Film-Tech Cinema Systems
Film-Tech Forum


Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | my password | register | search | faq & rules | forum home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » showing a silent movie right before Batman? (Page 1)

 
This topic comprises 7 pages: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7 
 
Author Topic: showing a silent movie right before Batman?
Ralph Martin
Film Handler

Posts: 30
From: Vacaville, Ca./ USA
Registered: Jul 2008


 - posted 07-16-2008 02:22 AM      Profile for Ralph Martin   Email Ralph Martin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I’m a high school music teacher who wants to have our orchestra accompany a silent film in a 16-plex movie theater in our town. The facility is only about 8 years old and as you would expect, is not set up to run a silent film. The movie is Wings (1927) and is a full frame 35mm print that will run fine at 24fps.

Their projector in their biggest auditorium is a Century SA-TA with a 2-lens automatic turret. I don’t know the throw or the exact screen size at this point. They are checking this for me.

As you may guess I’m not an expert in these matters, but it’s up to me to purchase or get my hand on any lens or aperture plate needed to give the movie the nice presentation it deserves. And of course anything they do to alter the projector will have to be removed in time to show the next picture (You know, like the new Batman movie or something like that) within about an hour or so. [Roll Eyes]

Any thought on this???

The kids are excited about the project. They have the musical score just about ready and the first screening date is August 13. so I have to work fast.

 |  IP: Logged

Andy Frodsham
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 238
From: Stoke on Trent, Staffs, UK
Registered: Nov 2006


 - posted 07-16-2008 03:45 AM      Profile for Andy Frodsham   Email Andy Frodsham   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The projectionists (or their technicians) will need to file a new aperture plate for the film you are planning to run. Unfortunately, these have to be 'made to measure' in order to allow for the 'rake' (angle of the projector to the screen). It is very unlikely that the theatre you describe will already have silent aperture plates pre-cut.

Since the size of the newly-cut 'silent' aperture plate is now going to be bigger than any of the existing formats the theatre screens, the resulting image will be too big for the existing screen settings (width ways at least). The larger image will need to be accommodated by either opening-up the screen masking (if it is adjustable to this degree) or using a longer focal length lens to drop the image size down to fit the existing masking.

Additionally, because you have now added (when the plate was filed) extra picture to the frame (but on one side only), the image on the acreen will be slightly off-centre. I very much doubt that the projectionists in the theatre will be keen on moving the projector laterally to accommodate this offset (especially since a conventionally plated film is to follow), so you will probably have to put-up with it!

You need to talk with the projectionists/technicians to see what is available and how far they are willing to go!

Apologies if my explanation seems clumsy! Good luck with the screening (I'm an ex teacher myself and know how children value such events)!

 |  IP: Logged

Monte L Fullmer
Film God

Posts: 8301
From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004


 - posted 07-16-2008 04:42 AM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Ralph Martin
and is a full frame 35mm print that will run fine at 24fps.

Being also full-frame, and with the Century SA-TA unit, the auto lens assembly might have to be taken off so the Century can be used as a single lens model so the lens barrel holder can be shifted to silent film center (since right now, the lens is centered for soundtrack film-being shifted to the left of film center) via the eccentric adjustment on the holder.

Good luck in finding TA-slider aperture plates (or, if you know of anyone who has a regular SA and swap out the TA trap with the SA trap that uses single aperture plates) and doing all of that recutting from a new aperture to run silent frame size...that's a lotta brass to cut out.

(..at least you got til the 13th of Aug to come up with a conclusion on how this is to be pulled off ...)

-Monte

 |  IP: Logged

Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6960
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 07-16-2008 07:23 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
About the only thing on your side is the speed - the modifications needed for a typical multiplex setup to run below 24 without flickering are complicated and expensive.

On the lens issue, if the 'scope backing lens can be detached from the anamorph, it will be roughly the right focal distance for full-gate silent. You'll probably see a little bit of the frame matte at the top and bottom, but it won't look too bad. If the anamorph swings into place on a bracket, you're in luck - simply swing the scope lens into place and leave the anamorph out of the beam. However, if it screws into the back of the anamorph, things get a little bit complicated. Showing the silent is no problem - simply unscrew the backing lens from the anamorph and show that. However, between the end of Wings and the start of the next regular show (assuming the feature is 'scope), the anamorph will need to be realigned using an RP-40 (or equivalent) test loop. This procedure shouldn't take more than 10-15 minutes or so, but it will take that long.

As a very basic strategy, the only serious work needed will be to cut a plate. After that, using the 'scope prime lens, opening the masking out and living with the slightly off-centre picture (perhaps seat the orchestra a little off-centre in front of the screen, too, so that the audience don't notice it so much?) will get you a show that is basically acceptable. Refocusing the mirror, centre-ing the picture (either with an offset barrel or by physically shifting the projector) is all icing on the cake if you have time to do it and the projectionists at your theatre are comfortable doing it.

 |  IP: Logged

Stephen Furley
Film God

Posts: 3057
From: Coulsdon, Croydon, England
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 07-16-2008 07:54 AM      Profile for Stephen Furley   Email Stephen Furley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Have you been rehersing with a video copy of the film? If so, make sure that it is running at the same speed as the film print will be, or it's going to make life difficult for the orchestra. If the film will be projected at 24, then a NTSC video copy transferred at 23.976 will be close enough, but if the projector speed is out, or the video was transferred at 16 2/3, or some other strange speed which is possible if transferred on a polygon telecine, or if you've got a PAL copy, then you might have problems.

As with any old film, ensure that you haven't been sent a nitrate print; it's most unlikely, but it is possible.

 |  IP: Logged

Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7976
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 07-16-2008 08:24 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Vacaville isn't too far from the Bay Area (according to Google maps, anyway). There are a number of F-T members in that region and I bet that, if you ask nicely, you can get someone to come out and file the aperture plate for you for free or minimal cost. (Obviously, you would still need to order the plate.) Alternatively, it is possible that someone has a silent plate for that model of projector lying around that could be sent to you by mail and would be "good enough" for your purposes. Try posting in the help wanted section and/or the for-sale/wanted section.

Also, try to find out the focal length of the scope backup lens ahead of time; the number is normally stamped on the lens barrel and should be something like "4.00 in" or "100mm" (the number will vary, but it will be in either inches or millimeters). It may be easier to borrow or rent the correct lens, rather than dealing with disassembling and re-assembling and -aligning the anamorphic lens.

If the screen gets shorter (as opposed to wider) for scope (i.e. masking opens vertically), then things get more interesting, as you would really want to get the correct lens to fill the full height of the screen at its tallest (i.e. 1.85) setting. If this is the case, post the screen height (tallest position) and throw distance and someone here will tell you what size lens you need. In a multiplex, there may be one of the correct size already in the complex that you could use. Otherwise, you will want to borrow or rent one.

 |  IP: Logged

Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6960
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 07-16-2008 08:43 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
One other thing occurs to me - we're talking about 'projector' singular here, which presumably means that this print will have to be plattered. Most prints of 35mm silents come from archives these days, and most archives do not allow the heads and tails to be cut off their prints for long-play presentation. I would guess that for a title like Wings you're either getting the print from UCLA or GEH, both of which have a 'no decapitating' rule for their circulating collections. If you are in that situation, about your only option is to platter the print with the heads and tails left on each reel, taking care to cut the head spacing in rack when making the join, and close the douser as each head and tail goes through. It'll mean about a 45-second pause every 20 minutes or so, but if you don't have two projectors and you can't cut the heads and tails off, it's about your only option.

 |  IP: Logged

Mark J. Marshall
Film God

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


 - posted 07-16-2008 09:15 AM      Profile for Mark J. Marshall     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, Ralph, it sounds like you have some work ahead of you, but I think I speak for everyone when I say that this project sounds really cool. Please do keep us all posted here on the progress and how the show turns out.

Good luck, and welcome to Film-Tech!

[Smile]

 |  IP: Logged

Bill Enos
Film God

Posts: 2081
From: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 07-16-2008 11:04 AM      Profile for Bill Enos   Email Bill Enos   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The whole thing sounds like a large pain in the ass for the theatre people especially on top of the Batman screening. The simplest solution is to use the scope prime lens and the scope plate. It will still be centered and the small amount of picture lost on one side will barely be noticeable to few if anybody. Under the circumstances I think it unreasonable to expect the theatre to change their set up for one screening. It is more important that they get Batman right than Wings.

I can change from our modern film set up to silent in about 15 minutes.

The last time I ran Wings the print was excellent but it had been cut several times with a bunch of single frames taped in. I don't remember where it was from.

 |  IP: Logged

Mark J. Marshall
Film God

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


 - posted 07-16-2008 11:20 AM      Profile for Mark J. Marshall     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ok, well maybe it doesn't sound cool to EVERYBODY.

 |  IP: Logged

Stephen Furley
Film God

Posts: 3057
From: Coulsdon, Croydon, England
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 07-16-2008 11:44 AM      Profile for Stephen Furley   Email Stephen Furley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Bill Enos
It is more important that they get Batman right than Wings.
I'm sorry Bill, but I cannot agree with that. All screenings are equally important, it doesn't matter whether you're screening a film student's first work, on VHS, to a few of his friends, or 'Lawrence of Arabia' in 70mm with the Queen and David Lean in the audience. (I've never run a show with the Queen in the audience, but I think one of our members has) It doesn't matter what you're showing, or to who, you owe it to the film makers, the audience and the person hiring the theatre if it's a private screening, to present the film in the best way that you can. If there is something which is technically impossible, or impractical, for you to do then you should explain that fact, and whoever is organising the show can accept the limitations, or go elsewhere, but I don't think it's acceptable to regard one show as more important than another.

 |  IP: Logged

Dominic Espinosa
Phenomenal Film Handler

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


 - posted 07-16-2008 12:00 PM      Profile for Dominic Espinosa   Email Dominic Espinosa   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Following the same idea of from the rehearsal. It obviously wouldn't be perfect but what if you were to use a digital projector and a DVD or some other digital source material instead? You'd save a grip because you'd only have to pay for licensing -- no print shipping, no plates being cut, etc.

My theaters do rentals all the time for indie film makers and a bunch of other folks that bring just about any imaginable source material.

 |  IP: Logged

Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6960
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 07-16-2008 02:46 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Bill Enos
The simplest solution is to use the scope prime lens and the scope plate. It will still be centered and the small amount of picture lost on one side will barely be noticeable to few if anybody.
Might crop some of the opening title and intertitle text.

 |  IP: Logged

Monte L Fullmer
Film God

Posts: 8301
From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004


 - posted 07-16-2008 03:43 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
..also, I forgot to mention: the lamphouse, would have to be shifted to silent aperture center as well, but I think one showing wouldn't be to obvious with the bulb center being left of screen center.

 |  IP: Logged

Ralph Martin
Film Handler

Posts: 30
From: Vacaville, Ca./ USA
Registered: Jul 2008


 - posted 07-16-2008 04:35 PM      Profile for Ralph Martin   Email Ralph Martin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for all of the great advise.

It’s a newer print of the restored version but still in full frame format (not nitrate).

The theater is very supportive of our project. True this is going to be a bit of work – even on the part of the theater projectionist. But this is new and different to us and we all appreciate the challenge

Last year we did the restored film Metropolis which had the musical soundtrack added to the print so the theater was able to project it and simply turn off the sound. They had the right lens in one of their other locations.

We did two public screenings and sold out both nights. Even our town mayor publicly proclaimed our opening night “Metropolis Day” in the City of Vacaville!

So we’re ready to do the job – whatever it takes.

Thanks again for your friendly and experienced help. This is a great forum! I’ll keep you all updated.

Ralph

 |  IP: Logged



All times are Central (GMT -6:00)
This topic comprises 7 pages: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7 
 
Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic    next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:



Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.3.1.2

The Film-Tech Forums are designed for various members related to the cinema industry to express their opinions, viewpoints and testimonials on various products, services and events based upon speculation, personal knowledge and factual information through use, therefore all views represented here allow no liability upon the publishers of this web site and the owners of said views assume no liability for any ill will resulting from these postings. The posts made here are for educational as well as entertainment purposes and as such anyone viewing this portion of the website must accept these views as statements of the author of that opinion and agrees to release the authors from any and all liability.

© 1999-2018 Film-Tech Cinema Systems, LLC. All rights reserved.