Logan Cameron makes a living off of being a projectionist, but the occupation is going out of style
Logan Cameron is an “accidental projectionist” who came to love film. But now that the medium has gone out of style, he doesn’t get to work with film much anymore — although he’s convinced it will come back.
Cameron first found himself behind a projector in 2002 after the collapse of the projection union. Due to salary cuts, projectionists citywide began abandoning their jobs.
Hoping to find individuals to run the projectors, managers turned to their existing employees.
“It seemed like all the managers just chose their favorite employees to be projectionists,” says local Calgarian, Cameron.
Back then film was the only means to show movies. But that just isn’t the case anymore.
Cameron, now age 30, still remembers his first stressful day on the job, laughing as he recalls Terminator 3 as the first movie he struggled to build.
Photo credit: Ashley King
“I miss it. It’s super cool. How many people actually get to splice movies together,” says Cameron.
As Cameron explains, today it’s basically all DCP (Digital Cinema Package). Once theatres receive this via satellite, employees enter a key which then unlocks the film.
Cameron says, “You just have to build a playlist for it, and then once it’s built, you just press play — but even a lot of the theatres are automated so you don’t even have to do that.”
Cameron estimates the last time he worked with film was roughly three months ago.
“That’s the thing, you’re asking me how easy is it to get into being a projectionist, but it just doesn’t exist. I think The Globe still has two 35 mm, and The Plaza has two which just run reel to reel,” says Cameron.
Nevertheless, Cameron, who now spends most of his time working on his late night variety show, ‘Late Night at The Plaza’, continues to miss working with film.
Cameron understands that going about it this way is just cheaper for the theatres. Not to mention, it’s a lot easier on the projectionists who no longer have to carry around 70-pound boxes filled with film.
Photo credit: Ashley KingBut despite this, Cameron believes that with the existence of independent theatres and small towns, projectionists like himself will continue to have a job.
Cameron remains optimistic for film, explaining there are groups like Cinamatheque, an organization that continues to produce old movies on film. He believes that film will have a revival the same way record players have.
“People are going to pay more in the future and be like, “lets go watch Pulp Fiction on 35 mm,” says Cameron. He says he believes if we wait five, 10 years, we can expect to witness this revival.