Titanic's Whistles

A

Aaron_2016

Guest
Beware of sound in movies. Look up early film sound man Jack Foley.

Something else I've noticed -- most often the number of long and short (today "prolonged" and short) blasts heard do not match any of the standard whistle signals used by ships. Hmmm....

-- David G. Brown

I think that has to do with editing techniques with film scenes that are too long and are changed around, or end up on the cutting room floor to save time. e.g. One or two blasts of the ship's horn is enough for the audience to know the ship is departing and instead of continually showing the whistle they edit the footage of the ship departing so that 30 minutes of actual events occur in a fraction of that time owing to filming constrictions and time limits e.g. like filming a TV commercial which takes weeks to complete but only lasts a few seconds.


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David G. Brown

David G. Brown

RIP
Maneuvering signals are given on whistles, no matter what their physical construction.

The only "horn" is the fog horn which is usually the same as the maneuvering whistle. Go figure.

Departing a berth is a maneuvering situation. On US "Inland" waters this requires a prolonged blast before getting under way. International Rules don't require the prolonged blast, but it is permitted for vessels not in sight of one another. In both sets of rules when astern propulsion is used three short blasts are used. So, the hodge-podge of Hollywood whistle grunts, groans, toots and shrieks are just the imagination of the sound mixer.

Even so, I must point out that until the coming of magnetic stripe sound film after WW-2 it was a real chore to shoot "synched" sound. The cameras and recording gear were beyond clumsy. It was possible to shoot something similar to what we call a "sound bite" in those days, but only at great expense. The sound was always recorded on a separate machine from the camera in a process known as "double system." Shooting silent B roll continued right through the film era in news coverage and is still common today. It took only a single cinematographer and his camera and tripod. "Wild," or unsynched sound was recorded on a disk, wire, or (later) 1/4-inch tape.

Because putting natural sound to picture on location required a lot of work, studios tended to collect libraries of sounds which were used over and over from feature films to documentaries. The same big, throaty steam whistle sound might blast from Olympic on this picture and from Berengaria on the next. Economics rule.

So, don't believe you are hearing the real McCoy when you see an image of steam spewing from a whistle. The sound could have been recorded years apart and miles away from the picture.

-- David G. Brown
 
E

Eliza

Member
I always thought the funnel whistle on the Titanic was made by John Danks & Son, in Melbourne. It's sister whistle is said to be in Wonthaggi, Victoria, which was a coal mining town until 1968. The 3-chambered mine whistle still blows in the town centre at 12.00 noon every day.
 
Steven Christian

Steven Christian

Member
I always thought the funnel whistle on the Titanic was made by John Danks & Son, in Melbourne. It's sister whistle is said to be in Wonthaggi, Victoria, which was a coal mining town until 1968. The 3-chambered mine whistle still blows in the town centre at 12.00 noon every day.
Well according to this article the whistle was as of the same design as Titanic's but not that they made Titanic's whistle. Plus the mine whistle was made a year after Titanic sank in 1913. But if you find anything different let us know.
http://wonthaggihistoricalsociety.org.au/files/plod/Mine_Whistle.pdf
 
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