"Everybody laughed off what we were trying to do in creating a video recorder. You can't imagine the amount of snickering that went on in that late 1952 period when we were trying to build our first video tape recorder. Let's say we'd go into the lunch room or the coffee room to get a cup of coffee, and the other engineers would say, 'he's still working on that stuff? It's never gonna work.'"
About This Interview
In his three-and-a-half hour Archive Interview, Ray Dolby (1933-2013) discusses his early interests in technology and music. He describes tinkering with tape recorders and starting to work at Ampex while still in high school (even getting national security clearance at age eighteen to work on classified projects). He talks of his main projects at Ampex, including developing an all electronic system for synchronizing sound, which resulted in his first patent. Dolby then discusses his work on the first video tape recorder, alongside fellow engineers Charles Ginsburg and Alexander M. Poniatoff. He chronicles creating a pulse FM system for modulating the signal going to video tape, and outlines the developments that made the recording system viable. He talks about creating Dolby Laboratories and developing his revolutionary noise reduction system. Dolby recalls the initial doubts from the sound industry about the usability of his system, explains how he adapted Dolby noise reduction for movie theaters, and recounts the reluctance of theater owners to use it. He speaks of the challenges of building his company and hiring the right people, talks of what it's like to be a household name, and shares how he'd like to be remembered. Karen Herman conducted the interview on March 26, 2007 in San Francisco, CA.