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Author Topic: Spools or Reels?
Douglas Meltzer
Moderator

Posts: 4554
From: New York, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted June 10, 2017 10:38 PM      Profile for Douglas Meltzer   Email Douglas Meltzer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This topic started as a sale thread in the equipment section, where Osi wrote "I have two black plastic reels that I am selling."

It took off from there, so I've moved the discussion to this section which allows Osi to sell his reels (or spools) here.

Rob's post refers to Osi's use of the term "reels".

Doug

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I think there's room for just one more film.....

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Rob Young.
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1633
From: Cheshire, U.K.
Registered: Dec 2003


 - posted June 10, 2017 10:41 PM      Profile for Rob Young.     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
These are spools, Osi, a reel is a length of film.

Sorry, no offence but this is a bugbear of mine!

Good luck with your sale. [Smile]

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Bradford A Moore
Master Film Handler

Posts: 272
From: Provincetown, Ma
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted June 10, 2017 10:45 PM      Profile for Bradford A Moore     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sorry to say with all my years of collecting, I have always referred to them as reels. Go on any site selling them, and they are called reels. Spools is very uncommonly used or said, or at least in this country. It sounds more like a British thing.

Best

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Rob Young.
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1633
From: Cheshire, U.K.
Registered: Dec 2003


 - posted June 10, 2017 10:47 PM      Profile for Rob Young.     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
No, with respect.

A spool is something which carries or holds film.

A reel is a length of film footage.

Wikapedia...

"It is traditional to discuss the length of theatrical motion pictures in terms of "reels". The standard length of a 35 mm film reel is 1,000 feet (305 m), which runs approximately 11 minutes for sound film (24 frames per second)[2] and about 15 minutes at silent film speed at the more-or-less standard speed of 16 frames per second (but that could be as high as 22 fps).[3] Most films have visible cues which mark the end of the reel. This allows projectionists running reel-to-reel to change over to the next reel on the other projector.
A so-called "two-reeler" would have run about 15–24 minutes since the actual short film shipped to a movie theater for exhibition may have had slightly less (but rarely more) than 1,000 ft (305 m) on it. Most modern projectionists use the term "reel" when referring to a 2,000-foot (610 m) "two-reeler", as modern films are rarely shipped by single 1,000-foot (305 m) reels. A standard Hollywood movie averages about five 2000-foot reels in length.
The "reel" was established as a standard measurement because of considerations in printing motion picture film at a film laboratory, for shipping (especially the film case sizes) and for the size of the physical film magazine attached to the motion picture projector. Had it not been standardized (at 1,000 ft or 305 m of 35 mm film) there would have been many difficulties in the manufacture of the related equipment. A 16 mm "reel" is 400 feet (122 m). It runs, at sound speed, approximately the same amount of time (11–12 minutes) as a 1,000-foot (305 m) 35 mm reel.
A "split reel" is a motion picture film reel in two halves that, when assembled, hold a specific length of motion picture film that has been wound on a plastic core. Using a split reel allows film to be shipped or handled in a lighter and smaller form than film would on a "fixed" reel. In silent film terminology, two films on one reel.
As digital cinema catches on, the physical reel is being replaced by a virtual format called Digital Cinema Package, which can be distributed using any storage media (such as hard drives) or data transfer medium (such as the Internet or satellite links) and projected using a digital projector instead of a conventional movie projector.
Actors may submit a demo reel of their work to prospective employers, often in physical reel format."

"Spool, a usually low-flanged or unflanged cylinder on which thread, wire, cable, paper, film, straps, or tape is wound for distribution or use."

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John Hermes
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 139
From: La Mesa, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2008


 - posted June 10, 2017 10:49 PM      Profile for John Hermes   Email John Hermes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A spool is for thread, a reel is for film. [Wink]
No one calls them spools in the U.S.

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John Hermes

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Rob Young.
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1633
From: Cheshire, U.K.
Registered: Dec 2003


 - posted June 10, 2017 10:51 PM      Profile for Rob Young.     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Quote,

"A spool is for thread, a reel is for film.
No one calls them spools in the U.S."

Sorry, John, again, with respect, don't get you. [Wink]

Generally, a super 8 reel is 200ft of film, which then is supplied on a spool, or whatever dispensing method you feel appropriate.

For example, an old school 3 x 400ft super 8 can be on 3 x 400ft SPOOLS.

But the footage can be 360 to 400ft of film, or REELS per SPOOL, then depending upon film stock.

So the footage is considerably variable per spool.

REEL = FILM LENGTH, NOT THE THING IT IS ON!

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John Hermes
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 139
From: La Mesa, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2008


 - posted June 10, 2017 10:52 PM      Profile for John Hermes   Email John Hermes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hey Rob. I do understand what you're saying. All I'm telling you is what you call spools in the U.K. we call reels here, regardless whether in reality it's a measurement term or not. You can state the definition a million times but it's not going to change anything. They've been called reels here since day one and will continue to be. It's not worth arguing about.

I'm curious...what do you guys call an audio reel-to-reel(our term) tape deck over there?

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John Hermes

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Douglas Meltzer
Moderator

Posts: 4554
From: New York, NY, USA
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 - posted June 10, 2017 11:11 PM      Profile for Douglas Meltzer   Email Douglas Meltzer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Rob,

It wasn't until I discovered this Forum that I heard the term spool applied to what I had known only as a reel. So both Elmo and Bolex are not referring to the product inside the box?

And yes, they did sell for $5.52 and $4.53.

 -

 -

Doug

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I think there's room for just one more film.....

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Alan Rik
Film God

Posts: 2211
From: New York City, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted June 10, 2017 11:16 PM      Profile for Alan Rik   Email Alan Rik   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I only have used the term "Spools" for yarn or thread. Sometimes If I'm not feeling well I say i have loose "spools". Wait is that the same thing? [Big Grin]

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Oliver F. R. Feld
Master Film Handler

Posts: 447
From: Berlin, Germany
Registered: Jan 2010


 - posted June 11, 2017 12:10 AM      Profile for Oliver F. R. Feld     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The german word for "reel" is "Spule"...! Also called "Filmspule"...!
And although I always assumed that the english word would be "reel" it is interesting to read about "spool" here...!

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Alan Rik
Film God

Posts: 2211
From: New York City, NY, USA
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 - posted June 11, 2017 12:15 AM      Profile for Alan Rik   Email Alan Rik   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Doug, that is a truly low price for that 800ft Elmo reel! I'll take 2 please.

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Winbert Hutahaean
Film God

Posts: 5468
From: Nouméa, New Caledonia
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted June 11, 2017 01:11 AM      Profile for Winbert Hutahaean     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
"Spool vs Reel" imho is just like "subway vs underground train".

Yes of course you cannot ride subway, because it was only meant (originally) to say a way under the ground. So what people ride is a train.

So the exact word must be "underground train" but people nowadays understand what the meaning of "I am taking subway to your place"

Cheers,

--------------------
Winbert

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Dominique De Bast
Film God

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From: Brussels, Belgium
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 - posted June 11, 2017 02:36 AM      Profile for Dominique De Bast   Email Dominique De Bast   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Do you say "camera reel" in the US ? That would sound strange.

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Dominique

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Brian Fretwell
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: London, UK
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 - posted June 11, 2017 03:31 AM      Profile for Brian Fretwell   Email Brian Fretwell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When it came to 1/4 in audio tape I always bought if on either a 5 3/4 or 7 inch reel, not spool - so to me the term reel always meant the container not the content.

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David Ollerearnshaw
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Penistone Sheffield UK
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 - posted June 11, 2017 04:30 AM      Profile for David Ollerearnshaw   Author's Homepage   Email David Ollerearnshaw   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The old 4x400ft features were advertised as 8 reelers. Here's a bargain reel/spool Schneider

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I love the smell of film in the morning.

http://www.thereelimage.co.uk/

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Michael O'Regan
Film God

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From: Essex, UK
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 - posted June 11, 2017 04:36 AM      Profile for Michael O'Regan   Email Michael O'Regan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
For what it's worth, in Ireland we have always called them reels.
I don't see that it matters, to be honest.

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Allan Broadfield
Master Film Handler

Posts: 452
From: Bromley, Kent
Registered: Nov 2010


 - posted June 11, 2017 04:47 AM      Profile for Allan Broadfield   Author's Homepage   Email Allan Broadfield   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In the UK we also refer to a film in terms of reels.
I have never seen a film advertised as for instance '3 x 4 spools'.
.A 'spool' I have only seen mentioned in regard to an empty spool, and then more often refered to as an empty reel.
Working as a projectionist years ago we would fetch the next reel from the cabinet, and loading the next weeks programme may be refered to as 'spooling up' or 'spooling off' at the end of the run.

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Rob Young.
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1633
From: Cheshire, U.K.
Registered: Dec 2003


 - posted June 11, 2017 05:11 AM      Profile for Rob Young.     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Doug, thank you for appropriately moving this conversation.

To quote Michael, "I don't see that it matters to be honest", and I agree, so lets keep it light hearted.

But, for example, a 6 reel version of a Marketing film is on 3, er, reels.

So it's not roughly 3 x 400ft, it's actually 3 x 200ft in length?

No, apparently not. It's on 3 plastic things with film on them...the length? Who knows?

Just kidding guys; this thread has proved interesting if nothing else. [Smile]

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David Ollerearnshaw
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Penistone Sheffield UK
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 - posted June 11, 2017 03:09 PM      Profile for David Ollerearnshaw   Author's Homepage   Email David Ollerearnshaw   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
But, for example, a 6 reel version of a Marketing film is on 3, er, reels.
Now this does annoy me. I could never understand why they used three reels when they fitted on two. Must have been down to marketing.

--------------------
I love the smell of film in the morning.

http://www.thereelimage.co.uk/

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Dominique De Bast
Film God

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From: Brussels, Belgium
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 - posted June 11, 2017 03:34 PM      Profile for Dominique De Bast   Email Dominique De Bast   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Doug, Posso wrote "spool" on the famous red boxes. I don't know if this European reputaded make has been present on the American market.

[ June 11, 2017, 05:25 PM: Message edited by: Dominique De Bast ]

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Dominique

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Steven J Kirk
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 873
From: Southern England
Registered: Apr 2008


 - posted June 11, 2017 04:07 PM      Profile for Steven J Kirk   Email Steven J Kirk   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Next topic, 'lace' or 'thread'!

In fact many things have more than one word for the same thing in English, and I'm sure in other languages too. After all do you receive a 'parcel' or a 'package' in the post, sorry in the mail...

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VistaVision
Motion Picture High-Fidelity

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Melvin England
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 707
From: Hull, East Yorkshire, UK
Registered: Feb 2016


 - posted June 11, 2017 04:28 PM      Profile for Melvin England     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So, would it be grammatically incorrect to say that.... "The film on my reel unraveled onto the floor so I had to spool it up again?"

Steven - you could use a third word......."loaded."

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"My name is for my friends!"

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Winbert Hutahaean
Film God

Posts: 5468
From: Nouméa, New Caledonia
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted June 11, 2017 04:28 PM      Profile for Winbert Hutahaean     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
I could never understand why they used three reels when they fitted on two. Must have been down to marketing.
David, I belive this is back to the consumer's mindset at that time regarding the price. For a 400' reel with acetate base was about US$40-60 (color and sound) depending on the title, print quality and the actual film length (usualy between 320 ft to 375ft). If we take the max price and length of film, this means the cost was about $0.16/feet.

Now back to Marketing Films, they used polyester film which is 25% thinner than acetate for the same length. If they fill a 400' reel until the edge (very full), the actual lenght has actually already been 533 ft of film.

That consumer mindset regarding the price of a full 400', would not be sucessfully beaten by Marketing if they sold a full 400' polyester film at $85. This would be considered too expensive although buyer would get longer films but majority would not understand this.

So the best way was to sell a look a like 300 ft of acetate but actually was 375 feet of polyester and packed them on to 3 reels like other companies which still used acetate base film. So they could sell at the same price with other companies.

cheers,

--------------------
Winbert

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Mike Newell
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 826
From: United Kingdom
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 - posted June 11, 2017 05:02 PM      Profile for Mike Newell   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've always used the term reel or reels in regard to film storage. Spools I would associate with textiles.

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Graham Ritchie
Film God

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From: New Zealand
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 - posted June 11, 2017 06:04 PM      Profile for Graham Ritchie   Email Graham Ritchie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My Eumig stuff says

Universal projection "Spool" Europa 400 feet with library box for Super-Single and Standard 8....check your Eumig stuff..

As stated on the boxes I have on some Std 8mm are... Spulen Bobines Spools Made in France.

[Smile] [Wink]

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