Threading 101
Threading The Platter

Please note:  The following practices are specific to the "Christie equipment package", but the general principles are still applicable with other makes of equipment.

Although these tips have been written in a fashion to help assist new projectionists, there are many good tips for experienced operators within.

Wind the tail leader off of the floor and onto the platter by spinning the platter by hand (shown above) or triggering the motor.  Pay special attention to only touch the outer edge of the platter's surface (right hand).  While spinning the deck, use your free hand (left hand) to run the film between two fingers.  This will help to pull off any loose dirt that accumulated on the last few feet of tail leader.

Now you must secure the tail end of the film.  Demonstrated here is the basic print tuck.  Use your left thumb to press gently inward and upward simultaneously to enable you to slide the tail underneath the print roll with your right hand.

This is a finished shot of an inward print tuck.  This is a commonly used tuck for platters that are poorly timed, scratched up or have been glazed over, creating a slick surface.  Note the tail should NOT be pulled tight, as there should be a little bit of slack as the film folds underneath the film roll.  Also, the tail should be extended far enough so the final frame is NOT under the film roll.

This is a finished shot of an outward print tuck.  This is more of an ideal tuck, but can slide out on poorly timed platters or ones with glazed (slick) surfaces.  Note the tuck here should not be completely underneath the film roll and should be pulled tight.

Other methods of securing the tail are with various print stoppers.  This is our preferred stopper, the Christie "suction cup".  Of extreme importance is to make sure this is placed roughly 6-8 inches away from the last frame of film.  This is to prevent the tail end from coming undone during a possible print slide.  It is also important to note we find these rarely stick well with suction.  Instead we highly recommend they be secured to the platter with a short strip of non-residue adhesive tape.  Other methods are to use Teco Stick-A-Poos or Christie's Bevanpoos, but be forewarned they are not 35mm in height and the film can still flop over the top of them.  If you prefer a "poo", we have found the Bevanpoo from Christie Inc. to be the best on the market.

Now it is time to remove the center ring.  Different makes of platters have different rings designs, the Christie being a mere "squeeze" as opposed to a locking mechanism.  Pictured above is the proper one handed removal procedure.  Rest your third finger on the top of the center ring while simultaneously squeezing the ring with your first finger and thumb.  Then pull straight up.  NEVER pull the ring out at an angle, as this causes the print to shift off center.

Pictured here is the proper method for removing a center ring with two hands.  Again, make sure you squeeze (shown on the left) and pull the ring straight up.

This is commonly seen bad practice.  The operator here is removing the ring purely by brute force.  This can cause the leader to pull out with the ring since there is no squeeze action.  The major problem with this method is the guaranteed off-centering of the print that will occur.  As the ring is being pulled outward at an angle, the opposite edge (from the operator's hand) of the ring is pushing the film roll off center, away from the operator.  Depending on how far the angle of the pull will depend on how far off center the print is pushed.  Regardless, this is a poor method for removing the ring and should be avoided.

Place the ring on an empty platter.  When using the one handed method (assuming the operator is standing opposite the tree), this will place the ring's "catch slot" in the proper position.

Grab the first foot of leader and place it in between the speed control arm's guides.

Next, pull the film through the stationary stripper/guide rollers at an angle.  This will facilitate easy threading.

The third roller in the brain is then gently pulled away from the center roller with one hand, while the other hand places the film in between the two rollers.  NEVER run your fingers "though" those two rollers.  This causes damage over time to the rollers and makes them to wobble as they spin, which brings about other problems such as DTS timecode dropping out due to a "bounce" in the payout.

At this point remember the "soundtrack" edge of the film should be UP, away from the platter's surface.  Running the soundtrack edge downward, toward the platter's surface puts the film at many potential risks, including severe horizontal "platter scratches" and emulsion side scratches should the film drag around the brain.  Running soundtrack down can also cause focus problems and erratic payout of the film.

Twist the film 90 degrees so that the top edge of the film (the soundtrack edge) is toward the tree (main platter vertical column) and thread over the corresponding roller.

Pull the film downward to the bottom roller and head back up... the film cleaner, which every presentation oriented theater should have.  Note:  the soundtrack edge of the film will be towards the platter tree once again.

If you have not reset the film cleaner by now, stop and do so.
Please note, only film cleaning media cloth that has been saturated in FilmGuard can be reused in this manner.  Dry media must be disposed of at the end of a pass or severe scratching can result.
First, pull the caps off of the supply spindles (Christie models unscrew)

Next, loosen the two takeup thumbscrews a few turns.

Insert the EZ2D plastic coupling tool so that it joins into the supply coupler.

Standing behind the handle end of the cleaner, use your left hand (thumb and forefinger) as a guide and spin the coupler with your right hand until the media cloth is rewound to the starting point.

Finally, tighten down the takeup thumbscrew and recap the supply spindle.  Make sure to rewind BOTH pads on the cleaner.  Important note:  if you fail to retighten down the takeup thumbscrews, the media cloth will not advance and could put the film at a risk of scratching.  Double check, always.

Thread the film through the film cleaning machine and continue to pull the film upwards to...

...the top roller on the tree.  For platters such as this one that are located on the non-operator side of the projector, the soundtrack should be traveling to and from the projector AWAY from the screen.  This puts the emulsion side on the rollers and will help to cut down on possible shedding as well as reduce the amount of twisting on the film.
(Note:  Platters located on the operator side of the projector should have the film's soundtrack edge running TOWARDS the screen to and from the projector.)

At this point, the film should be threaded over to the upper magazine roller and straight back without any twisting... the bottom roller on the platter's tree, completely bypassing the projector.  Again note the soundtrack edge of the film is still towards the platter's tree.

Move the takeup cluster roller bracket to the platter deck you originally placed the empty center ring on...

...and thread the takeup arm.  Note:  on the Christie AW3 platter, there is one arm dedicated for each platter.

Finally, bring the film to the "catch" on the center ring.  Again, make absolutely sure the soundtrack edge of the film is pointing toward the tree at this final roller and is twisted UP, away from the platter's surface.