An act in a film is a single roll of film, usually part of a movie. The term comes from the theater, where an act comprises a self-contained section of the plot. As a rule, a cinematic act is about 600 meters long, which corresponds to about 18 minutes running time (at 24 frames / sec) and thus shorter than an act in the theater, which can last an hour or more.
History: From dramaturgical to technical reasons
The appearance of the multi-act took about 10 years from 1912 to 1922. The development of the cinema projector itself, the electrification and the transition from the shop cinema to the larger movie theater took place during this period . At that time, the files were divided in such a way that a dramaturgical structure of the film resulted. With the non-stop film showing in cross-fade mode with two projectors and later also by cross-country skiing facilities , this original meaning of the nudes division became largely obsolete. Vsevolod Pudovkin , however, still advocated a dramaturgical breakdown of the film into film acts of around 20 minutes in length in 1929. A large part of the film production (for example by Disney or with the actors Laurel and Hardy ) consisted of one-act plays until the 1930s.
The length of the act had technical motives: in the case of the carbon arc lamps of the film projectors, the burnt-out electrodes had to be exchanged for new ones after a significantly shorter time than the running time of a complete feature film ; in addition, the film roll made of the celluloid film that was customary at the time posed a strong fire hazard with increasing size. The previously usual length of a maximum of 610 meters or 2000 feet (22 minutes running time for normal film ) was therefore retained . In the meantime, there have been little successful efforts in Germany to switch the dispatch of film copies to files of 1,200 or 1,800 meters in length. In some other countries, however, this has become a standard.
Present: division without interruption
Even today, nudes are usually divided in such a way that there is always a change of scene in the picture and, if possible, no continuous loud noise or music can be found in the sound at the nudes transition, since when coupling ( sticking together) and decoupling (see cross-fading (film projection) ) of security film as well improper handling of polyester film can result in loss of images . This ensures that the transition between the nudes can take place without a clearly recognizable interruption in the flow of images and sound.
It can happen that the nudes of a feature film are significantly shorter than the maximum length of approx. 20 minutes; for example, the premiere copies of the film Ben Hur consisted of 16 nudes, which means an average nudal length of just over 13 minutes. If a feature film is to be shown with a break, it is also placed at the transition between two acts, where the show can be most easily interrupted, for example by inserting a break title.
Start and end tape
Each act begins with a starting tape and ends with an ending tape . On the one hand, these have the task of protecting the film roll during transport against mechanical damage from the outside, but on the other hand, they also enable the individual files to be inserted into the projector in cross-fading mode, so that the file can be played back from the first image. For the presentation with cross-country skiing facilities, the film is coupled, i. H. the files are glued together to enable a non-stop run. Normally the start and end tapes are cut off from the act and the file is linked “picture to picture”. The start and end tapes should, however, be glued on again or enclosed after decoupling in order to enable a performance by act at a later point in time. For a long time, different colored aliases were used on the start tape to mark the files , which were often missing later for reasons of economy .
- ^ Vsevolod I. Pudowkin: About film technology , Zurich: Arche 1961, p. 40.