In all of the industries we sound professionals work in, we are constantly looking to the future. We are looking forward at deadlines, new projects, vacations, conventions, invoices, and bills. In my experience; the past history of what we do and how we did it is a bit deemphasized. We live in a time where there are museums for video games, TV, and film but I am not aware of any institutions dedicated or focusing on sound for video games, TV, or film.
Where did certain sound effects we all know (and sometimes love or hate) come from? Who made them and for what production? There are some resources that shed light on these questions but it is not comprehensive.
While there are pockets of knowledge, institutional or tribal…it is not all centralized in a way to be easily found by us always busy professionals. What film first used an all digital setup in post? What was the last film to use an all analog? Who is responsible for X,Y, or Z techniques and technology we take for granted while working? While some of us may know the answers, not many of us do, and even less may even want to bother asking the question. What are some resources for you that give you insight into the past of professional audio?
For me: Youtubers like Techmoan do deep dives on audio formats and players which is nice for people my age and younger who grew up with the end of cassettes and have little reason to already know about ADAT. Lazy Gamer and others fill in blanks for me in the early days of PC gaming, which as a video game sound designer is insightful to understanding how things are and why they are that way. History of professional game audio itself it a bit of a mystery to me outside of the wonderful BEEP documentary and a few books by Aaron Marks and The Fat Man. Film has more than a few resources as well.
Our History Of topic this month can cover anything above and everything else as well. Field recording, production sound, formats, hardware, software, techniques, people, places, companies, and so on. What aspect of professional sound’s history do you want to know more about?
Please email jack [at] this site to contribute an article for this month’s topic. And as always, please feel free to go “off-topic” if there’s something else you’re burning to share with the community.