Apple posts "the story behind the Song" featuring old and new music recording technology

Posted:
in iPad edited December 2014
Following the weekend release of its tearjerker holiday ad featuring a girl who records a duet with a discovered vinyl recording by her grandmother, Apple has posted a video showing the technology behind both recordings.



Apple's original ad, named "the Song," implies that the grandmother recorded a song for her husband in the military.

A follow up video Apple posted to its YouTube account (embedded below) serves as a mini-documentary of "Voice-o-Graph" recording booths from the 1940s that let people record their own voice to a record, complete with a stamped envelope for mailing the recording as an audio postcard.

The original ad was filmed with the help of Third Man Records, which maintains an original recording booth from the WWII era.

The video also presents the granddaughter as being a musician who regularly uses Garage Band, Apple's music recording and editing software that's now bundled for free with new iPhones, iPads and Macs.



The original ad was published with a description reading, "With a Mac, iPhone or iPad you have the power to create thoughtful, emotional gifts and memories that transcend time. It could be a movie, a homemade card or a song that brings two generations closer together."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    davendaven Posts: 514member
    Great and touching commercial. I ran across one of those recording years ago that was made by my uncle to my Grandmother. I'll never forget it. I sent it to my cousins and they also enjoy it.
  • Reply 2 of 30
    Vinyl voice recordings were common in that era. My mother was a recipient of several of these from a WWIi serviceman. Always thought the idea was magical. Glad to see Apple bringing this culture forward into the moment. Good job Apple. Class act as always.
  • Reply 3 of 30
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,010member

    What the extra video didn't say was how she got the recording into Garageband. If she just played it on a record player and let her Mac record the sound through it's microphone might have been inferred but I was hoping for a reference to an analog-to-digital input device. 

     

    Still like both videos.

  • Reply 4 of 30
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member

    Funny that Apple did this, as I was certainly having the thought while watching the commercial, that there would be tons of people asking "what the hell is that weird flat circular thing?".

  • Reply 5 of 30
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,680member
    rob53 wrote: »
    What the extra video didn't say was how she got the recording into Garageband. If she just played it on a record player and let her Mac record the sound through it's microphone might have been inferred but I was hoping for a reference to an analog-to-digital input device. 

    Still like both videos.

    I think it was analog to digital. In the commercial you can sort of see a wire from the MacBook lead to the turntable.
  • Reply 6 of 30
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

     

    What the extra video didn't say was how she got the recording into Garageband. If she just played it on a record player and let her Mac record the sound through it's microphone might have been inferred but I was hoping for a reference to an analog-to-digital input device. 

     

    Still like both videos.




    It looks like she used a USB turntable at 1:22.

  • Reply 7 of 30
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member

    On a related note:

    Several months back, Jack White, who owns the "Record Your Voice" booth that was used to make the recording for this commercial, appeared on (I think it was) The Tonight Show, along with his booth. He then had Neil Young step into it and record Willie Nelson's "Crazy".

    Can probably find it on YouTube if interested. I think the recording is even available for download somewhere.

  • Reply 8 of 30
    bobschlob wrote: »
    On a related note:
    Several months back, Jack White, who owns the "Record Your Voice" booth that was used to make the recording for this commercial, appeared on (I think it was) The Tonight Show, along with his booth. He then had Neil Young step into it and record Willie Nelson's "Crazy".
    Can probably find it on YouTube if interested. I think the recording is even available for download somewhere.


    [VIDEO]
  • Reply 9 of 30
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    Fantastic. Somehow I missed this machine in the 40s and 50s. Must not have made it to middle Ohio and southern Indiana. Looks like a gorgeous piece of work. Does this one live in New York? Got to be one in LA somewhere . . .

    Update: maybe it lives in Nashville.
  • Reply 10 of 30
    flaneur wrote: »
    Fantastic. Somehow I missed this machine in the 40s and 50s. Must not have made it to middle Ohio and southern Indiana. Looks like a gorgeous piece of work. Does this one live in New York? Got to be one in LA somewhere . . .

    Update: maybe it lives in Nashville.

    "...the 1947 Voice-O-Graph recording booth in residence in the Novelties Lounge of White’s Third Man Records office in Nashville."
  • Reply 11 of 30
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,414member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post



    Fantastic. Somehow I missed this machine in the 40s and 50s. Must not have made it to middle Ohio and southern Indiana. Looks like a gorgeous piece of work. Does this one live in New York? Got to be one in LA somewhere . . .



    Update: maybe it lives in Nashville.




    "...the 1947 Voice-O-Graph recording booth in residence in the Novelties Lounge of White’s Third Man Records office in Nashville."

    Yes, that's what he says in the clip talking to Fallon, and he claims "it's the only one available to the public in the world".

  • Reply 12 of 30
    Most record players have rca cables, but operate at a lower level. So you would need a some sort of box to covert the phono signal if you were to use a normal record player.

    USB record players side step that problem by using an internal ADC.
  • Reply 13 of 30
    Bloody brilliant, despite what some sad little curmedgeons think.
  • Reply 14 of 30
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    boredumb wrote: »
    Yes, that's what he says in the clip talking to Fallon, and he claims "it's the only one available to the public in the world".

    Thanks, I see that now. I'm a little out of practice with watching TV.
  • Reply 15 of 30
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,414member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by boredumb View Post



    Yes, that's what he says in the clip talking to Fallon, and he claims "it's the only one available to the public in the world".




    Thanks, I see that now. I'm a little out of practice with watching TV.

    Lol - so many worse things to be out-of-practice at.

  • Reply 16 of 30
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    solipsismy wrote: »
    "...the 1947 Voice-O-Graph recording booth in residence in the Novelties Lounge of White’s Third Man Records office in Nashville."

    Very interesting read, thanks!
  • Reply 17 of 30
    I feel Neil Young really started something when he recorded his album %u2018A Letter Home%u201D in a voice-o-graphic booth (and it%u2019s so cool and approriate it was someone like Neil Young who really cares about music). This ad with its powerful inspiring emotion and reach, could be a life-changing event that inspires young future stars on the level of stars way back then first time seeing the Beatles or Elvis%u2019 on TV. I know I%u2019m a bit of a dreamer%u2014but why not! The way Apple has empowered (and is inspiring) anyone who feels moved to create something and touch another heart/s is truly amazing.
  • Reply 18 of 30
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post



    "...the 1947 Voice-O-Graph recording booth in residence in the Novelties Lounge of White’s Third Man Records office in Nashville."



    I bet it costs more than a quarter to use now, though.  :smokey:

  • Reply 19 of 30
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,165member
    Totally nearly off topic lol but ... Whenever I think of early recordings i think back to the story I came across decades ago, about historians managing to 'hear' Latin actually being spoken. I am not sure if it was an apocryphal story of not but I recall reading that someone managed to get the sounds from a Roman potter's workshop, talking and various background sounds, that had been 'recorded' by the stick pressing against the clay as it spun. The theory was the stick had been steadied on a large bowl of some kind that had acted as a 'microphone pre-amplifier' of sorts and converted the sound into vibrations and thus into a 'modulated groove' on the clay. This had been 'played back' and they heard the voices.

    EDIT ... OMG it is true ... (or April 1st?) LOL
  • Reply 20 of 30
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post





    "...the 1947 Voice-O-Graph recording booth in residence in the Novelties Lounge of White’s Third Man Records office in Nashville."

     

    Thanks for this link.

     

    Hipsters:  Please keep analog alive for the next generation.

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