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A reel is an object around which lengths of another material (usually long and flexible) are wound for storage. Generally a reel has a cylindrical core and walls on the sides to retain the material wound around the core. In some cases the core is hollow, although other items may be mounted on it, and grips may exist for mechanically turning the reel.
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The size of the core is dependent on several factors. A smaller core will obviously allow more material to be stored in a given space. However, there is a limit to how tightly the stored material can be wound without damaging it and this limits how small the core can be.
Other issues affecting the core size include:
With material such as photographic film that is flat and long but is relatively wide, the material generally is stored in successive single layers. In cases where the material is more uniform in cross-section (for example, a cable), the material may be safely wound around a reel that is wider than its width. In this case, several windings are needed to create a layer on the reel.
It is traditional to discuss the length of theatrical motion pictures in terms of "reels". The standard length of a 35 mm film reel is 1,000 feet (305 m), which runs approximately 11 minutes for sound film (24 frames per second) and about 15 minutes for silent film at the more-or-less standard speed of 16 frames per second. Most films have visible cues which mark the end of the reel. This allows projectionists running reel-to-reel to change over to the next reel on the other projector.
A so-called "two-reeler" would have run about 15–24 minutes since the actual short film shipped to a movie theater for exhibition may have had slightly less (but rarely more) than 1,000 ft (305 m) on it. Most modern projectionists use the term "reel" when referring to a 2,000-foot (610 m) "two-reeler", as modern films are rarely shipped by single 1,000-foot (305 m) reels. A standard Hollywood movie averages about five 2,000-foot reels in length.
The "reel" was established as a standard measurement because of considerations in printing motion picture film at a film laboratory, for shipping (especially the film case sizes) and for the size of the physical film magazine attached to the motion picture projector. Had it not been standardized (at 1,000 ft or 305 m of 35 mm film) there would have been many difficulties in the manufacture of the related equipment. A 16 mm "reel" is 400 feet (122 m). It runs, at sound speed, approximately the same amount of time (11–12 minutes) as a 1,000-foot (305 m) 35 mm reel.
A "split reel" is a motion picture film reel in two halves that, when assembled, hold a specific length of motion picture film that has been wound on a plastic core. Using a split reel allows film to be shipped or handled in a lighter and smaller form than film would on a "fixed" reel. In silent film terminology, two films on one reel.
As digital cinema catches on, the physical reel is being replaced by a virtual format called Digital Cinema Package, which can be distributed using any storage medium (such as hard drives) or data transfer medium (such as the Internet or satellite links) and projected using a digital projector instead of a conventional movie projector.
A newsreel is a short documentary film.
A showreel or demo reel is a short film showcasing a person's or an organization's previous work.
Digital cinema refers to the use of digital technology to distribute or project motion pictures as opposed to the historical use of reels of motion picture film, such as 35 mm film. Whereas film reels have to be shipped to movie theaters, a digital movie can be distributed to cinemas in a number of ways: over the Internet or dedicated satellite links, or by sending hard drives or optical discs such as Blu-ray discs. Digital movies are projected using a digital video projector instead of a film projector, are shot using digital movie cameras and edited using a non-linear editing system (NLE), which is often a video editing application in one or more computers that may be networked to access the original footage from a remote server, share or gain access to computing resources for rendering the final video, and to allow several editors to work on the same timeline or project. Alternatively a digital movie could be a film reel that has been digitized using a motion picture film scanner. Digital cinema is distinct from high-definition television and does not necessarily use traditional television or other traditional high-definition video standards, aspect ratios, or frame rates. In digital cinema, resolutions are represented by the horizontal pixel count, usually 2K or 4K. As digital-cinema technology improved in the early 2010s, most theaters across the world converted to digital video projection. The 2K and 4K resolutions used in digital cinema projection are often referred to as DCI 2K and DCI 4K. DCI stands for Digital Cinema Initiatives.
35 mm film is a film gauge used in filmmaking, and the film standard. In motion pictures that record on film, 35 mm is the most commonly used gauge. The name of the gauge is not a direct measurement, and refers to the nominal width of the 35 mm format photographic film, which consists of strips 1.377 ± 0.001 inches (34.976 ± 0.025 mm) wide. The standard image exposure length on 35 mm for movies is four perforations per frame along both edges, which results in 16 frames per foot of film.
VistaVision is a higher resolution, widescreen variant of the 35 mm motion picture film format which was created by engineers at Paramount Pictures in 1954.
8 mm film is a motion picture film format in which the film strip is eight millimeters wide. It exists in two main versions – the original standard 8 mm film, also known as regular 8 mm, and Super 8. Although both standard 8 mm and Super 8 are 8 mm wide, Super 8 has a larger image area because of its smaller and more widely spaced perforations.
IMAX is a proprietary system of high-resolution cameras, film formats, film projectors, and theaters known for having very large screens with a tall aspect ratio and steep stadium seating.
Vitaphone was a sound film system used for feature films and nearly 1,000 short subjects made by Warner Bros. and its sister studio First National from 1926 to 1931. Vitaphone was the last major analog sound-on-disc system and the only one which was widely used and commercially successful. The soundtrack was not printed on the film itself, but issued separately on phonograph records. The discs, recorded at 33 1⁄3 rpm and typically 16 inches (41 cm) in diameter, would be played on a turntable physically coupled to the projector motor while the film was being projected. It had a frequency response of 4300 Hz. Many early talkies, such as The Jazz Singer (1927), used the Vitaphone system. The name "Vitaphone" derived from the Latin and Greek words, respectively, for "living" and "sound".
A movie projector is an opto-mechanical device for displaying motion picture film by projecting it onto a screen. Most of the optical and mechanical elements, except for the illumination and sound devices, are present in movie cameras. Modern movie projectors are specially built video projectors.
A film leader is a length of film attached to the head or tail of a film to assist in threading a projector or telecine. A leader attached to the beginning of a reel is sometimes known as a head leader, or simply head, and a leader attached to the end of a reel known as a tail leader or foot leader, or simply tail or foot.
A projectionist is a person who operates a movie projector. In the strict sense of the term this means any film projector and therefore could include someone who operates the projector in a show. In common usage the term is generally understood to describe a paid employee of a movie theater. Projectionists are also known as "operators".
In filmmaking, video production, animation, and related fields, a frame is one of the many still images which compose the complete moving picture. The term is derived from the fact that, from the beginning of modern filmmaking toward the end of the 20th century, and in many places still up to the present, the single images have been recorded on a strip of photographic film that quickly increased in length, historically; each image on such a strip looks rather like a framed picture when examined individually.
Since the widespread adoption of reel-to-reel audio tape recording in the 1950s, audio tapes and tape cassettes have been available in many formats. This article describes the length, tape thickness and playing times of some of the most common ones.
An arresting gear, or arrestor gear, is a mechanical system used to rapidly decelerate an aircraft as it lands. Arresting gear on aircraft carriers is an essential component of naval aviation, and it is most commonly used on CATOBAR and STOBAR aircraft carriers. Similar systems are also found at land-based airfields for expeditionary or emergency use. Typical systems consist of several steel wire ropes laid across the aircraft landing area, designed to be caught by an aircraft's tailhook. During a normal arrestment, the tailhook engages the wire and the aircraft's kinetic energy is transferred to hydraulic damping systems attached below the carrier deck. There are other related systems which use nets to catch aircraft wings or landing gear. These barricade and barrier systems are only used for emergency arrestments for aircraft without operable tailhooks.
Sleep is a 1964 American avant-garde film by Andy Warhol. Lasting five hours and 20 minutes, it consists of looped footage of John Giorno, Warhol's lover at the time, sleeping.
A cue mark, also known as a cue dot, a cue blip, a changeover cue or simply a cue is a visual indicator used with motion picture film prints, usually placed on the right-hand upper corner of a frame of the film. Cue dots are also used as a visual form of signalling on television broadcasts.
28 mm film was introduced by the Pathé Film Company in 1912 under the name Pathé Kok. Geared toward the home market, 28 mm utilized diacetate film stock rather than the flammable nitrate commonly used in 35 mm. The film gauge was deliberately chosen such that it would be uneconomical to slit 35 mm nitrate film.
A release print is a copy of a film that is provided to a movie theater for exhibition.
Anamorphic format is the cinematography technique of shooting a widescreen picture on standard 35 mm film or other visual recording media with a non-widescreen native aspect ratio. It also refers to the projection format in which a distorted image is "stretched" by an anamorphic projection lens to recreate the original aspect ratio on the viewing screen. The word anamorphic and its derivatives stem from the Greek anamorphoun, compound of morphé with the prefix aná. In the late 1990s and 2000s, anamorphic lost popularity in comparison to "flat" formats such as Super 35 with the advent of digital intermediates; however in the years since digital cinema cameras and projectors have become commonplace, anamorphic has experienced a considerable resurgence of popularity, due in large part to the higher base ISO sensitivity of digital sensors, which facilitates shooting at smaller apertures.
A projection booth, projection box or Bio box is a room or enclosure for the machinery required for the display of movies on a reflective screen, located high on the back wall of the presentation space. It is common in a movie theater.
A sound follower, also referred to as separate magnetic, sepmag, magnetic film recorder, or mag dubber, is a device for the recording and playback of film sound that is recorded on magnetic film. This device is locked or synchronized with the motion picture film containing the picture. A sound follower operates like an analog reel-to-reel audio tape recording, but using film, not magnetic tape. The unit can be switched from manual control to sync control, where it will follow the film with picture.
The DP70 is a model of motion picture projector, of which approximately 1,500 were manufactured by the Electro-Acoustics Division of Philips between 1954 and about 1968. It is notable for having been the first mass-produced theater projector in which 4/35 and 5/70 prints could be projected by a single machine, thereby enabling wide film to become a mainstream exhibition format, for its recognition in the 1963 Academy Awards, which led to it being described as "the only projector to win an Oscar", and for its longevity: a significant number remain in revenue-earning service as of June 2020 although now primarily used for exhibiting 70mm feature films.