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Motion picture projectionist

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Summary of occupation

Projectionists set-up, operate and maintain film projectors in cinema complexes, outdoor cinemas and drive-ins. They receive, store and archive the film reels that are obtained by cinemas, cut, splice (join) and unsplice film, and maintain film projection and cinema audio equipment. Whilst screening films projectionists load the film reel, feed the film into the projector, play the film, and adjust the focus and sound. They also replace worn parts and undertake general maintenance of projection equipment. Projectionists work all over Western Australia, in cinemas and drive-ins that exist in many of our cities and towns.

ANZSCO description: Operates film projection and related sound reproduction equipment.
Alternative names: Cinema Projectionist, Projectionist
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A projectionist needs:

  • an interest in projection technology
  • the ability to work in confined spaces
  • alertness, precision and concentration
  • good eyesight and hearing, which may be corrected
  • technical and manual ability
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Working conditions

Projectionists work in the projection booths of cinema complexes, outdoor cinemas, like the famous Sun Picture Theatre in Broome, and drive-ins. The rooms they work in are usually dimly lit and climate controlled. They usually work in shifts, which may include late nights and on weekends and public holidays. They often work alone.

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Salary details

On average, motion picture projectionists, classified under other machine operators, can expect to earn between $800 and $999 per week ($41 600 and $51 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience.

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Tools and technologies

Projectionists handle film and film reels, and operate film projectors. Most of the modern film projectors that are in use in contemporary cinemas are automated, so there is no need for multiple projectors. Projectionists also operate sound equipment, and may also use equipment to cut and splice film. They transport film using platter systems, and may also use radio telephones to communicate in-house in multi-theatre complexes.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a motion picture projectionist without any formal qualifications. Employers will usually provide training on the job.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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