The prototype of the LP was the soundtrack disc used by the Vitaphone motion picture sound system, developed by Western Electric and introduced in 1926. For soundtrack purposes, the less than five minutes of playing time of each side of a conventional 12-inch 78 rpm disc was not acceptable. The sound had to play continuously for at least 11 minutes, long enough to accompany a full 1,000-foot (300 m) reel of 35 mm film projected at 24 frames per second. The disc diameter was increased to 16 inches (40 cm) and the speed was reduced to 33 1⁄3 revolutions per minute. Unlike their smaller LP descendants, they were made with the same large "standard groove" used by 78s.
Unlike conventional records, the groove started at the inside of the recorded area near the label and proceeded outward toward the edge. Like 78s, early soundtrack discs were pressed in an abrasive shellac compound and played with a single-use steel needle held in a massive electromagnetic pickup with a tracking force of five ounces (1.4 N).
By mid-1931, all motion picture studios were recording on optical soundtracks, but sets of soundtrack discs, mastered by dubbing from the optical tracks and scaled down to 12 inches to cut costs, were made as late as 1936 for distribution to theaters still equipped with disc-only sound projectors