What's New, What's Not So New
Do I need a licence to operate a projector in Ontario?
What are the requirements?
As of Feb. 9th 2001 the need to be licensed as a projectionist in Ontario, Canada has been removed from the Theatres Act..
Projectionist Study Outline
The following articles are from Entertainment Equipment's Marquee NewslettersPlease visit their site (from link on next page) to receive your free newsletters.
Lamphouse Reflectors How to care for themA reflector is an optical component of the projection system. Its proper care is critical for a good movie presentation. In most cases it is advisable to clean reflectors every two weeks. Dust and dirt will get into the lamphouse and if not cleaned out will cause etching of the reflector over time. For cleaning, follow the procedures below after the lamphouse has cooled to room temperature. For surfaces that are dirty, but do not have smudges, fingerprints or grease marks Brush the dust from the surface with a soft brush (camel hair is best). Blow away remaining dust using a cotton ball or swab and Dust-Away. --For surfaces that are smudged, have oil or grease marks Moisten a piece of cotton with detergent or lens cleaner. The cotton should be well moistened but not dripping wet. Gently swab the dirty reflector surface, using a spiral motion working from the center to the edge. Sponge up moisture with cheese cloth or lens tissue. NOTE: Never use cheese cloth or lens tissue more than once. Dampen a piece of cotton with methyl alcohol or lens cleaner. Wipe surface using spiral motion from center to edge, in one continuous motion. Dry surface with piece of cotton or lens tissue.Repeat the procedure as required. When the reflector is dry and clean, loosen any remaining lint with a small soft brush or blow clean with Dust-Away. Remember: It takes only a few minutes to clean a reflector and will assure optimum performance from the xenon lamphouse.
Why LED Sound Readers? By Tina Wheeler-SimmonsIn a concerted effort led by Eastman Kodak, the motion picture industry was searching for a way to eliminate the need for silver soundtracks on film. The reasons for the change are numerous and range from safer work conditions at film processing labs, environmental issues, and the desire to reduce the number of replacement prints to the field. The result has been the creation of analog soundtrack reader technology based on a red LED illumination source, which will replace existing exciter lamps as the changeover to silverless analog soundtracks (cyan dye tracks) takes place. The red light-emitting diode (LED) illumination source must be installed in theatres before any change to the new cyan dye tracks takes place. This conversion is taking place now! At the end of this month it is estimated that there will be more than 15,000 red LED reader operating daily in theatres world-wide. LED readers provide significant benefits: 12-15,000 burn hours vs. 3,000 for tungsten based exciter lamps, increased stereo separation, improved frequency response at high signal levels, and more uniform illumination (reducing distortion). LEDs are now being installed at a fast rate, and retrofits are available for the following soundheads: Cinmeccanica, Christie, Century, Simplex, Ballyntyne, Bauer, RCA, Tokiwa, Westrex, Kinoton and Strong. All new projectors being manufactured are equipped with red LED readers. To convert, a theatre's options are as follows:
LED/Reverse Scan Soundhead KitReplaces exciter lamp, optical slit lens, and solar cell.
JAXLIGHTReplaces exciter lamp with LED (keep solar cell and slit lens).
Replaces slit lens and exciter lamp (keep solar cell).Before the full conversion from silver to cyan dye tracks, an intermediate step will occur. Termed High Magenta, these tracks have a slightly denser sound negative, and a different color balance on the release print. Films with the Magenta soundtracks are being released now. The current release of You've Got Mail, is in High Magenta. When a sufficient number of red LED readers have been installed in theatres (within the next 6-12 months) the change to cyan dye tracks will occur. First there will be a number of movies released with the cyan tracks and then the eventual change to 100% cyan dye tracks for all released movies. The use of High Magenta will allow for the needed transition to silverless cyan soundtracks. Theatres should be retrofitting now to take full advantage of this new technology which is inevitable." As you can see from the options available, Ultra Stereo Labs, Inc. has developed a different way to convert existing projectors to read the new cyan tracks. The Ultra Stereo "JAXLIGHT" plugs directly into the exciter lamp socket, working with the existing exciter power supply, slit lens and solar cell.
What if you play a cyan dye track on existing nonconverted equipment?
Answer: The sound will be very low and distorted even with the sound processor's volume at maximum.
Picture and Lens Sizes By Gord McLeod and Jim Lavorato
Many people ask how picture sizes and shapes are calculated when a theatre is being planned and how the lens size is chosen. First, let us deal with the picture shape or aspect ratio. This the ratio of the width to the height of the image as projected on the screen. The standard widescreen (flat) ratio of 1.85:1 means that the picture is 1.85 times wider than it is high.
A Little History of Flat & ScopeWith the advent of sound films the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Oscar folks) adopted the ratio that accommodated the optical soundtrack that had been introduced under Movietone by 2Oth Century Fox. This was 1.375:1. This size remained the industry standard until Television threatened boxoffice receipts and it was felt by many that it would be wise to make movies look different to the "box's" shape that was effectively the Movietone frame (1.375:1). Thus, wider became better and the industry found a good standard developed by Fox in CinemaScope. Originally conceived with no optical sound, but small perf (fox holes) Magnetic sound and with a minimal frame line it had a breathtaking aspect ratio of 2.66:1 or twice as wide as the Academy format. Industry opposition to the magnetic only sound however lead to the introduction of the magopt print that still had the smaller perfs but an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (which is the current cinemascope format). This standard has undergone only minor revision in recent years, "namely", the loss of the mag sound tracks and a reduction of aperture plate size (from .839 x .710 to .825 x .700). This was done to remove the white flashes at the top and the bottom of the screen as the film processing laboratories splices on the negative pass by. The width of the plate was reduced just to maintain the shape but in many new theatres the sides are opened up to the full .839" yielding a picture just under 2.4:1. This difference can be handy for allowing the image centering offset caused by anamorphic lens. Now, back to the flat or spheri-cal 1.85:1 image. During the peak of the early 50's 3D boom it was suggested that the "House of Wax" from Warners be projected at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. This was accomplished by changing the projection lens and filing a new aperture plate. During this same period Univer-sal recommended that their films be projected at a ratio of 1.66 to 1. Then Paramount introduced VistaVision with "White Christmas" and here is what happened. One of the problems that they discovered was that the 2.66:1 ratio of CinemaScope was just too wide for most of the older prosinenum arched theatres and the maximum image that could be fitted was approximately 1.85:1. The other problem discovered was that the CinemaScope image was usually of a very poor quality due to two factors. One was the grain struc-tures of 50's Eastman stock; the other, the anamorphic magnifica-tion factor of 2. Paramount flipped the camera on its side and pulled two frames at a time doubling the image area of the original negative. This would provide either a super sharp image of the regular Movietone size of the same quality but double the screen area. To create a wider look they recommended cropping the film in the projector aperture to a ratio between 1.66:1 to 2:1. They made prints that were double frame (8 perf per frame that ran on special horizontal projectors), standard cropped prints, and prints that had a slight anamorphic squeeze yielding an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Neither the horizontal prints or squeezed prints ever caught on but the recommended cropping ratio did but in two different ratios. In North America it was 1.85:1 and in Europe 1.66:1- these are the current formats. This dual standard however creates a slight problem when it comes to subtitle placement on foreign language prints and the safe area for things like microphone booms-C'est la vie! In the end, SMPTE certified these ratios and they became the "Flat Widescreen Ratios." The aperture sizes are 1.85:1 (466"x .825') and 1.66 (.496'x .825").
70mmThe other area to discuss is 70mm and this film gauge has had various standards in its history as well. The basic 70mm aperture is .870" x 1.912" yielding a shape of 2.21:1. This area has been altered slightly with ultra panavision, with either an edge anamorphic squeeze to yield an average 2.7:1 ratio similar to Cinerama and with D-150 which corrected for the distortion on the Cinerama screens. With "The Untouchables" a wider frame line was used to produce a 2.35:1 CinemaScope print up. There are of course many big frame 70mm applications such as Imax and Iwerks and others that have their own discrete shape.
Now WhatNow that we know the different format shapes and their meanings, we must now adapt that to the real world. Lens calculators (slide rule type or new PC programs) have simplified this to a large extent but in many cases multiple attempts are necessary to find real world lens sizes that will fit either the vertical or horizontal dimensions of the auditorium. Some of the newer PC programs actually calculate the keystoning that in the final mix slightly distort the true shape of the image. In most multiplex projects, we seek to have a mix of theatres that have top movable masking (yielding a larger flat than scope picture) and theatres that have side movable masking (yielding a larger scope picture than flat) we like to favor the Cinemascope format; for on aver-age, the highest grossing films per year are in anamorphically (Cinemascope) printed format.
Screen MaskingThe masking is the icing on the screens cake. It is the black fabric outlining the screen that creates the sharp illusion of the presentation window. If there were no masking to frame in the picture (as the aperture plate is on a different plane than the film,) a soft fuzzy edge would always be seen. The fact that there are two different formats (flat (1.85) and cinemascope (2.35), the masking must be movable to adjust to the two different format sizes. There are two commonly used methods of tailoring masking borders. The most impressive, if the theatre's width allows, is to make the image wider for cinemascope - side movable masking. This is done by having black drapes on either side of the image that move in and out. Ideally this should be done with tracks at the top and bottom of the screen frame and the drape stretched between them. This ensures that the leading edge of the drape remains straight and doesn't bunch up. This is called 4 track masking and is rather complicated to rig but is best. The other type of masking is called top movable. This uses a movable framed border that moves up and down at the top of the picture. This makes the flat picture larger than the cinemascope. Ideally the top and bottom should move together, this eliminates the light loss that occurs because the flat aperture can not be cut in the center of the optical system because the two images have different vertical centers. The masking should be made of an acoustically transparent black material (either commando or duventyne) with a one foot leading edge. This is done so there is a dense black edge to the picture but the sound is not muffled by the fabric absorbing the high frequen-cies of the left and right speakers. Recently one customer decided (in the spirit of economy) that he would dispense with movable masking and show all films at a ratio of 2:1 as had been done by some other large American theatre circuits. This chopped the sides of the panoramic vistas of cinemascope and the subtitles and the tops of heads in flat. Needless to say, this theatre opened to rather caustic reviews and although the error was quickly corrected the theatre never recovered its box-office from this faux pas. If the phrase a picture speaks a thousand words is true then the way a picture is presented will determine just how many of those thousand words get read.
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