I am not one who watches a lot of documentaries, however, this one I can recommend to everyone!
It shows in a way how my job used to be though not completely, partially because in Almere we had 8 booths so we were a bit more busy with projection and were running Non-Rewind and not Rock’n Roll so we had 1 person for all booths (running from booth to booth to check and put the movies again in the projector). As they say in the documentary that he was on a 12 hour day just really working with the movie for 1 hour, well that was not possible for us.
The documentary tells us about the transition from 35mm to Digital, a transition that hurts every projectionist in their heart because we are losing in a way touch with our product. We can no longer feel the film, we can no longer hear from the film running through the projector if everything is going well.
But we are having plenty of new challenges ahead of us in the booths and I agree partially with one of the projectionists in that documentary, we will now have everytime a crystal clear and crisp print, the customer will always get a print that will look as if it freshly arrived from the lab.
And though I love working with film, hearing the projection purr like a kitten while the film is running through the machine without any problems, we have to be honest, we do this work for the visitors, the people who want to enjoy the big screen with the big sound system and the large comfortable seats.
But watching this documentary makes me partially feel sad that we came to the end of an era but also honored to have been part of the transition, to have worked with film and been part of the “pioneers” to digital (after all Utopolis Almere was the first cinema with digital projectors in The Netherlands). The work comes with new interesting challenges and with loads of new opportunities.
I do have some problems with the picture they are creating of the digital age. Since as our integrator has told us numerous of times, a projectionist is always necessary! Yes his job has changed but we are still needed. The machines need a lot of attention, dust is still killing for them, also the shows still need to be made and now you can even create different shows so there will be less time between movies so you can play more movies during the day, or the same movie at the same time or with intervals of 20 minutes without having the rush of running around with reels (which is even impossible in a cinema with non-rewind and no breaks). Also I dont have time to sit and watch movies, projectionists, or media-managers as we are now often called, are also working a lot more on the floor in the cinema itself which is also great.
But do you know one of the highlights of my day? When I can explain to children who celebrate their birthday in the cinema on how it used to be, how film works, how the projectors work what film is, explain them all they want to know and if we are in the correct booth, I can fire up a 35mm projector and make her show her moves! Children love it but I love it even more :D.
To end this blog let me share with you one of the first movies ever played, there is a lot of discussion about the first movie but I like this one the most because there is an urban legend attached to it, you see, legend says that the first time people saw this movie they ran out of the tent because they thought there was really a train heading towards them. And when you have kids in your booth who are going to a 3D movie, well they love that! 😀
I do want to add an honorable mention in this post to Peter Isaak, he shared this documentary with me. So thank you Peter!