The various sounds made by our film cameras are certainly music to our ears, and it’s good to know that we’re not the only ones that still find them fascinating. Listen to a podcast by npr where they share some insights from their listeners recalling some of their favorite vintage sounds made by cameras and other nostalgic equipment.
In a recent podcast, npr shared the responses to their call-out for their listeners to tell about the sounds from older technology that they miss. These stories were accompanied by audio samples of vintage sounds made by all sorts of nostalgia-inducing equipment, such as phonographs, typewriters, and of course, film cameras.
I think we will all be quick to admit that among the myriad of reasons why we love shooting with analogue are the sounds that they make. While digital cameras have been designed to be as silent as possible, film cameras, on the other hand, all have their own signature click, snap, whirr, thud, or clank. Yes, film camera sounds can be so varied, which perhaps add some character to certain cameras.
A listener from Pennsylvania nicely described the sounds made by her Kodak Brownie Starflash camera, given to her as a present for her 12th birthday in 1959. “It was kind of a subdued crescendoing of a ratchety (?), clicking noise. It took two full turns to advance the Kodak 127 film to the next number. It sounded like the cicada makes on a summer night.”
I don’t know if any of you does it as well, but I also like listening to the high-pitched purring of flashes as they power up. Turns out I wasn’t alone in this auditory fixation, as another listener from Nashville shared a composition inspired by the flash charging sounds made by his Kodak 110 camera.
“The moment that the idea sparked for this piece, I had heard a sound that reminded me of the charging flash on one of the old Kodak 110 cameras. I remember walking around with, basically, that brick strapped around my wrist. And, flicking on that flash in order to get ready to take a picture and just hearing that shrill, electronic charging sound that rose in pitch until it’s finally undetectable…”
Listen to the npr podcast below:
What about you, how would you describe the sounds of your favorite film cameras? Share your thoughts with us with a comment below!