Greener film soundtracks win Academy Award. As the film world awaits the tearing of envelopes at Sunday's Oscar ceremony, some are already clutching their Academy Awards. Among them are the 12 technicians.
The team worked to replace the silver used in soundtracks with cyan dye, reducing the need for harmful chemicals and saving 2,000 kilograms of silver and more than 150 million litres of water each year.
On black and white films, it was silver printed on the celluloid. The soundtracks would run alongside of each frame as a silver strip. Light shone through the soundtrack and a photcell on the opposite side captured the light converting it to sound. Color film uses cyan, magenta and yellow dyes. Now the light is infrared. It passes through the dyes and hits the photocell. So silver was added to blot out unwanted noisyness. This involved many toxic chemicals and made it hard to dispose of the film.
A solution was discovered by Dolby Laboratories. They changed the light to a red LED. So now we have a film system that is a bit more environmentally friendly.
This is great news, because they could have just continued and not cared at all. I applaud them for contributing in a business that is known for it's waste and excess.