Automation (Neil Thompson)

Neil Thompson interviewed by Richard Wallace

Projectionist Neil Thompson describes the process of using automated projection systems from the 1980s onwards.

Clip

Show Transcript
We used to have to put pulses on because everything was automated. What it did was, when the pulse went through the projector and it, you had the pick off, well we used to call it the proximity detector, that was the name for it, and when the pulse went by it just connected to a circuit. You used to have two metal drums on this Cinemation circuit and on the drums there was holes in them and you used to have pegs in the holes. And these holes corresponded to these switches. And then these switches used to correspond with your masking, the lights, the curtains. And when that pulse went through it used to advance the drum, once like that. And when the drums advanced, the peg used to correspond with the switch. And of course the switch used to do whatever it had to do you see. When the leader started going through the machine, the first pulse would strike your lamp so the first pulse would go through on the leader and you’d hear the lamp strike. And then next the curtains would open and the lights would go down, and it would switch over to film from your non-sync. Your non-sync by the way is the CD that’s playing. It’s short for non-synchronous. It did everything for you. At the end of the show used to put a pulse on about 30 feet before the end and when that went through it closed the curtains and everything for you. It brought the lights up and it stopped the projector at the end, and, of course, your leader was just hanging. So all you had to do was to switch it on again and make sure it went back onto the bottom plate, clean the machine and then take the ring out and then start and lace it up ready for the next one. So that was still interesting enough ‘cause as I say, you had to be there, you had to do everything. It was up to you to make sure the thing went on. But even though it was automated you still had to keep an eye on it, because with the pulses going through it would get dirty, they might miss when they go through, the pickup might just miss it, and the lamp probably wouldn’t strike. And you would hear it start and you think, “I never heard that lamp strike.” Even when you had automation you still had to keep an eye on these things.

Title

Automation (Neil Thompson)

Description

Projectionist Neil Thompson describes the process of using automated projection systems from the 1980s onwards.

Source

Interview with Neil Thompson

Publisher

The University of Warwick

Date

29/12/2015

Format

.mp3

Language

English

Type

Sound recording
interview extract

Coverage

1980-2014

Interviewer

Richard Wallace

Interviewee

Neil Thompson

Date of Interview

11/11/2014

Location

Gateshead

Transcription

We used to have to put pulses on because everything was automated. What it did was, when the pulse went through the projector and it, you had the pick off, well we used to call it the proximity detector, that was the name for it, and when the pulse went by it just connected to a circuit. You used to have two metal drums on this Cinemation circuit and on the drums there was holes in them and you used to have pegs in the holes. And these holes corresponded to these switches. And then these switches used to correspond with your masking, the lights, the curtains. And when that pulse went through it used to advance the drum, once like that. And when the drums advanced, the peg used to correspond with the switch. And of course the switch used to do whatever it had to do you see. When the leader started going through the machine, the first pulse would strike your lamp so the first pulse would go through on the leader and you’d hear the lamp strike. And then next the curtains would open and the lights would go down, and it would switch over to film from your non-sync. Your non-sync by the way is the CD that’s playing. It’s short for non-synchronous. It did everything for you. At the end of the show used to put a pulse on about 30 feet before the end and when that went through it closed the curtains and everything for you. It brought the lights up and it stopped the projector at the end, and, of course, your leader was just hanging. So all you had to do was to switch it on again and make sure it went back onto the bottom plate, clean the machine and then take the ring out and then start and lace it up ready for the next one. So that was still interesting enough ‘cause as I say, you had to be there, you had to do everything. It was up to you to make sure the thing went on. But even though it was automated you still had to keep an eye on it, because with the pulses going through it would get dirty, they might miss when they go through, the pickup might just miss it, and the lamp probably wouldn’t strike. And you would hear it start and you think, “I never heard that lamp strike.” Even when you had automation you still had to keep an eye on these things.

Original Format

One-to-one interview

Duration

00:02:58

Bit Rate/Frequency

320kbps

Cinema

Odeon Newcastle upon Tyne, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne
Empire Cinema, The Gate, Newgate Street, Newcastle upon Tyne

Citation

The Projection Project, “Automation (Neil Thompson),” Projection Project, accessed May 22, 2019, https://projectionproject.warwick.ac.uk/items/show/432.

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