Projectionist Training and Degree Programs
The art of 35mm film is slowly disappearing with the introduction of digital film. However, if you'd like to take part in the preservation of working with 35mm film or the setting up of projection equipment for schools and conferences, consider projectionist training. You'll work with Xenon and incandescent lamps, as well as learning how to synchronize lighting, film and sound. Schools offering Applied Communications degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Kinds of Projectionist Training Are Available?
For the most part, training as a projectionist comes from on-the-job experience. However, some colleges do provide training sessions, workshops and courses. These programs are intended to teach you the fading art of movie projection. Projectionists largely work in movie theaters, but they also maintain and set up projection equipment and slide equipment for schools, colleges, businesses and conferences.
Internships and assistantships provide the hands-on experience within an academic program. These internships allow you to handle and inspect projection equipment and film, troubleshoot and set up film reels. Some of the equipment you'll familiarize yourself with includes DVD players, film and video projectors, audio equipment and rewinding devices. You'll look for defects and replace worn equipment and defective parts. You'll also look at film and DVDs to find holes, scratches or defects. Some programs offer lead projectionist assistantships, wherein you'll oversee an entire projection facility, and you'll even pass your skills on to new projectionists.
What Prerequisites Might I Need to Meet?
If you're interested in studying to become a senior or lead projectionist, you'll need to have prior experience working with projection equipment. Some assistantships require you to have experience disassembling and reassembling projectors and cleaning parts. Other than these prerequisites, you'll need communication and writing skills.
How Can I Obtain Licensure?
As of 2011, projectionists' licensing requirements vary by jurisdiction. Some cities require you to have a motion picture projectionist (or operator) license to work with 35mm equipment. For instance, New York City requires anyone who wants to work with projectionist equipment in a public or private setting to have an operating license (www.nyc.gov). Requirements may also be set at the state level; you'll need to check with your state to find licensure requirements.
What Is The Career Like?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), motion picture projectionists held the most jobs in California, New York, Texas and Florida (www.bls.gov). The highest-paying state for motion picture projectionists is Hawaii with an average pay rate of $15.38 an hour. Most employers would like to see projectionists with at least 2-4 years experience working with the equipment when hiring, reports Salary.com.
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