Presentation (Neil Thompson)

Neil Thompson interviewed by Richard Wallace

Projectionist Neil Thompson outlines the process of starting the film, checking sound levels and checking the aperture plates as part of good presentation.

Clip

Show Transcript
And I think presentation was the order of the day. Presentation and showmanship for me was spot on. And that’s what I was taught. How to put the film on properly. I've been to so many cinemas where they’ve put a film on, but what they’ve done is they haven’t opened the curtains at the right time, they haven’t took the lights down at the right time. Now that to me is bad presentation. ‘cause I mean when you start a machine you’ve got, I don’t know if you are aware, you’ve got a countdown leader. We used to start on number eight and what we used to do was used to start the machine and then take the lights down and then open the curtains because it took a long time for the curtains to open because they were very slow. So in actual fact when the film went on, the curtains would be, say, two thirds of the way open. So your picture went on the screen and not on top of them, you know? And I think that’s to do with presentation. And keeping an eye on the sound levels, that's another thing you had to be careful of. You had to go downstairs into the stalls and think, “Right, well can I hear that?” You had to be able to hear every whisper. Doesn’t matter whether the music’s loud, or the effects is loud, that’s deliberate. But you had to be able to hear every word. You’ve got effects banging and music that you need to hear, and I think music needs to be heard not, not fantastically loud but it needs to be heard in order to make an impression. There has to be plenty of bass there to make you think, “God, listen to that, that’s fantastic”. You see that's what presentation is all about. When a curtain opens and you see a picture come on the screen, I used to look right in the corners to make sure there’s no fuzzy lines. Because obviously the aperture plate had to be cut exactly right. Because if the aperture plate inside the projector was over cut you got the picture going onto the masking. Again, bad presentation.

Title

Presentation (Neil Thompson)

Subject

Description

Projectionist Neil Thompson outlines the process of starting the film, checking sound levels and checking the aperture plates as part of good presentation.

Source

Interview with Neil Thompson

Publisher

The University of Warwick

Date

29/12/2015

Format

.mp3

Language

English

Type

Sound recording
interview extract

Coverage

1974-1990

Interviewer

Richard Wallace

Interviewee

Neil Thompson

Date of Interview

11/11/2014

Location

Gateshead

Transcription

And I think presentation was the order of the day. Presentation and showmanship for me was spot on. And that’s what I was taught. How to put the film on properly. I've been to so many cinemas where they’ve put a film on, but what they’ve done is they haven’t opened the curtains at the right time, they haven’t took the lights down at the right time. Now that to me is bad presentation. ‘cause I mean when you start a machine you’ve got, I don’t know if you are aware, you’ve got a countdown leader. We used to start on number eight and what we used to do was used to start the machine and then take the lights down and then open the curtains because it took a long time for the curtains to open because they were very slow. So in actual fact when the film went on, the curtains would be, say, two thirds of the way open. So your picture went on the screen and not on top of them, you know? And I think that’s to do with presentation. And keeping an eye on the sound levels, that's another thing you had to be careful of. You had to go downstairs into the stalls and think, “Right, well can I hear that?” You had to be able to hear every whisper. Doesn’t matter whether the music’s loud, or the effects is loud, that’s deliberate. But you had to be able to hear every word. You’ve got effects banging and music that you need to hear, and I think music needs to be heard not, not fantastically loud but it needs to be heard in order to make an impression. There has to be plenty of bass there to make you think, “God, listen to that, that’s fantastic”. You see that's what presentation is all about. When a curtain opens and you see a picture come on the screen, I used to look right in the corners to make sure there’s no fuzzy lines. Because obviously the aperture plate had to be cut exactly right. Because if the aperture plate inside the projector was over cut you got the picture going onto the masking. Again, bad presentation.

Original Format

One-to-one interview

Duration

00:01:45

Bit Rate/Frequency

320kbps

Cinema

Queens Theatre, Northumberland Place, Newcastle upon Tyne
Odeon Newcastle upon Tyne, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne

Citation

The Projection Project, “Presentation (Neil Thompson),” Projection Project, accessed May 22, 2019, https://projectionproject.warwick.ac.uk/items/show/439.

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