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Sounds Exciting

A high level of dedication and expertise is revealed by three “amateur” filmmakers as they add multi-track sound effects to a home movie.

Amateur film 1971 10 mins

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This is a fascinating film of some of Britain’s most accomplished amateur filmmakers in 1970 demonstrating how to add sound to 16 mm film, well before the digital age. Three members of Leeds Mercury Movie Makers use a highly sophisticated system of twin turntables, reel-to-reel players, a mixing desk, and a cine-synch machine designed by Alan Sidi, who also provides a voiceover explaining the entire process as they use it for a film directed by another member.

This is one of a collection of highly accomplished films made by members of MMM, formed as a sub-section of Leeds Cine Club in 1959 to make 16 mm film (hence Group 16). Both Ken Leckenby and Reg White, seen here, were members of the MMM, but Alan Sidi was the inspirational force behind many of their films, as well as over a hundred of his own. As a self-employed engineer, Alan was also the most technically able, inventing his own Cine-Synch machine in the 1960s enabling sound to be added in synchronisation with 16 mm film, in this case to, ‘On Every Child’s Shoulder Sits a Guardian Angel’. The room in the film, entirely devoted to film editing, was in Alan’s house, Val D’or, later purchased by the footballer Terry Yorath.