I’ve worked as a projectionist. Not on a reel-to-reel system, or with digital projectors, but I’ve put films together to sit on a platter, threaded them, projected them, broken down the reels, all that jazz. As someone who’s worked with these system, it bothers me every time I see people complaining on Twitter or in articles about what are clearly unavoidable projector accidents. The latest incident to cause a stir was at a press screening of The Dark Knight Rises in 15/70mm IMAX.
Let me be clear. People, particularly critics and media, need to understand that film projection is a complex process, whether it’s on film or digital, and unless it’s a clear mistake like the picture being out of frame, improperly masked, or out of focus, problems can happen and things can go wrong. Now, these problems are often human error, sometimes they’re mechanical, or electrical, or electronic. I’d imagine that on digital systems there are also potential software glitches. When there are so many potential points of error, errors are going to happen, and frankly it’s a miracle of modern fool-proofing that they don’t happen more often. People should be looking at these failures and cutting some slack, and they definitely shouldn’t be holding such incidents up as examples for why a particular projection system isn’t good enough. Click to read more.