A French Scopitone S Series
Inside the Scopitone
The Scopitone is a film jukebox, first manufactured in France in 1960. Scopitone films are the ancestors of today's music videos, using colour 16mm film with a magnetic soundtrack. The machine is the size of a refrigerator and films are projected on a 26 inch screen.
Like a conventional jukebox, customers were able to choose which video to hear and watch. They were so popular in Europe, particularly in West Germany and England, that by 1964 the Scopitone obsession spread to the United States. But by 1970 they had been superseded by the growth of colour television. During this short period of time they moved very quickly from an entertainment institution to an irritation, mainly due to old 1940s technology, poor film quality and high maintenance. Only just over 300 Scopitones were manufactured worldwide.