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Re: Transferring really old film...



Jim writes:

>In the old days motion picture film was hand cranked at about an average of
>15-18 fps according to Lin Dunn inventor of the optical printer. He also
>said that the cinematographers were also capable of speeding the scene up
>or slowing it down while they were shooting and were able to adjust the
>aperrature (f stop) on the fly.  [...]

Originally, movie projectors were hand cranked as well, and projectionists
were taught to speed up or slow down to match the action--but in any case to
keep pace with the musician(s) up front!  (Generally, they had to rehearse a
show a few times to get it right).  Camera rolls were 200' or less, and
movies were often described as one, two, or three "reelers," based on how
many camera rolls were involved.  It has to be understood that the rods in
the old carbon arc lamps only lasted 12-15 minutes (this being the original
reason for the 1,000-foot reels that littered projection booths across the
land for many years), and the projectionist's arm would be about ready to
fall off anyway after that time.  Usually theaters would run programs of an
hour or so, consisting of two or more of these "shows," and perhaps some
live acts on stage as well.  Patrons certainly got their nickels' worth in
those days.

Given the increasing cost of labor following World War One, it was
inevitable that motors would be hooked up to run projectors, but the kind of
interpretation a skilled projectionist could impart to a story was lost.
Reasonably stable electric drives were a prerequisite for the introduction
of sound pictures, which were a big step forward in most respects, except
that a lot of theater musicians were put out of work.

I wonder how many "purists" now concerned about electronic theater
projection and electronic film capture have ever seen a hand-cranked film
show with live music?

Best regards,
Christopher Bacon


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