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Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

35mm reels are impressive!

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Never seen or handled them. Only 8mm and 16mm reels. 

This one is from eBay. Last reel from Devil in Miss Jones. I'd like to see the 70mm reels. They must be monsters!

Photo: eBay 

Goldberg reel.jpg

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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That's a "House Reel", not  a shipping reel.

House reels are just that;  owned by the "house" or theatre and the print was removed from the crappy, banged-up shipping reels and mounted on house reels to insure smooth projection and then wound back onto the shipping reel and thrown in a Goldberg Case for transport to the next show.

If you accidently shipped a house reel, you paid for it out of your pocket or got fired or both...

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How many shipping reels get spliced together to make up a house reel?

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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House reels are only for theaters with changeover systems with two projectors that can run up to 2000 feet of film at a time (35mm). 

Typically, you don't build-up reels;  they are shipped on 2K reels and just wound onto the 2K house reels for projection.

The standard printing/production unit for 35mm since the 1900's is 1 reel or roughly 1K feet.  However, in the late 50's, 2K printing reels were introduced in an unorganized way, which later became more or less a standard for lab printing, but 1K reels were (are?) still quite common for printing.

When platter systems came in, then prints were sliced and diced like crazy, often losing several feet off each join over their production run as each theater built-up and broke down the print between screenings.

Archive prints are, for the post part, prohibited from being plattered, so they have to maintain a changeover projection system if they want to exhibit a print.

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When I was a projectionist - which was twenty years ago - we would build up 2000' reels onto larger reels which went on the projector, or very large reels on a long-play system for particularly long films. We did not use platters, although that's possibly because we were not a conventional first-run cinema. On no account would our approach (or anyone else's approach, as far as I know) have entailed losing any material, as we'd make tape splices that were simply peeled apart when breaking the thing down again. Usually the prints were supplied with the leaders taped one side only on the assumption that the next user would be pulling that tape off to make up the print. If you actually did want to show it from the 2000' reels, you'd want to go through a double-tape those joints or they'd have a fair chance of pulling apart on projection.


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The fun part is watching the projector consume the film right before your eyes. 4 perf 35mm moves very fast through the projector. 🙂

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Platters have the advantage over long play reel to reel systems in they don't need rewinding. But they can jam and damage film in more catastrophic ways if the tensions wrong. Either by the film wrapping round the brain. Or even dumping the whole print on the floor - it its not being watched

Phil R, wasn't it the case prints were shipped in the UK on cores? so would need to be put on a split reel to use?

I believe the BFI won't allow their archive prints to be joined and ran on long play systems, change overs only.

However its possible to argue long play systems are less damaging on film overall, because the film is handled less. On a change over system, each individual roll is manually threaded - giving the projectionist 5 or 6 opportunities to mess up during the screening of a film. If the print is screened multiple times, the leaders of each roll are going to be handled multiple times. On a platter/long play system its built up once and threaded once per screening. 

Back in the days of archive rep prints on 35mm you could usually spot that a change over was due because the last minute or so of the reel would get extra dirty and scratched (on optical audio you could hear the change overs coming) - i guess from handling. On the popular rep titles in the UK at least (Bladerunner, Fargo, Cinema Paradiso, Once a time in america, citizen kane etc...), had horrendously bad 35mm prints in circulation with missing frames at the reels, either from platters or bad changeovers. 

The main UK 35mm print of Bladerunner (dir cut) in the late 90's/early 00's rep circuit was the strongest advertisement for digital projection you would ever see.  

Actually, the projectionist at the Cine lumiere in South Kensington 12 years ago, was the best advertisement for digital projection:

Every change-over, 3 to 5 seconds late

Every change-over threaded out of frame

Audio sometimes switched over on change overs on time, but not always

Program should always start out of focus

Miss matched projector bulbs with different colour temps/brightness - visible on changeovers. 

Film tails out on screen




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