Checking the film during screenings (Mike Williams)

Mike Williams interviewed by Richard Wallace

Projectionist Mike Williams describes the projectionist’s duties when the film was on screen, noting the importance of checking films during screenings.

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Within reason if you were caught off the machine it was an offence. And you would be admonished over it. Your job was to make sure that film … you wouldn’t be watching the content of the film, you would have to stand there and watch the focus and pay attention to the sound. That was your job, to mind your machine while it was running. Change over, that was the other guy’s job to do it. And you certainly wouldn’t go and read the paper or have a chat to somebody. That just wasn’t allowed. It was a very strict regime in that way. But it was the job. The job was to put out a perfect product on the screen. In those days arc lamps needed constant attention. It was your job to make sure that light on the screen stayed the right intensity all the way through a film, not go up and down which it would if left alone. You know, you’d have some disasters on the screen in some cinemas where projectionists had been reading a book, or reading a paper and they’d suddenly burn out on screen or nothing would happen on the screen. So it was your job to make sure that went out on the screen properly. That was part of your job. And it was never resented. That's what you had to do.

Title

Checking the film during screenings (Mike Williams)

Description

Projectionist Mike Williams describes the projectionist’s duties when the film was on screen, noting the importance of checking films during screenings.

Source

Interview with Mike Williams

Publisher

The University of Warwick

Date

03/12/2015

Format

.mp3

Language

English

Type

Sound recording
interview extract

Coverage

1956-1966

Interviewer

Richard Wallace

Interviewee

Mike Williams

Date of Interview

24/08/2015

Location

Cardiff

Transcription

Within reason if you were caught off the machine it was an offence. And you would be admonished over it. Your job was to make sure that film … you wouldn’t be watching the content of the film, you would have to stand there and watch the focus and pay attention to the sound. That was your job, to mind your machine while it was running. Change over, that was the other guy’s job to do it. And you certainly wouldn’t go and read the paper or have a chat to somebody. That just wasn’t allowed. It was a very strict regime in that way. But it was the job. The job was to put out a perfect product on the screen. In those days arc lamps needed constant attention. It was your job to make sure that light on the screen stayed the right intensity all the way through a film, not go up and down which it would if left alone. You know, you’d have some disasters on the screen in some cinemas where projectionists had been reading a book, or reading a paper and they’d suddenly burn out on screen or nothing would happen on the screen. So it was your job to make sure that went out on the screen properly. That was part of your job. And it was never resented. That's what you had to do.

Original Format

One-to-one interview

Duration

00:00:47

Bit Rate/Frequency

320kbps

Cinema

ABC (Olympia) Cinema, 67 Queen Street, Cardiff

Citation

The Projection Project, “Checking the film during screenings (Mike Williams),” Projection Project, accessed July 19, 2019, https://projectionproject.warwick.ac.uk/items/show/384.

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