I’ve always had more than a passing interest in what goes on in the projection booth of a cinema. It’s one reason why I’ve enjoyed the Moxie blog so much. There’s also a great essay about projectors in The Size of Thoughts : Essays and Other Lumber. I was pleased, then, to add to my projection booth knowledge with this article via Digg:
When the movies get shipped in, fresh from Hollywood, then arrive in these junky old film cans, nearly every movie is in two cans, but longer ones are in three. In each can are the reels of film, usually divided into 5-6 reels. The reels each have an 11 second head on them, which is a countdown from 11 to the beginning of the movie. This is important for setting the film up on the machine.
I believe he’s discussing an older movie theatre, because in the photos the reels sit upright in the projector. With newer projectors, they sit flat, platter style.