5 Things You Learn As A Film Projectionist

During my time at university I have had the great fortune of learning how to operate a classic 35mm film projector. The Victoria 5000 projector (which we affectionately nicknamed €˜Vicky€™) is an overbearing, loud piece of machinery that squats proudly in the centre of the projection room. During the film when Vicky is in full flow, she resembles a steam train, a powerful juggernaut chugging along at top speed. However, sadly, like the steam train, Vicky is becoming obsolete and will soon be nothing more than a symbol of a past generation.

The digital age of cinema has arrived. The university, keen not to be left behind, has invested in a DCP digital projector. It is sexy and sophisticated with a glossy black finish; a technical supermodel making Vicky look like an old washed-up soccer mom. Though both can work in tandem, the digital projector will rule the roost and claim Vicky€™s crown. Drawing mainly on my experiences with the old 35mm projector and a few from the new digital projector, here are 5 things that I have learned during my time as a film projectionist.

1. Preparing The Film Is A Time Consuming €“ But Rewarding Process

A film on 35mm format will arrive in separate reels, the number of reels depending on the length of the film. It is the projectionist€™s job to splice these reels together in order to make one complete film. This seems like a mundane task involving little mental or physical effort. And it is, but even so, one can€™t help but feel some kind of emotional attachment to the film. After spending a long dreary Sunday afternoon splicing the film together, there is something peculiarly rewarding about seeing the finished product. Forgive me for using this sickeningly sentimental phrase, but I feel as though a part of me is with the film. Even if the film in question happens to be Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1.
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A student currently doing an English Language & Literature degree. I'm kind of a big deal. My apartment smells of rich mahogany and I have many leather-bound books. Anchorman is my favourite film.