IELTS Academic Reading Practice 87

 
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This reading practice simulates one part of the IELTS Academic Reading test. You should spend about twenty minutes on it. Read the passage and answer questions 27-40.

Questions 27-32

The reading passage has six paragraphs labelled A-F.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter A-F in boxes 27-32 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

27 An explanation of how the use of sound in film spread
28 A reference to what is considered a ground-breaking sound film
29 An account of how the early movie industry was altered by contemporary technology
30 An outline of the difficulties faced by the early sound pioneers
31 A reference to motion pictures before the advent of sound
32 How other areas of innovation produced a greater demand for sound
Questions 33-38

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage? In boxes 33-38 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE   if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE   if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN   if there is no information on this

33. The writer considers the invention of ‘talking pictures’ to be less important than the introduction of colour.
34. Early mainstream film makers did not listen to the public’s demand for sound films.
35. Then the first full length sound movie was released, other studies could not compete.
36. It took a long period of time for ‘talking pictures’ to become established.
37. Initially it was difficult for filmmakers to make films in Europe.
38. French film makers disliked and were therefore slow to use sound in film.
Questions 39-40

Choose two letters A-E.

Write your answers in boxes 39-40 on your answer sheet.

Which TWO of the following are stated about the film “The Battleship Potemkin”?
  1. Its success led to international interest in outfitting theaters for sound films
  2. It had its own original film score
  3. It required the cooperation of a film director and musical composer
  4. It was released by the American movie studio, Warner Brothers
  5. Many western theatres used a narrator before the introduction of ‘talking pictures’

39
40

Answer Sheet
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
N/A
16
N/A
17
N/A
18
N/A
19
N/A
20
N/A
21
N/A
22
N/A
23
N/A
24
N/A
25
N/A
26
N/A
27
N/A
28
N/A
29
N/A
30
N/A
31
N/A
32
N/A
33
N/A
34
N/A
35
N/A
36
N/A
37
N/A
38
N/A
39
N/A
40
N/A


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The History of Sound in Film

A The entertainment industry as we know it today was shaped by a number of changes throughout the early twentieth century. Film began to advance as an entertainment medium in the 1920’s amid developments in technology and shifts in style. The use of multiple projectors and color processors allowed further innovations to be made in film, and after the subsequent invention of the television, screen sizes continued to grow larger. However, it’s arguable that the most important transformation in film came not from expanding screens or the transition to Technicolor, but from the inclusion of sound. As a rapid popularization of “talking pictures,” or “talkies” took hold through the 1920’s, the future of film as the artform and entertainment source we know today was permanently altered.

B Prior to films with sound, silent films dominated the screens of early movie theaters. However, these films were not exactly “silent.” Motion pictures before the addition of sound still included some sound effects in an attempt to make the motion picture experience more exciting for movie goers. Movie theaters at the time often housed instruments, such as pianos or organs, which allowed live musicians to play sounds accompanying actions in the screening film. In early Japanese movie theaters, voice actors known as “benshi” narrated movies alongside musical accompaniment in real-time by standing to the side of the screen, sometimes voicing the roles of multiple characters at a time. In other cases, music composers would create original film scores to pair with particular films. An example of these original musical film scores can been seen in the 1925 soviet film “The Battleship Potemkin,” screened in Berlin, Germany, when the film’s director Sergei Eisenstein and Austrian composer Edmund Meisel produced a score for the film which successfully brought together both sound and image.

C In modern times, the use of sound in movies may seem to have been an obvious advancement for film, but this was not always the case. Early pioneers of film were attempting to figure out how to add sound to recorded film in the years leading up to World War One, with public displays of sound films appearing as early as 1900. However, any technology available at the time was sorely lacking, limiting filmmakers to poor quality recording and sound amplification, as well as unreliable synchronization of film and sound. These restrictions in early sound filmmaking resulted in poor quality film and out-of-sync sound recordings, leaving the future of sound in movies questionable for viewers in the 1920’s. Though critics of early sound films disregarded their ongoing popularity, innovative filmmakers continued their experiments. Eventually, as scientific interest in sound technology progressed, so did the public’s desire for film with sound.

D Concurrently to the development of films with sound, the phone was also an area of interest during this period. As wireless technology began to emerge, so did new leaders in sound technology, with American companies such as American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) and General Electric (GE) dominated their industries throughout their commercially driven constant searches for the next big technological development. It was around this time that a completely new form of media appeared with the introduction of commercial radio programming. Rapid innovations in sound technology compounded with the public’s great enjoyment of these new forms of entertainment, the film industry stood poised for its next great leap forward.

E Initially, short films were the only ones being made with sound. That was until October 1927, when Warner Brothers released the company’s first full-length feature film including sound, “The Jazz Singer.” The highly successful film was made using the most advanced technology available at that time, a sound-on-disc system. As other movie studios of the time lagged behind, Warner Brothers continued to dominate the market of feature-length talking films, with three subsequent films released within that same year. Finally, in September 1928, Paramount followed suit as the next studio to release its first sound film, “Beggars of Life.” It wasn’t long before competing studios seized upon the commercially profitable opportunity of including sound films, with most releasing their own in the year and a half to follow. In the two years after the initial release of “The Jazz Singer,” over 300 additional sound films, many including music, were released within the United States. By the year 1930, the majority American movie theaters were operating with sound capabilities as the trend for sound films swept the nation.

F Outside of the United States, the successful release of “The Jazz Singer” began influencing European filmmakers as well. Throughout Europe, new sound technology in film became a phenomenon as well. However, European filmmakers were limited by being technologically behind the United States, and had to shoot films abroad throughout the first few years. Both European studios and theaters scrambled to catch up and take part in sound film, therefore many European filmmakers at the time chose to make their films both with and without sound, so that both versions could be screened. By the end of the year 1930, over half of British theaters had sound capability, keeping pace with the United States. Meanwhile, in France, most theaters were not equipped with sound well into the end of 1932.

Reading Passage Vocabulary
The History of Sound in Film

A The entertainment industry as we know it today was shaped by a number of changes throughout the early twentieth century. Film began to advance as an entertainment medium in the 1920’s amid developments in technology and shifts in style. The use of multiple projectors and color processors allowed further innovations to be made in film, and after the subsequent invention of the television, screen sizes continued to grow larger. However, it’s arguable that the most important transformation in film came not from expanding screens or the transition to Technicolor, but from the inclusion of sound. As a rapid popularization of “talking pictures,” or “talkies” took hold through the 1920’s, the future of film as the artform and entertainment source we know today was permanently altered.

B Prior to films with sound, silent films dominated the screens of early movie theaters. However, these films were not exactly “silent.” Motion pictures before the addition of sound still included some sound effects in an attempt to make the motion picture experience more exciting for movie goers. Movie theaters at the time often housed instruments, such as pianos or organs, which allowed live musicians to play sounds accompanying actions in the screening film. In early Japanese movie theaters, voice actors known as “benshi” narrated movies alongside musical accompaniment in real-time by standing to the side of the screen, sometimes voicing the roles of multiple characters at a time. In other cases, music composers would create original film scores to pair with particular films. An example of these original musical film scores can been seen in the 1925 soviet film “The Battleship Potemkin,” screened in Berlin, Germany, when the film’s director Sergei Eisenstein and Austrian composer Edmund Meisel produced a score for the film which successfully brought together both sound and image.

C In modern times, the use of sound in movies may seem to have been an obvious advancement for film, but this was not always the case. Early pioneers of film were attempting to figure out how to add sound to recorded film in the years leading up to World War One, with public displays of sound films appearing as early as 1900. However, any technology available at the time was sorely lacking, limiting filmmakers to poor quality recording and sound amplification, as well as unreliable synchronization of film and sound. These restrictions in early sound filmmaking resulted in poor quality film and out-of-sync sound recordings, leaving the future of sound in movies questionable for viewers in the 1920’s. Though critics of early sound films disregarded their ongoing popularity, innovative filmmakers continued their experiments. Eventually, as scientific interest in sound technology progressed, so did the public’s desire for film with sound.

D Concurrently to the development of films with sound, the phone was also an area of interest during this period. As wireless technology began to emerge, so did new leaders in sound technology, with American companies such as American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) and General Electric (GE) dominated their industries throughout their commercially driven constant searches for the next big technological development. It was around this time that a completely new form of media appeared with the introduction of commercial radio programming. Rapid innovations in sound technology compounded with the public’s great enjoyment of these new forms of entertainment, the film industry stood poised for its next great leap forward.

E Initially, short films were the only ones being made with sound. That was until October 1927, when Warner Brothers released the company’s first full-length feature film including sound, “The Jazz Singer.” The highly successful film was made using the most advanced technology available at that time, a sound-on-disc system. As other movie studios of the time lagged behind, Warner Brothers continued to dominate the market of feature-length talking films, with three subsequent films released within that same year. Finally, in September 1928, Paramount followed suit as the next studio to release its first sound film, “Beggars of Life.” It wasn’t long before competing studios seized upon the commercially profitable opportunity of including sound films, with most releasing their own in the year and a half to follow. In the two years after the initial release of “The Jazz Singer,” over 300 additional sound films, many including music, were released within the United States. By the year 1930, the majority American movie theaters were operating with sound capabilities as the trend for sound films swept the nation.

F Outside of the United States, the successful release of “The Jazz Singer” began influencing European filmmakers as well. Throughout Europe, new sound technology in film became a phenomenon as well. However, European filmmakers were limited by being technologically behind the United States, and had to shoot films abroad throughout the first few years. Both European studios and theaters scrambled to catch up and take part in sound film, therefore many European filmmakers at the time chose to make their films both with and without sound, so that both versions could be screened. By the end of the year 1930, over half of British theaters had sound capability, keeping pace with the United States. Meanwhile, in France, most theaters were not equipped with sound well into the end of 1932.

 
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