Project Two – Bell & Howell Filmo Master 400 Projector

Here she is in all her glory, dusted off and amazingly the manual was still in the case and in good shape. Goods were really well made 75 years ago! I opened the manual and started to read it from the beginning. I remember machines that looked like this from when I was a kid. Teachers used to roll them on carts to classrooms and they spent most of the time trying to make them work. The film was for ever breaking.

Now is the moment of truth I attach the electrical cord to the projector and plug it into the wall outlet. I flip both switches, the bulb lights up and the fan comes on! This projector is so old it has an option for DC current and this was not a product developed for the european market. There was a time when not all the electrical grids in the US were on AC current. Next I carefully thread the film through the sprockets and onto the take up reel. I flip both switches again and and engage the clutch. Unfortunately the film did not run. At that moment I decided that I had to work with the digital files. This gives me an opportunity to learn something about both the analog format and the digital manipulation of film footage.

My husband will help me trouble shoot the problem when he comes home this weekend. It will be fun to watch the uncut footage on a screen in the living room like families used to do. A retro experience…


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