Film Leaders

March 19, 2011

We’ve all seen an Academy Leader. Did you know it has many purposes? (other than adding that great nostalgic film feel to a ‘reel’ screening)

An Academy Leader signifies the start of a reel. There are two main versions.

One of the standards, starting at 8, with cross hairs behind the number and hand rotating clockwise, counting down every second, at 24 frames per second, (or whatever frame rate the film might be in) we see:

7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and on the ‘2’ we hear a *beep*, what is called a TWO MARK, always at 2 seconds before the First Frame Of Action (the very first frame of the film). After the TWO MARK, we neither see nor hear anything until the FFOA.

In another version, NINE and SIX are spelled out to avoid confusion if the film is being viewed in a different orientation. The *beep* is heard on the three (3) in this version and, there is often other information provided in this format.

The Academy Leader allows anyone working with the film to keep the picture in sync with the audio, it communicates technical information about the film and reel and in combination with the TAIL MARK AND POP one can verify whether, at the end of the film everything stayed in sync or not.

If the sound and picture are synced up on the two pop in the leader, but off by 7 frames on the tail, you know you’ve got 7 frames where the audio is out of sync with the video. That’s when the detective work begins…

Check out an Academy Leaders:


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