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Motion Picture Projectionist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Sets up and operates motion picture projection and related sound reproduction equipment.

This career is part of the Arts, Audio-Video Technology and Communications cluster Audio and Video Technology and Film pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Inserts film into top magazine reel, or threads film through a series of sprockets and guide rollers, attaching the end to a take-up reel.
  • Starts projectors and opens shutters to project images onto screens.
  • Monitors operations to ensure that standards for sound and image projection quality are met.
  • Operates equipment to show films in a number of theaters simultaneously.
  • Splices separate film reels, advertisements, and movie trailers together to form a feature-length presentation on one continuous reel.
  • Inspects movie films to ensure that they are complete and in good condition.
  • Sets up and adjusts picture projectors and screens to achieve proper size, illumination, and focus of images, and proper volume and tone of sound.
  • Performs regular maintenance tasks such as rotating or replacing xenon bulbs, cleaning lenses, lubricating machinery, and keeping electrical contacts clean and tight.
  • Inspects projection equipment prior to operation to ensure proper working order.
  • Splices and rewinds film onto reels automatically, or by hand, to repair faulty or broken sections of film.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Audiovisual Technician -- Operates audiovisual or sound-reproducing equipment to provide or complement educational or public service programs offered by institutions, such as museums, zoos, or libraries.
  • Motion Picture and Television Project Officer --