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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » The Logic of Threading a Projector Top to Bottom (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: The Logic of Threading a Projector Top to Bottom
Joe Redifer
You need a beating today

Posts: 12859
From: Denver, Colorado
Registered: May 99


 - posted 01-20-2003 03:32 AM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have been wondering why most people in the world are trained to thread a projector beginning at the top and work their way down. There is ZERO logic in doing this. What is the advantage? Nothing!

-If you start at the bottom and work your way up and you didn't pull enough leader, you end up pulling more from the top automatically. If you start at the top and work down and didn't pull enough leader, you are screwed.

-Working bottom up it is easier and much quicker to make proper loop sizes without having to go back and make adjustments.

-Threading bottom to top keeps the leader off of the floor.

So why are people trained to thread top down?

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Sean McKinnon
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1561
From: Peabody Massachusetts
Registered: Sep 2000


 - posted 01-20-2003 03:47 AM      Profile for Sean McKinnon   Email Sean McKinnon   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Because it is more intuative. The film travels down in that direction so for some people it is easier for them to learn that way. The picture enters the top sprocket moves through the gate and then out over the lower hold-back sprocket so some people feel the need to thread it in that order. Also im sure that ignorance, unwillingness to change, and laziness add to it a lot. I always try to teach people the "correct" way bottom to top when I train them. One new memeber of these forums actually mocked me to an NCS Technician because of the way I threaded. That tech became curious and asked me to show him. When I explained the why's to him he thought it was a good idea so I guess you could also add fear of ridicule by your peers too! Some people cannot handle change or different ways of doing things.

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Daryl C. W. O'Shea
Film God

Posts: 3977
From: Midland Ontario Canada (where Panavision & IMAX lenses come from)
Registered: Jun 2002


 - posted 01-20-2003 03:48 AM      Profile for Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Author's Homepage   Email Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I thread reel to reel from middle, to bottom, to top without getting the leader on the floor and without ever having to pull more from the top or having to advance the machine half threaded, etc.

OTOH, I thread machines using platters from bottom to top.

Maybe it's because most changeover houses don't have chairs to sit in while threaded and the projectionist (often getting up there in age [Smile] j/k ) wants to avoid bending down and leaves the bottom till the end.

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Brad Miller
Administrator

Posts: 17662
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 01-20-2003 04:07 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
When using platters I always thread bottom to top regardless. There is never an instance where it is easier (or better) to thread top down.

When running reel to reel I normally thread top to bottom. All I do is figure out one time how far to pull the leader at the upper constant feed sprocket (in relation to the floor) and then thread down. It is much easier to do it this way since it is necessary to attach the leader to the takeup reel and have a full revolution's worth of film so it grips the reel. (From that point I will motor down to the start frame, as I always add a generous amount of extra leader when running on reels.) However if I am working with "leaky" projectors that require me to do more than let the very tip of the leader hit the floor from that point, I will hook the leader into the takeup reel and then start threading down, or on some machines hook the leader into the takeup reel and thread up from that point. Generally though I do find it easier to thread reel to reel top down.

Many people start with the film gate/trap, then thread up and down like Daryl. I've never really bothered to do that as I always pay attention to where on the constant sprockets a frameline should be when the intermittent is cued to a specific point. As far as penthouse readers, I thread them on the first few feet of leader and pull the film down from there. Really it just all depends on the setup when dealing with changeovers. Whatever is easiest for the particular booth and whatever keeps the film off of the floor.

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Tim Reed
Better Projection Pays

Posts: 5242
From: Northampton, PA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 01-20-2003 04:32 AM      Profile for Tim Reed   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's from the reel-to-reel days. A short time ago, Steve Geiger (who was chief of General Cinema's technical dept.) showed me the bottom-to-top method and I was very impressed. It made perfect sense, and it certainly was the answer to keeping the film off the floor.

Although, I don't know that it would make sense to thread bottom-to-top with continuous picture service (i.e., two-projector, reels).

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Daryl C. W. O'Shea
Film God

Posts: 3977
From: Midland Ontario Canada (where Panavision & IMAX lenses come from)
Registered: Jun 2002


 - posted 01-20-2003 04:35 AM      Profile for Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Author's Homepage   Email Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When working changeover booths, I seem to never have the benefit of having both framelines and light to see the framelines. It's usually one or the other. Hence my starting at the gate and threading the rest by look and feel.

I actually thread down from the gate too. It drives everyone I know nuts. They all go up first. I thread the feed sprocket last because any bit of bounce or extra slack always seems to get caught on the changeover linkage of a Simplex. Threading the feed sprocket last seems to prevent this on those darn leaky Simplexes.

Brenkerts on the other hand I thread both ways, top to bottom or bottom to top (depending on the size of the takeup reel). Those I can thread in frame and to the perf on each sprocket, without starting at the gate, with my eyes closed. Of course after working with a V5 or even a Century, I'm often afraid I'll knock over the little BX-60. [Smile]

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Scott Norwood
Film God

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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 01-20-2003 08:06 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I mostly work with Century heads (on Century, SH-1000, or Western Electric soundheads). On these, I thread the intermittent sprocket first, then close the gate, then set the upper and lower loops and thread the soundhead and (if reel-to-reel) the takeup reel. I thread Cinemeccanicas the same way; with Simplex and Kinoton (where the intermittent shoe is part of the gate), I find it easier to thread the upper loop before the intermittent.

I was never really trained to thread projectors; I was just given a threading diagram and figured the rest out myself. Since I'd always threaded 16mm machines top to bottom, I used the same method for 35mm. The top-down method is more intuitive for most people, since that is the direction in which the film moves (VistaVision projectors notwithstanding). With practice, the leader won't touch the floor (or will just barely touch).

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Ron Lacheur
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 643
From: British Columbia, Canada
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 01-20-2003 09:00 AM      Profile for Ron Lacheur   Email Ron Lacheur   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I found threading the Vic 8 from bottom to top was easier than top to bottom.

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Gordon McLeod
Film God

Posts: 9442
From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 01-20-2003 12:28 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I always thread from the gate opposite directions especially on the DP70 and 75's it is a lot easier

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Bernie Anderson Jr
Master Film Handler

Posts: 434
From: Woodbridge, New Jersey
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 01-20-2003 02:13 PM      Profile for Bernie Anderson Jr   Author's Homepage   Email Bernie Anderson Jr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I too, thread bottom up on platters. Many laughs from other operators. But then these are the same people that pull the leader through the top roller onto the floor and still manage somehow to thread on 3. I had another operator that learned as a manager at Redstone and he too would get laughed at. Restone, in the past, trained all their managers to thread bottom up. But it makes perfect sense, especially when it comes to Dolby Digital readers and SDDS. How many times after you're done would you go back and set the tension on the digital heads?

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Gracia L. Babbidge
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 709
From: Bowdoin, Maine
Registered: Aug 2000


 - posted 01-20-2003 02:13 PM      Profile for Gracia L. Babbidge   Author's Homepage   Email Gracia L. Babbidge   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When I was shown how to thread a projector, I was shown to thread from the top to the bottom. So that's what I did at that theatre, and the next theatre I worked at. [Razz]

Three years ago when I first started at my current theater, I was advised (by fellow 'film-techer' Jon Bartow), to take a crack at threading from the bottom up. I'll admit it - the first day or two I was threading from the bottom up, it felt all ass-backwards to work that way (I had two years of working in the opposite direction set into my muscle memory) ... but I kept at it, as I realized how much smarter it was. I've also found that I can thread faster from the bottom up than I ever could from the top down. Go figure.
And yes, the people I've trained on how to thread since then, I've trained to thread from the bottom up. [Big Grin]

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Thomas Procyk
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1842
From: Royal Palm Beach, FL, USA
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 01-20-2003 03:20 PM      Profile for Thomas Procyk   Email Thomas Procyk   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I am intrigued.(sp?) I was taught to thread top down, saw everyone I know do it that way, and I still do it to this day.

I never had to "re-make" loops, always in frame, but that leader thing would always get me. Sometimes it would hit the floor, sometimes it would stay suspended in the air, depending on how much slack I left.

quote:
If you start at the bottom and work your way up and you didn't pull enough leader, you end up pulling more from the top automatically. If you start at the top and work down and didn't pull enough leader, you are screwed.
This I don't understand, and I encountered the opposite problem when trying to teach myself to thread bottom-up. I find it hard to do with Strong platters, trying to keep the threading pin to stay put.

On some of the machines at my complex, it's impossible to thread just the top magazine roller and leave the bottom one for when threading because of cables and conduits in the way.

Still, one of these days when I don't have a billion things to do, I will take the time to learn the other way. There's really no point to my efforts, though, since everyone else threads by pulling the leader onto the floor as fast as possible so the first 30 seconds of the first trailer are wrapping around themselves and around the brain. *sigh*

=TMP=

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Tim Turner
Film Handler

Posts: 87
From: Chula Vista, CA, USA
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 01-20-2003 03:48 PM      Profile for Tim Turner   Email Tim Turner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I was taught to thread from Top to Bottom also, but after reading some of the TIPs on film handlning 101 guide on this website I have been threading from Bottom to Top for about a year now. [Big Grin]
I am aware of the problem of the leading touching floor, pickimg up dirt and dust and then being carried into the projector and platters.

But I'm the only projections who threads this way in the booth. The other projectionist have tried it but they have problems with the takeup arm and platters pulling the film. It does take alot of practice if you're used to threading Top to Botom, took me a week or two to fully master it. Now I do it with out thinking much.

When I train people to thread though, I always teach them from Top to Bottom, because everyone esle in the booth does it that way don't want to confuse them.

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Ken Lackner
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1875
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Sep 2001


 - posted 01-20-2003 03:52 PM      Profile for Ken Lackner   Email Ken Lackner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have only worked with two brands of projector: Kinoton and Simplex (several models of each). I started to teach myself the bottup-up method for one reason: to keep the leader off the floor. I have found that it is much faster and easier with Kinoton. But with Simplex, I thought it was much easier the old way: start with the gate so that it is in fram, then thread up and down. Doing it like this I never had to remake loops. Since I started threading bottom-up on Simplex, I have had to ocassionaly remake the lower loop, and I find the whole process generaly more difficult. I guess it's just a matter of personal opinion which way is easier. The only reason I continue to do it is the reason I started to do it: to keep the leader off the floor.

quote:
I find it hard to do with Strong platters, trying to keep the threading pin to stay put.
That's an easy one. As you grab the leader to start threading your projector, I imagine the pin gets dislodged, right? No problem. Once you have the film threaded on the lowest sprocket, the bottom leader isn't going anywhere. The elevator will travel to the top, so the leader will be nice and tight between the projector and platter. Make sense?

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Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 01-20-2003 04:20 PM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think it is a matter of how one was taught. I do mine from top to bottom. Brad showed me how to do it from bottom to top, but I was all left thumbs when I tried it. It was like wiping myself with my left hand. [Big Grin] I said to myself, "Screw it!"

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