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Multiple Sidosis

wheels's picture

This is a movie I first saw half-a-dozen years ago. It had mostly slipped from memory until I saw that TCM was showing it late last Sunday night. I recorded it, and just finished watching it, and I thought others might be interested in it, also.

Sid Lavrentis was an aerospace engineer who enjoyed making amateur movies, but he started out in his teens as a one-man band in vaudeville. Multiple Sidosis was a technical tour-de-force - he used the sound-on-sound capability of his reel-to-reel tape recorder (I used to have the same model, by the way) to record the individual tracks. Unlike what can be done today, he only had two tracks to work with, so he first recorded one instrument/vocal track on one stereo channel (call it the left channel). The second instrument/vocal track would be recorded to the right channel, mixed with the previous track. The third track would be recorded to the left channel again, mixed with whatever was on the right channel. Not much room for error there.

The video recording was even more unforgiving - he was using an 8mm film movie camera, so each individual image track had to be recorded through a mask, so only part of each frame was exposed each time. The film had to be synchronized with the tape, and any mistake would require throwing the film (and tape) away and starting over. And he could only see how well he'd done by sending the film out to be processed and watching the result when it returned.

It took him four years to make this movie. All in all, it's an impressive production. You can see it here.