On Wed, 3 Dec 1997 11:05:53 -0800 Shawn Levy <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
In the era of monolithic theater chains and mulitplexes, it's more
> common that NO projectionist is on-hand at show time; rather, the
> professional projectionist makes a daytime route of theaters and spools
> films, then leaves the actual projection at show time (often a
> one-push-button affair) to a theater manager who is familiar with the mere
> rudiments of the system.
This is an interesting, pertinent, and troubling subject.
On one front, it was a key issue in the lockout of projectionists by the
Cineplex Odeon cinema chain in Ontario last year, and elsewhere in Canada
earlier on. Part of the point the company tried to make was that the
theatres could operate very well without union projectionists most of the
time (specifically, except for weekends and discounted Tuesday-night shows)
and that cinema managers could handle the job, represented as not much more
than pressing a few buttons. (I don't remember that the option of union
projectionists acting as house managers ever came up.) Several friends and
acquaintances who attended shows during the lockout reported noticeably
substandards projection. In fact, to tie this to an earlier question, one
friend specifically asked why boom mikes were apparent at the top of so
many shots. My guess was that no one in the booth was paying attention --
if there was anyone in the booth at all.
On another front, let me recommend Nicholson Baker's article on film
projection, first published a few years ago in a special issue of the New
Yorker, dedicated to the movies. It also appears, I believe, in his 1996
collection of non-fiction titled The Size of Thoughts.
Blaine Allan [log in to unmask]
Canada K7L 3N6
Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite