I was a Projectionist

As a teenager, I worked at a movie theater and eventually made my way up to assistant manager. From there, I learned how to thread and operate 35mm projectors and build prints with trailers. This was a tedious process that involved taking actual film, physically cutting off the “heads” and “tails” of each reel, lining them up and splicing them together. Then you have to save all the heads and tails so they can be reattached before the movie can be shipped back to the distributor.

Because of this I worked as a projectionist for the Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, abbreviated PIGLFF, later shortened to QFest. A brief history can be found here. For just under 2 weeks each July, I would set myself up in a small projection room first at the Arts Bank, which is now part of University of the Arts, and later, at the Ritz East. This is where I worked on Philadelphia’s only 4K projector in 2009 or so.

Below are some pictures of the new process. Films were now delivered super encrypted via hard drive that was then ingested in to the projector. From a pc interface, the projectionist would be able to build the show, graphically, but dropping and dragging programs into a lineup. For my purposes, this was just a projector with my equipment connected to it where I could play films submitted to the film festival on a variety of formats including BetaCam, DigiBeta, Blu Ray, and many more.

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