Arts Entertainments

Rays of dreams

Before television existed, the only place to escape to a world of moving images on a screen was the cinema. Those great, and not so great, places where you can escape the real world for a couple of hours or so.

Films were, and are still shown in the cinema by a projector that projects the images with a beam of light. Today, almost all cinemas have switched to digital, ditching their 35mm equipment. But it doesn’t matter if it’s digital or film, the beam of light is still necessary to create the magic of cinema. Eventually, movies can be projected on very large screens without a front or rear projection system with a beam of light.

There have been a number of makes and models of projectors, streetlights, and stereos used to create movie magic. One of the first brands of the dream machine was Kalee, a company based in Leeds. The Kalee models were made by a company called Kershaw. They made projector heads and street lamps. Their models included the Kalee 8,11 and 12 machines. Their carbon headlamps included the Kalee Vulcan and the Regal. They were acquired by Gaumont and became Gaumont Kalee in the late 1940s. The machines included the Gaumont Kalee 21, which was considered a very high quality projector. The carbon streetlights they produced included the President and Lightmaster. Many projectionists say that the President was better than the Lightmaster. Gaumont Kalee also had a sound system called Duosonic.

Other bow brands include Ashcraft, Peerless, and Mole Richardson. When xenon lamps began to replace carbon ones, some converted their arches to carbon. One of them was the Peerless. Other projector brands include American Simplex, Ross, Westar, and British Thomson Houston (BTH). BTH, which was based in Rugby, made a projector called the SUPA (Single Unit Projection Assembly). This machine had the built-in amplifier and lamp. With other machines, you could screw in the sound head of another brand. You can also choose the lighthouse. The SUPA model did not allow you to do this. BTH worked at all the Odeons, except in theaters they had acquired from another company. For example, Odeon took over the Paramount cinema in Liverpool, which had Simplex projectors. Later, many Odeon cinemas installed Kalee 21, before switching to Cinemeccanica. ABC used Ross, who later switched to Philips equipment. Some were equipped with Westar.

On the sound side were RCA (Radio Corporation of America), Western Electric, British Acoustic and British Talking Picture (BTP) among others. Going back to projectors, there was the Philips FP20 and the 35 / 70mm Philips DP70 and 75. The DP 70 was the only projector to win an Oscar. There was also the Cinemeccanica range, made in Italy. These included the 35 / 70mm double Victoria eight.

Some big theaters used high amps on their streetlights to give more light. Because of this, some machines were equipped with water cooling. This kept the projection door cooler, preventing too much heat from damaging the film. 35mm film is projected at 24 frames per second or 90 feet per minute. Now there is no movie, the movie is on a hard drive but there are still those dreamy rays.

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