Synchronization as a Sound-Image Relationship

In the second half of the nineteenth century, processes were developed and devices built that enabled sounds and moving images to record themselves over time and then be played back: gramophone and film. This is the starting point of a history of technical audiovisual media in which a central problem of the relationships between image and sound they involve is a temporal one; more precisely: one related to establishing the simultaneity of seeing and hearing; or formulated as a technical problem: the synchronization of sound and image. A look at the prominent historical points with respect to the technical interconnection of image and sound media — from Edison’s Kineto-phonograph to digital audiovisual formats — shows that the individual technical media for image and sound involved change, as do the methods of their synchronization. As the contractual partner changes, so too does the audiovisual contract.