation, was tried out recently at the Park Avenue, New York. Nationally known decorator Dorothy Draper was out to prove that the comforts of the best living room could be brought

into the theatre auditorium, and, as a direct result, she started with the living room chairs.

Much is to be said for and against this effort in modern seating, but for practical theatre industry considerations, fu ture maintenance is the most important. Regardless of how well constructed or strongly sprung and upholstered, it does not seem reasonable to suppose that such Hlove seatsll can equal the enduring strength of a steel theatre chair. Future reupholstering of such large covered areas is still another facet, and welll let the pest control and exterminator companies tell us of the headaches attendant. to such deep gussets and sewn pads.

The Park Avenue is an unusual theatre catering to a most unusual uppercrust audience and charging an admission scale that is in accordance with it. The only dirty shirt or soiled linen to cross its threshold should be on the back of a service man, and not a patron. Referring to such an audience, Hon them it looks good!"

To sum it up, as most subjects relating to the theatre must be summed, there is no questioning it's Park Avenue comfort, but is it practical on Main Street?

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 339