Standing next to the large Brenkert Projector, South Jersey author Allen Hauss remembers a time when films weren’t so digital.
In the 1960s, it was Hauss’ job to prepare the large film projector for movie screenings at Our Lady of Lourdes School of Nursing in Camden County.
“It was a treat to see a brand new movie, in this case in your own college or school, and it was my assignment to go there and run the movie for them,” Hauss said.
Hauss would arrive at least 30 minutes early to get the reels ready to be loaded up on the projector. Reels for a 35 mm film lasted only about 20 minutes, which meant for a longer film, the loading of six to eight reels was required by a projectionist.
These days, most movies are digital.
“There’s a major difference between seeing a picture on film and seeing a picture digitally in quality.”
Hauss, author of the book “South Jersey Movie Houses,” says one of the biggest differences is the photography and sound of a film. Watching movies on film can give the moviegoer a real idea of what photography is capable of doing. Hauss says the same is true for sound.
The same Brenkert Projector Hauss once operated now sits at the Camden County Historical Society after it was donated by Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center.
The projector, which has a basic design that went unchanged for more than 100 years, includes parts manufactured in Camden.
While the projector continues to connect us with our film past, Hauss points out reels of old movies won’t be around forever.
“Once it’s all gone, and once the existing 35 mm prints of a lot of classics are worn and will not be reprinted, it’s gone. There won’t be a place to see “Casablanca” on 35 mm film again.”
When watching the Academy Awards, many of us remember our favorite films or our favorite scenes from past movies. What are your most memorable films and how do you feel about the way some films are made now? Share your thoughts in the comments below.