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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » Training Methods (Page 1)

 
This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2 
 
Author Topic: Training Methods
Barbara Toriel
Film Handler

Posts: 7
From: Miami,Fl/United States, United States
Registered: Aug 2004


 - posted 08-17-2004 09:48 AM      Profile for Barbara Toriel   Email Barbara Toriel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've been working in the projection booth for about 3 years now but I am more involved with maintenance and cleanliness of the booth and projectors and build up, than actual training. I can't honestly remember what I didn't understand when I first started out so I was wondering if anyone could suggest a comprehensive "training schedule" so I can have a couple booth techs up to par.

The budding projectionists generally have two training days with another projectionist (me) and then management throws them into the thick of it on a Saturday night. Current shifts are about 5 hours, the booth(s) are equipped with Christie Platters and Projector Heads, Christie Digital (for NCN Pre-show) nothing too complicated. Projectionists are also responsible for timely mylar changes and manual masking changes. 14-plex. All projectors equipped with SDDS, two of which use DTS for large-volume.

Ideally I want them to thread, clean, and have some basic troubleshooting knowledge. The scheduled showtimes are a little tight so I've applied thus cleaning schedule to adapt:

2 projectors (tree inclusive) must be cleaned THOROUGHLY each night
projectors should be blown before each show and gate bands should be cleaned if necessary

Someone had critiqued my training commenting that I was offering too much for the booth trainee and that I should cut down to threading. However I believe cleaning is very important and must be taught from the start.

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6842
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 08-17-2004 11:21 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Too right. If there is enough time between shows, every surface and roller which touches the film from start to finish should be cleaned. That doesn't necessarily mean all the rollers on a platter tree - only the ones which will actually be used in the following pass. You can clean the ones which won't while the following show is running. Doing so actually saves you time in the long run, because a light dusting between each show (which, if done regularly, will be all that is needed) takes a lot less time than a thorough elbow-grease job done once every 5-10 passes. Remember - it only takes one abrasive contaminant in the wrong place to permanently scratch your print. Keeping the film path clean is crucially important to high-quality presentation, and should be communicated to trainees from day 1, IMHO. When I was a trainee learning to clean came first and the threading second, not the other way round.

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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 08-17-2004 11:29 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I once wrote and presented a paper at the SMPTE that is now part of a training seminar Kodak presents to lab personnel. Proper film handling can be summarized very simply:

1. Don't let dirt get on the film.
2. If the film gets dirty, clean it properly.
3. Don't scratch the film.
4. Don't let the film break.

The presentation expanded upon each of these points, giving examples of good and bad film handling practice.

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Brad Miller
Administrator

Posts: 17641
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 08-17-2004 02:19 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Train your people on how to use media film cleaners and FG properly. You can run film using this in a construction zone with a tornado around the corner and your films will still look marvelous. Let's face it, the theory of "don't let dirt get on the film" is great on paper, but it just isn't a realistic solution except in a lab-type of environment...and your theater sounds like an AMC and none of their current builds even put a drop-ceiling in the booth.

The best thing any theater can do is buy a Kelmar film cleaning machine for each auditorium. NOTHING else will make as much of a difference in your presentation. It also eliminates most daily and between-show cleaning duties.

In regards to actual training methods, once you have shown the trainee how to do things a few times, stop giving them answers! Make them figure things out on their own. Instead during the training once they have things set ask them "are you sure everything is correct?" Then look things over without giving any hints and turn to them and say "you have X number of things wrong". Then let them figure it out! If a trainee cannot find and correct their own problems (without being permitted to look at another screen running), then they WILL make mistakes when you leave them to run the booth alone. It may sound like an unnecessarily cruel way to train, but people do learn faster and can troubleshoot much, much better than trainees who are spoon-fed the answers. Not to worry, they will only hate you for about 2 weeks. [Wink]

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Bill Langfield
Master Film Handler

Posts: 280
From: Prospect, NSW, Australia
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 08-17-2004 02:20 PM      Profile for Bill Langfield   Author's Homepage   Email Bill Langfield   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Leo
quote: Leo Enticknap
When I was a trainee learning to clean came first and the threading second, not the other way round.

WHOA, I think it SHOULD be the other way around.

So your more worried about a dirty gate or roller rather than a miss thread??

I agree everything should be clean, but to miss that HOLD BACK roller you just cleaned, because it was more important to have it clean than lace around it is nuts.

I've noticed (mainly with Centuries and Vics) when FG is used, a visual inspection can tell you when things needs cleaning.

Christies, well they ALWAYS need cleaning. You using Christies?

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Chris Hipp
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1462
From: Mesquite, Tx (east of Dallas)
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted 08-17-2004 02:32 PM      Profile for Chris Hipp   Email Chris Hipp   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
ounds like an AMC and none of their current builds even put a drop-ceiling in the booth.
The last two to open around here, arlington mall and valley view mall both have drop ceilings. Hopefully it isnt just a fad though.

As for training, I do what Brad does. They need to be able to figure it out on their own. I also see how much they can figure out before I train them on it. Example: I teach them how to thread the platter step by step, but on the projector I will just say "thread it the best you can." Of course they will get the loop size wrong and may not be in frame, but if they can figure out the thread pattern on their own then that is a good sign.

I also believe in repetion, I teach them how to clean, then you clean all the clean each platter and projector. Then I teach them how to pull the ring, they go through and pull the ring on each platter, then I show them how you thread the brain and so forth. It works well because it drills each step in over and over so they won't forget it.

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6842
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 08-17-2004 02:35 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Point taken, Brad, about the film-hostile atmosphere in many multiplex projection booths. Filmguard is wonderful stuff and does a lot to mitigate the effects of that, but I'd be surprised if even FG would stop a tiny metal filing or fragment of concrete falling off a breeze block which (for example) finds its way in between the film and a sprocket retaining clamp from writing off a print.

quote: Bill Langfield
So your more worried about a dirty gate or roller rather than a miss thread??
No. When I was being trained, to start with, I wasn't allowed to touch any film path components other than to clean them. The first part of learning to thread was watching the chief do it ('do it' meaning thread the film, before you get any evil thoughts, Phil) after I'd cleaned. That was lesson number one - cleaning first, threading second. No film path gets threaded before it's been cleaned.

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Brad Miller
Administrator

Posts: 17641
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 08-17-2004 02:41 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree if a metal shard finds it's way into the projector, there isn't much of anything that can be done about it. However the odds of that happening are very slim, and when it does happen the odds are much greater that it landed on the film when "flying" to the projector and got pulled in that way. In such instances, no amount of cleaning before the show was started would matter anyway. (Assuming your cleaning machine is platter mounted.)

Both Film-Tech media and Kelmar "white" media currently have a textured pattern to it that resists scratching much moreso than generic media. Dirt gets trapped in the "grooves" of the media, instead of scratching the image because the surface on generic media is flat. Stick to one or the other brands to get the best cleaning.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7929
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-17-2004 03:07 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Brad's method works.

I don't normally train people, but I was recently asked to train the new guy at the local military theatre (single screen, changeover house). I was given seven shows to train him, which I assured the theatre manager would not be enough.

For the first three shows, I emphasized film inspection. The trainee watched me run the shows, but inspected and rewound the prints himself, after I did the first one. I didn't let him touch the machines until the fourth show, when I explained threading patterns, curtain/light operation, and proper changeovers (I had addressed sound formats in the inspection stage). From that point on, he ran every show, asking questions as needed. I made him figure out problems himself as they arose, rather than just fixing them. It was a somewhat frustrating experience for me (I hate doing training), but the individual in question is now entirely competent to inspect and run a perfect show. I was impressed.

Admittedly, this guy doesn't know how to maintain the equipment and probably won't be able to save a show if something major breaks, but at least he understands how to keep the equipment clean and not damage film while putting on a decent show.

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Mark J. Marshall
Film God

Posts: 3184
From: New Castle, DE, USA
Registered: Aug 2002


 - posted 08-17-2004 03:46 PM      Profile for Mark J. Marshall     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Once my trainees start to hit a stride and become confident in themselves, I like to booby trap things on them... now before you start lobbing bombs at me, let me say that I don't do things like mis-thread the projector or do anything that will damage the film or break anything. But I will unthread the failsafe so the projector won't start when they hit "run", or I'll turn off the booth monitor so they can't hear anything, or I'll switch the lenses on them to see how fast they react and fix it, or shut off the power to the rectifier so the Xenon bulb doesn't strike, or something like that.

I only do this for staff shows or on days when the audience attendance is quite low, and I never let them squander for very long. Some of you will undoubtedly frown on this practice as "Film Done Wrong" no matter how I justify it, but it definitely makes them get used to thinking on their toes, and looking for problems quickly. It also teaches them to not panic when something goes wrong for real.

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Barbara Toriel
Film Handler

Posts: 7
From: Miami,Fl/United States, United States
Registered: Aug 2004


 - posted 08-17-2004 05:33 PM      Profile for Barbara Toriel   Email Barbara Toriel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes it is an AMC, unfortunately we have a grand total of 1 media cleaner and 0 mounts to mount it with. I've also been told it is out of the budget to think about ordering any and that it is not necessary since we have films for no more than 3 weeks and if longer not many people see them so it is inconsequential(I know better than this before someone jumps down my throat!). So I am just making do not cleaning any prints, besides myself I know for a fact the projectionists do not clean any part of the film path and in fact discourage others which is why I want to stress cleaning from the minute they begin training. You see, I have alot of backwardness to undo.

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Dustin Mitchell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1865
From: Mondovi, WI, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 08-17-2004 06:11 PM      Profile for Dustin Mitchell   Email Dustin Mitchell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As a side note on drop ceilings, some municipalities require it as part of their building code and some do not. This could be why the two new builds you mention Chris have drop ceilings in the booths.

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Dominic Espinosa
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1172
From: Boulder Creek, CA.
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted 08-17-2004 10:32 PM      Profile for Dominic Espinosa   Email Dominic Espinosa   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I give them a photo of platterns, projector, and sound head and then let them figure it out for themselfs.

Just kidding...

Usually we start with everything you never do. Then we thread a trailer pack over and over again with the first pass I show them how it's done explaining what I can along the way.
Next they thread the platters until they're comfortable with it. Then we thread actual prints (just platters) and learn projectors with the trailer pack.
Next it's over and over again until it's on frame every time.
Then we do formats and cleaning. I'm starting on cleaning earlier and earlier though. In fact cleaning the bands, gate, sprockets, intermittant shoe, etc. are part of the threading instruction.

Next we do FilmGuard/media application, changing, etc. and finally what you do before you call me screaming that it wont work.

The usual issues I come across are an amp being off, a breaker off, or misthreads. I throw those at them first and then let them ask questions for a couple weeks while they run their own shifts.
After that it's building, breakdown, and thorough cleaning, and light maintenance.

The idea I find that works best is to break up the training over a few shifts with them running on their own after they get the swing of threading it up so that there isn't too much coming at once. Everyone here takes for granted the knowledge they have and is probably a condescending prick when someone asks a question like "which end do I start with?" but the fact of the matter is there are a lot of little things you pick up on the way and never think about because you do them so often. The best tool you can have is patience...and in some cases a screwdriver to take the framing knob away.

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Chris Hipp
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1462
From: Mesquite, Tx (east of Dallas)
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted 08-17-2004 10:48 PM      Profile for Chris Hipp   Email Chris Hipp   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Barbara, was this an aquisition theater or just really old? If it is an aqusition (former GCC) then that would explain the film cleaner situation, AMC bought one for the theater and didnt bother to check if there were any mounts. In either case, talk to your engineer and let him know the situation and ask him to put it into his PM reports and the theater managament will have to correct it. I may be setting off some fireworks with this next statement, but sometimes you have to go above their heads, hope you dont get fired because of it. [Smile]

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Brad Miller
Administrator

Posts: 17641
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 08-17-2004 11:26 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
One other thing I forgot to mention, after you do your training and are happy with their performance enough to let them loose on their own, kick them out of the booth completely for one week. (Don't even let them enter the booth.) Then bring them back in cold and see if they can still do it. If they can thread up the entire building properly, you're generally safe to let them fly solo. If not, everything didn't truly sink in.

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