Thursday, 30 July 2009
How it all works
Of all the questions people ask me, the most frequent is - how do films arrive? In a box? In a reel? The fascination with the mechanics of how we show films has always been there...I suppose it's the cousin of that other curiosity, how films are made.
The biggest treat for most people is a visit to the projection box, where our 1950/1970s hybrid projector lives alongside the more modern digital NEC and Doremi server. (The picture here is from when both 1950s projectors were working intact).
Films these days arrive in two formats: 35mm or Digital. When it's the former, it usually gets delivered in a box in five or six different reels (depending on film length, each reel is about 15 minutes long). These are then put together onto one big reel and played through the projector. Old fashioned systems used to play one reel at a time, with a second projector starting the next reel - this was called the changeover (recreated superbly in FIGHT CLUB) - the cue indicated by a mark on the upper right hand corner of the print - keep an eye out for that mark every fifteen minutes or so next time you watch a film.
When it arrives digitally, it's a little simpler (and less glamorous). We upload the drive, usually between 100-150GB (no bigger than a small book) into our 1.5 tetrabyte server, and hit play. I've already bored you with why digital is so much nicer (perfect focus, sound, no scratches, etc) and this is just one more reason.
So next time you sit back at the Dukes, see if you can tell the difference.