Automated Projection

Until recently, it had never occurred to me that most multiplex cinemas have now automated their film projection rooms. I still envisioned it as either being one-projectionist-per-screen, or (at worst) one-projectionist-per-[x]-screens.  The only reassuring fact from this is that I’m obviously not the only one to have not realised. (As opposed to being (apparently) the only one to never click that James the Red Engine was ‘reddy for anything’)

But no, it turns out you’re very lucky if there’s a projectionist at all. It’s all programmed, automated, and generally human-free. They have been for (at least) five or six years now, apparently.

I don’t know why it hadn’t clicked for me, because looking back it makes total sense. If you’ve got a 16-screen cinema that is (apparently) only staffed by four spotty teenagers and a manager or two, why on earth would you expect it to then have 16 projectionists? (Or even 2, one per eight screens)

What this does mean though, is that if there’s a fault in the showing, no-one knows about it unless you go out and tell someone.  There’s no-one in the room at the back, checking the quality. It’s all done automagically.

I’ve been in a couple now where the projection/showing has gone a bit tits-up – one with no sound, one where everything had a weird pink overlay to it. Both times the rest of the audience has sat there bitching, but still done nothing else, assuming (I assume) that the projectionist would “just fix it”.  I just go out and let a member of staff know it’s kippered, which gets things fixed.

I wonder if the cinemas should actually do more to let people know about those changes though?

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