The Dickson Experimental Sound Film is a film made by William Kennedy-Laurie Dickson (1860-1935) in late 1894 or early 1895. It is the first known film with live-recorded sound and appears to be the first example of a motion picture made for the Kinetophone, the proto-sound-film system developed by Dickson and Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931). (The Kinetophone—consisting of a Kinetoscope accompanied by a cylinder-playing phonograph—was not successful as a sound-film system as it was difficult to synchronize image and audio throughout playback.) The film was produced at the 'Black Maria', Edison's New Jersey film studio. There is no evidence that it was ever exhibited in its original format. Newly digitized and restored, it is the only surviving Kinetophone film with live-recorded sound.
The movie features Dickson playing a violin into a recording cone for an off-camera wax cylinder. In front of Dickson, two men dance to the music. In the final seconds, a fourth man briefly crosses from left to right behind the cone. The running time of the restored film is 17 seconds; the accompanying cylinder contains approximately two minutes of sound, including 23 seconds of violin music, encompassing the film's soundtrack. After its restoration in 2000, the Dickson Experimental Sound Film was selected for inclusion in the United States National Film Registry.
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