going dark

going to the movies, whether a new release or a second-run favorite*, involves experiencing the whir of the projector just as the film is about to begin. while the audience settles in with their snacks and drinks, projectionists are tasked with the critical position of ensuring that the movie runs smoothly for its duration, and editing any portions of the reel that might cause skips or interruptions. they must also make sure the film is kept hidden safely away from potentially damaging elements, be it sunlight or spilled coffee. in brief, it’s their job to show the movie to a room full of people seeking 2 hours worth of escape time from reality.

projectionists aren’t just film fanatics…it’s true, they love movies but they also love what they do. so it’s perfectly understandable that with the advancement of film in the 21st Century and the shift from projection reels to digital films in full swing, a great concern over the future of classic projection reels looms nearby. many Hollywood studios are switching over to digital technology and thus forcing out the folks behind the scenes. this is the subject of a documentary entitled Going Dark, a portion of which can be viewed by clicking the link below.

The Death of Film: What Happens To Movies After Hollywood Goes Digital

*author’s note: midnight movie screenings of films from the 70’s and 80’s are prime for hearing the whizzing of the projection reel. it almost feels like travelling through time, especially if the theater hasn’t been renovated since 1989.


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