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TOPIC: Billed for Technicolor Reel Replacement

Billed for Technicolor Reel Replacement 09 Feb 2005 15:09 #24778

  • BECKWITH1
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We've never been billed for a reel replacement before, but we have never had the following experience. Wed Dec 22nd - We received Meet the Fockers. The 2nd reel was unloaded from the can and placed on the rewind bench. Mismatched Technicolor reel explodes sending plastic shrapnel everywhere. Projectionist has several deep cuts on hands. Managed to stop film but 35-50 feet of reel 2 are now pretty badly damaged as there is now film and plastic shrapnel strewn at least 15 feet away from bench. Projectionist calls Technicolor for replacement reel and explains what happened. Technicolor person marks form indicating that theater admits damage. Orders replacement reel and requests pickup of the damaged reel. Projectionist packages the whole mess including reel shards and returns to Technicolor. We consider ourselves very lucky that there were no worse physical injuries than the deep cuts on the hands.

Life goes on. It is Christmas after all and we must deal with the usual Christmas problems in addition to the following: Christmas Eve Day we come in and find water pouring from the ceiling into #3 theater which is showing The Polar Express. We move Polar Express to #4, call landlord and get leak fixed by mid afternoon. Seats dry out overnight. New Years Eve day we come in to find 2-3 inches of foundation water seeping into theaters #3 & #4. Employees mop both theaters all day between shows. Lost the use of the front 3 rows -37% of seats in #3 which was selling out. Foundation quits seeping water by next day and we get theaters dried out within a couple of days.

After the Christmas hoopla and aforementioned problems handled, we had more or less forgotten the whole shattered reel episode. Now receive bill from Universal (actually sent to our booker) on Feb. 8th for $470.65. I do not think that we should be paying this bill and we have contacted both our booker and Technicolor to discuss the situation, but it is not currently resolved. Also remember that this was a print that Universal made us pay $2500 in advance to get so we are already slightly irritated with the situation and while we don't run damaged prints for our customers we certainly wouldn't have run a damaged print that we had already paid dearly to get. What do you think?
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Re: Billed for Technicolor Reel Replacement 09 Feb 2005 19:19 #24779

  • outaframe
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I would be getting on the phone to the Universal branch manager, and explain the situation to him... If this doesn't resolve the problem, I'd call the District manager... These guys have the clout to make this go away with the wave of a hand, and most are really decent to deal with...
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Re: Billed for Technicolor Reel Replacement 09 Feb 2005 21:27 #24780

  • Mike Spaeth
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I had this problem with a damaged reel of Mr. 3000. All it took was a call to the Technicolor inspector ... he pulled his records ... listened to my opinion of what happened ... and changed his "official" decision. Then they contacted Buena Vista and the bill disappeared. Universal is just relaying the information they got from their subcontracted film depot. The easiest was to take care of it is to contact Technicolor.
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Re: Billed for Technicolor Reel Replacement 09 Feb 2005 23:58 #24781

  • rodeojack
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This is a problem that has been debated a great length among the various available internet discussion forums.

Basically, it appears to be a well documented fact that Technicolor sends prints out on reels that are either defective by manufacture, or have been damaged by another theatre... possibly from a print of an entirely different title.

I have seen indications that Technicolor is trying to find a way to balance print damage against the convenience of using split reels. However, I haven't seen anything to indicate that they've pulled all previous forms of previously-manufactured sub-par reels. I got a lot of them last year... on brand-new release prints. I believe is't only by sheer luck that I haven't had to contend with exactly what you're dealing with right now.

When National Film Service was the national depot, they used reels that the studio spools had to be wound on. There are lots of opinions on how good that ultimately was for the film itself. However, the current crop of split reels, while convenient for the depots, are a major pain in the neck for us, since many of them are junk by their first time out of the dock.


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Re: Billed for Technicolor Reel Replacement 10 Feb 2005 12:00 #24782

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How are the new, improved, orange Technicolor Film Services reels working? The ones that I've seen seem to be a big improvement.


John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Cell: +1 585-781-4036 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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Re: Billed for Technicolor Reel Replacement 12 Feb 2005 14:22 #24783

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If your equipment is working properly (I mean rewinder), and it was a mismatched reel, suggest they pay your ER bill and pain and suffering for the wounded projectionist and you'll pay for the print. I have a few stitches from a reel fragmenting during rewind and perhaps have a bit of an attitude about companies sending out prints on what's convienent for them. The little exposure I've had to the orange reels seems to indicate they are a step up from the last design.
Paul Turner
Avalon Cinema
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Re: Billed for Technicolor Reel Replacement 13 Feb 2005 01:49 #24784

  • puzzlegut
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The reels I liked the best were the old all metal ones. Even if they cost more initially, they don't break near as easily as the plastic ones do. We still have some from the 40's and 50's at our single screen that were in use until 3 years ago when we updated from our carbon arc reel to reel projectors to a xenon and platter system.
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Re: Billed for Technicolor Reel Replacement 14 Feb 2005 13:47 #24785

  • John Pytlak
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The new plastic reel designs allow the exchanges to "mount" a print by just twisting a new set of reel flanges onto the 4-inch diameter lab cores, eliminating the need to manually rewind the film onto the shipping reel. The labor savings are significant, so don't expect a return to the one piece metal or plastic shipping reels. Just hope for improved designs (like the new orange reels) to fix the intial problems with brittle plastics and "fall apart" reels.

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Cell: +1 585-781-4036 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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Re: Billed for Technicolor Reel Replacement 14 Feb 2005 22:36 #24786

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I had a situation with the SR track on Shrek 2. When I got the bill for the reel with the explanation that technicolor didn't find anything to be wrong with it, I called Dreamworks and explained that in the context of the film, reel two had a significantly noticable drop in fidelity, they gladly cancelled the bill upon my explanation. That and when I told them that the 800 number they gave me to contact them was a phone sex line, they were a little embarassed and were more than gracious about the mix-up. (The guy at Dreamworks called the number and got the sex line too.
) So, yes, a lot of times the studio is quite easy to work with on these type of problems.
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