Dec 2010

The Projectionist

There comes in the career of every motion picture that final occasion when all the artistry, all the earnest constructive endeavor of all the man-power and genius of the industry, and all the capital investment, too, must pour through the narrow gate of the projector on its way to the fulfilment of its purpose, the final delivery to the public.

The delivery is a constant miracle of men and mechanism in the projection rooms of the world’s fifty thousand theatres. That narrow ribbon, thirty-five millimetres, flowing at twenty-four frames a second through the scintillating blaze of the spot at the picture aperture and coursing by at an exactingly-precise 90 feet a minute past the light slit of the sound system, demands a quality of skill and faithful, unfailing attention upon which the whole great industry depends.

The projector lens is the neck in the bottle through which all must pass. The projectionist presiding over that mechanism is responsible for the ultimate performance upon which we must all depend.

The projector must not fail, and more importantly still, the man must not fail or permit it to waiver in its performance. It is to the tremendous credit of the skill of the modern projectionist that perfect presentation of the motion picture upon the screen is today a commonplace, a perfection that is taken as a matter of course.

Adolph Zukor, Chairman of Paramount Pictures, 1935. It still applies as much today as it did back then.