Staffing & Training
The 70mm Newsletter
and Mike Taylor
by Thomas Hauerslev
70mm presentation raises specific staffing
and training issues that need to be fully and effectively addressed
before taking on the format.
A common error is to assume that 70mm is simply a larger version of 35mm
film. In fact the heavier nature and faster linear speed of 70mm, plus
the magnetic soundtracks encountered on many archive prints, call for a
new approach when handling and projecting the format.
Screenings 70mm films in multiplexes (which would be limited to new
65/70mm films only) should have constant projector attendance by a
Projectionist specifically rostered for such duty. The greater expense
and different dynamics of 70mm prints mean that projector non-attendance
of screenings, as common in automated 35mm mulitplexes, cannot be
Additionally, print assembly and disassembly by a Projectionist should
be overseen by a supervisor, or knowledgeable second Projectionist.
Prints should be assembled and disassembled directly on the platter
where the film is to be shown, and there must be no attempted print
The purpose of the second Projectionist is to verify that edges of
prints are not being improperly dragged across surfaces, that all
rollers are correctly threaded, that splices are correctly made [in
frame], and to assist in gently stopping the heavy platter, when it's
mass and inertia are at the upper levels of loading capacity.
Prints must also be thoroughly bench-inspected prior to assembly and
standard precautions must be taken where magnetic soundtracks are
replayed in specialised screening venues.
In Changeover houses, two Projectionists should be on duty to check each
other's threading during lace-up of the reels.
Thorough training by a specialist expert is essential for 70mm
presentation, even for experienced 35mm Projectionists. Training - and
evidence of same - should be made a condition for receiving prints.
Existing in-house training programmes can be expanded with the help of a
knowledgeable engineer, or by sourcing appropriate expertise.
The Workshop is grateful to
Rayton for his assistance with this
in 70mm reading:
Questions on 70mm
Staffing & Training (by Mike Taylor)
by Thomas Hauerslev
70mm presentation presents a number of issues
to projectionists who have never experienced this large format. I agree with
other writers that to assume that 70mm is just a larger version of 35mm is a
With a number of archive prints in circulation with magnetic soundtracks, a
new approach to handling techniques and the manning of projection rooms is
called for. The handling of the larger spools and extra weight of the film
calls for more attention. Indeed, projection staff must be in attendance at
ALL times the screening is under-way. Leaving the projector unattended is
Although we do have platter systems that can handle 70mm it is recommended
that where archive prints are screened then the ideal situation is for dual
machines with change-overs.
Print make-up, from renters shipping reels to theatre equipment, is most
important. All film must be carefully checked for any signs of damage and
extra precautions taken where magnetic soundtracks are part of the film.
Theatres booked for 70mm presentation should make sure there are two
projectionists on duty for the run of the film. However experienced a
projectionist may be - if it is their first experience of 70mm then that
second eye to check all lacing up, switching etc. etc. should ensure a
perfect presentation. The double-checking of platter projection ensures all
rollers are free and feeding the film correctly.
Rewind room procedure calls for extreme cleanliness at all times whilst
handling film. The second eye may spot something the other projectionist may
have missed either during make-up or projection.
If any theatre is not sure if their projectionists are happy with 70mm then
it is a good idea to call on a specialist expert to help with in-house
training - this not only helps the staff but also ensures the theatre has a
good relationship with film renters.
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