A podcast from renowned silent film accompanist/historian Ben Model covering the techniques of creating and performing live scores to silent films, as well as a discussion of the language of silent cinema. Find what goes on in the mind of a silent film accompanist before, during and after playing for a show. Learn about the aesthetics of silent filmmaking and storytelling language.
Cabiria, in a new preservation by Cineteca di Bologna, MoMA et al was screened with live theatre organ accompaniment by me. While the running time listed in the catalog was 180 mins, the picture ran closer to 2 hrs 20 mins at our show; same for the press screening I played for (NY Times) on piano the previous week. Am guessing the 3 hr running time is based on projecting the films at 16 fps. We ran it at 21 fps, I believe, which is about what the transfer rate was on the DVD from Kino. Speed looked fine. Major upgrades from what I saw on the Kino disc, which I used to preview the film, were color tints and some additional short pieces of footage which were of poorer quality but filled out gaps in certain shots. Effort was definitely made to make the added footage line up in registration with the footage it was filling out.
Even though the film was from 1914, before the days of theatre organs, I felt that this picture really needed a bigger sound than a solo piano. Crowd reaction to film, and to the organ sound, was enthusiastic.