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A 250 V 16 A electrical wire on a reel ElectricWireOnReel.JPG
A 250 V 16 A electrical wire on a reel
An irrigation reel with travelling sprinkler AutomaticlyOperatingIrrigationReel.jpg
An irrigation reel with travelling sprinkler

A reel is a device used to store elongated and flexible objects (e.g. yarns/cords, ribbons, cables, hoses, etc.) by wrapping the material around a cylindrical core known as a spool . Many reels also have flanges (known as the rims) around the ends of the spool to help retain the wrapped material and prevent unwanted slippage off the ends. In most cases, the reel spool is hollow in order to pass an axle and allow it to spin like a wheel, a winding process known as reeling, which can be done by manually turning the reel with handles or cranks, or by machine-powered rotating via (typically electric) motors.



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.


A badge reel Badge reel.JPG
A badge reel

Examples of reel usage include:

Motion picture terminology

35mm film reels and boxes 35mm reels and boxes.jpg
35mm film reels and boxes
16mm empty film reel with its metal container 16mm film reel (6498649123).jpg
16mm empty film reel with its metal container

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) [2] and about 15 minutes for silent film at the more or less standard speed of 18 frames per second. [3] 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. If it had 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 the silent era, the term was used to describe a single reel that accommodated two or more individual titles.

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 organization's previous work.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">35 mm movie film</span> Standard theatrical motion picture film gauge

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">8 mm film</span> Film format historically common in amateur filmmaking

8 mm film is a motion picture film format in which the film strip is eight millimetres (0.31 in) 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Super 8 film</span> Small motion picture film format

Super 8 mm film is a motion-picture film format released in 1965 by Eastman Kodak as an improvement over the older "Double" or "Regular" 8 mm home movie format.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fishing reel</span> Hand-cranked reel used in angling to stow fishing line

A fishing reel is a hand-cranked reel used in angling to wind and stow fishing line, typically mounted onto a fishing rod, but may also be used on compound bows or crossbows to retrieve tethered arrows when bowfishing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">135 film</span> 35 mm photographic film format

135 film, more popularly referred to as 35 mm film or 35 mm, is a format of photographic film with a film gauge of 35 mm (1.4 in) loaded into a standardized type of magazine for use in 135 film cameras.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">IMAX</span> Large-screen film format

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, with the 1.43:1 ratio format being available only in few selected locations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vitaphone</span> Sound system for film

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 is the last major analog sound-on-disc system and the only one that was widely used and commercially successful. The soundtrack is not printed on the film, but issued separately on phonograph records. The discs, recorded at 33+13 rpm and typically 16 inches (41 cm) in diameter, are played on a turntable physically coupled to the projector motor while the film is projected. Its frequency response is 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".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Movie projector</span> Device for showing motion picture film

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Film leader</span> Head or tail of a film

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Filmstrip</span> Film roll with a series of still images

The filmstrip is a form of still image instructional media, once widely used by educators in primary and secondary schools (K–12) and for corporate presentations. It was largely made obsolete by the late 1980s by newer and increasingly lower-cost full-motion videocassettes and later on by DVDs. From the 1920s to the 1980s, filmstrips provided an easy and less expensive alternative to full motion educational films, requiring little storage space and being very quick to rewind for the next use. Filmstrips were durable and rarely needed splicing. They are still used in some areas.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Projectionist</span> Movie projector operator

A projectionist is a person who operates a movie projector, particularly as an employee of a movie theater. Projectionists are also known as "operators".

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arresting gear</span> Cable used to rapidly decelerate an aircraft as it lands

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 that 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cue mark</span> Visual indicator on motion picture films

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 in the upper right corner of a film frame. Cue dots are also used as a visual form of signalling on television broadcasts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">28 mm film</span> Rare historical motion picture film gauge

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Théâtre Optique</span>

The Théâtre Optique is an animated moving picture system invented by Émile Reynaud and patented in 1888. From 28 October 1892 to March 1900 Reynaud gave over 12,800 shows to a total of over 500,000 visitors at the Musée Grévin in Paris. His Pantomimes Lumineuses series of animated films include Pauvre Pierrot and Autour d'une cabine. Reynaud's Théâtre Optique predated Auguste and Louis Lumière's first commercial, public screening of the cinematograph on 28 December 1895, which has long been seen as the birth of film.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Standard 8 mm film</span> Type of film format

Standard 8 mm film, also known as Regular 8 mm, Double 8 mm, Double Regular 8 mm film, or simply as Standard 8 or Regular 8, is an 8 mm film format originally developed by the Eastman Kodak company and released onto the market in 1932.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Live event support</span> All activities required for live performances

Live event support includes staging, scenery, mechanicals, sound, lighting, video, special effects, transport, packaging, communications, costume and makeup for live performance events including theater, music, dance, and opera. They all share the same goal: to convince live audience members that there is no better place that they could be at the moment. This is achieved through establishing a bond between performer and audience. Live performance events tend to use visual scenery, lighting, costume amplification and a shorter history of visual projection and sound amplification reinforcement.

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.


  1. Devos, Fred; Le Maillot, Chris; Riordan, Daniel (2004). "Introduction to Guideline Procedures Part 1: Equipment" (PDF). DIRquest. 5 (3). Global Underwater Explorers. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-06-09. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  2. "Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers, Volume 26. Ed. Society of Motion Picture Engineers, 1936. P. 93". Archived from the original on 2023-07-01. Retrieved 2023-03-14.
  3. Kawin, Bruce F. (1987). How Movies Work . University of California Press. p.  46. ISBN   9780520076969.