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January 1998, Week 4


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Leo Enticknap <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 21 Jan 1998 18:16:47 -0500
TEXT/PLAIN (54 lines)
Readers may remember a thread last November on the reasons why boom
mikes can sometimes be seen when a film is projected, with specific
reference to 'The Ice Storm'.  Just a little postscript to this:
I've just finished preparing and rehearsing a print of it (opens
Friday) and I had a real struggle.
Firstly, the printer registration marks suggested a super-16mm blow
job, hence an actual aspect ratio of about 1:1.73.  A previous
projectionist had written 1:1.66 on the spacing on one of the
reels, so I tried it as so.  Only by very careful racking could I
get rid of frame lines and printer marks, and the registration of
the frames within the 4-perf space varied slightly from shot to
shot, and in some places radically.  Reel joins threw the picture
considerably, necessitating constant racking adjustments during the
run and yes, there were boom mikes all over the place.  Because
in 1:1.66 there was no unused area of the frame to rack out of the
picture, there was no way of losing the boom mikes.
I then tried it in 1:1.85, initially racking to centre of the
opening titles.  This resulted in mikes galore once the actual film
got underway, which I would guess is what happened at a lot of
multiplexes.  By racking the frame up in order to obliterate them,
that cured it for reel 1, but it also decapitated most of the cast.
The variation in printer registration from reel to reel caused
constant problems; the only way to keep acceptable framing
throughout the film was to stay with it throughout the show and
rack where necessary, something which a small arthouse
establishment such as the one I'm involved in can't do all the time
and a zillion-screen McMultiplex could not do at all - the
technical set-up in one of these places depends on the
projectionist being able to push the button and run.
In other words, there must have been a post-production f*** up of
Stroheimian proportions.  Negative cutter not able to make
consistent joins?  Step printing on the blow-up inconsistent?  Who
knows, but I hope no-one throws another one like that at me for
some time...
Leo Enticknap
Postgraduate Common Room
School of English and American Studies
University of Exeter
Queen's Building, The Queen's Drive
Devon EX4 4QJ
United Kingdom
email: [log in to unmask]
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