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Sound After An Era Of Silence

1368 words - 6 pages

Silent animation films became increasingly popular throughout the 1910s as they were shown prior to live action films in theaters worldwide when, concurrently, enthusiasm towards cinema as a whole became a widespread phenomenon. During the ensuing decade, sound became a prevalent part of cinema when sound-on-film technology was first innovated, culminating in the famous release and subsequent popularity of The Jazz Singer in 1927. As expected, this technology was soon adapted to animation, most notably in Paul Terry's Dinner Time and Walt Disney's Steamboat Willie, both of which were released in 1928. These, and numerous other animated shorts that incorporated sound, were soon rendered as contemporary classics, but many still believed in and argued for the value and purity of silent animations, for they were often believed to exemplify the true essence of animation and imagination. Regardless, both silent and sound treatments of animated films show a great disparity in motion design and cinematography, aesthetic experience, and film structure and plot.
With animation came imagination, especially during the silent era films. In silent movies since there was no sound involved imagination was one of the main keys of enhancing your watching experience. This is the reason why cartoons have always been steered towards children, due to them having imagination in their younger ages. Silent animation had to display the plot of the story but without sound. This made it so that characters needed to have exaggerated expressions and movement. Body language in these animations helped display what the sound would have displayed. This was especially important for when animators wanted to show emotions in a character. It is possible to show emotion through a silent animation but much harder than when you have sound to back you up. An emotion like sadness for example would be much harder to display without being able to add the sad voice tone when a character is talking, or change in background music to a sadder tone. Most movie theaters had piano players playing one type of tune over the animation. Another substitute for sound in silent movies was speech bubbles and written sound effects. These substitutes helped fill in where sound couldn't be at the time. Whole scenes of background information were added in animations to help the audience understand where the plot was being taken. Also written sound effects such as notes coming from a instrument or This also draws back to how imagination was important while watching during the silent era of animation. Since there was no given sound to character speech the audience was free to interpret and read the speech bubbles in whatever voice they felt fit the character. Just like when you read a book and have a different voice in your head for each character.
Felix The Cat in Hollywood is a short animation that epitomizes the usage of these tricks to help the audience imagine sound without it being...

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