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 Projection room  [Woolton Picture House].
The back room tour begins at the bottom of the age old cast iron staircase, leading up to the projection room. The orange brick wall in the back ground runs almost wall to wall with St Peters church hall. A classic example of how the architect and interior designers had to adapt to the limited space during the construction of the cinema
Looking down from the top of the spiral staircase there are nineteen steps to negotiate. Although at first sight this looks like a very glamorous way to enter and exit your work place, after  carrying two large film transit cases up and down it every week you may probably see it from another point of view.
Standing at the top of the spiral staircase looking in towards the projection room.Somewhat reminiscent of a certain scene from cinema paradiso, we see our first glimpse of the old spool cabinet, along with some of the twenty minute film spools. In the days of spontaneous combustible nitrate film it was mandatory to keep each reel of film confined to its own draw of the spool cupboard with the fire door tightly closed. An average size feature film was usually six reels or more, consisting of the main feature on the top shelf and the supporting feature on the bottom.
Due to the highly inflammable materials handled within the workplace of a public building, in order to satisfy local fire regulations it was necessary to install three 2 inch thick heavy duty fire doors. Thankfully with the advances of modern technology the threat of Combustible film all but disappeared with the introduction of  polyester based film stock as opposed to nitrate.
We now make our way through the fire doors into the technical hub of the cinema. First up is the main Westar projector with its peerless magnarc (xenon bulb converted lamphouse) behind it one of two Westinghouse Dc rectifiers, alongside the Italian made cinemeccanica long runner film carrier.
(Right) Another view of the Italian made cinemeccanica  DGB 4X4 165 minute continuous play film carrier.
the current set up of two projectors at the Woolton cinema, A second projector was once always a vital  part of the configuration to allow continuity of the feature film using several separate short film reels. Nowadays the second projector is mainly used as a stand by for technical failure or for showing the adverts and trailers before the main feature begins.
left 1: The projection rooms last remaining box of copper coated carbons, the molten copper droppings were often saved and every six months or so taken down to the scrap metal yard by the projectionists to convert to cash and top up their often low wages. Left 2: Later bulb conversion Left  3:The hall lighting control dimmers & finallly Left 4: A early form of communication for the downstairs manager to tell the projectionist to adjust the film sound level either up or down.                                                               End of Guide
Opposite  left and right top: The hand cranked cable(still operational) runs along a series of pulleys, making its way through the roof and down to the side screen masking, when turned it alters the screen ratio from cinemascope to wide screen (all done without a electric motor in sight). Opposite Lower left: The early fire doors dated November 1927 give some indications of the buildings date of completion. Opposite lower right: The once mandatory end of performance “God Save The Queen” National anthem on vinyl record alongside the cinemas fire record played to vacate the building in the event of fire,both still hanging on the wall as a sign of days gone bye, come to think of it both of these records served the exact same purpose, emptying a packed house of patrons in just under ten seconds flat.
This is the Woolton cinemas projection room looking towards the spiral staircase. The framed portrait hanging on the wall in the distance is that of Elvis Presley, Its a bit of a mystery as to who hung it up but it has probably been around since the days when John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met just a few feet away in St Peters church next door and it has since always been considered Taboo to ever remove the portrait.
Hardly surprising that the Woolton is sometimes referred to as Liverpools very own cinema Paradiso.The old rewind bench (nowadays used mainly for advert and trailer editing) which also looks very much like a back drop from the  Stella Artois  film on 4 early tv commercial
Standing tall watching over the two Westar projectors is where the digital age of sound integrates seamlessly with the golden age of cinema projection. The tower rack consists of a Dolby CP55 Stereo processor,DTS smpte sync analyzer, two standard CD drives, two DTS drives/encoder, a 100watt Omnex mosfet two channel amplifier, three x two channel digital power amplifiers and right at the very bottom of the rack a in house audio loop system for the reception of the film dialogue on a compatible hearing aid for patrons with hearing difficulties. The main projector is fitted with a dts digital code reader to pick up the smpte time pulses contained on the moving film, the six channels of sound for the feature film are contained on two Dts compact discs. these discs are inserted into the white and blue section of the tower system (see photo:right) running in perfect sync with the 35mm film.
The inside of the woolton cinemas digital sound system gives a insight into the technological advances made since the cinema first opened its doors as a silent picture house way back in the 1920`s. Times look to have gone full circle as “Sound on disc” was one of the earliest forms of motion picture sound to be invented, which also consisting of a separate disc running in sync with the motion picture. Fundamentally similar to the sound system used today.
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