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tanyarparis, Entertainment Fan
Category: Entertainment
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What are those dots on old films

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There are often dots, rings, triangles and diamond shapes flitting across the screen when watching old films. Are they editor''s or audio sinc marks, or...?

These are cue marks, or "reel-change dots," signaling the projectionist
that it is time to change reels. There is actually a set of dots.
Four consecutive frames are marked with a little circle in the upper
right-hand corner of the frame. The first set (4 frames) of cue marks
(the motor cue) is placed 198 frames before the end of the reel. (198
frames is 8.25 seconds, or 12.375 feet.) There are 172 frames between
the first set of cue marks and the second set of 4 frames, the
changeover cue. There are 18 frames between the changeover cue and the
runout section of the trailer (or foot) leader. The projectionist
threads up the next reel of film so that he has about nine feet of
leader between the lens and the start of the film. At the first cue
mark, he starts the motor on the second projector. This gives the
projector time to get up to to speed and for the speed to stabilize.
On the second cue mark, he throws the switches that change the picture
and sound sources. In some old films on TV, you'll see long changeover
cues since some projectionists were paranoid that they would not see
the marks.

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Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Yes! My boyfriend and I have been watching tons of old films this year and have been very curious about the marks. Thank you so much. I appreciate the link to the site that the answer came from as well.

I would use this service agian!
Thank you! I am glad this answered your question!