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See the Stars with a Vintage Keystone Movie Projector

Movie technology has come a long way, and even in the age of digital recordings, some people are still looking for vintage equipment related to cinema and film. Keystone is a company that used to make movie projectors. The business was based in Boston, Massachusetts, and may of its film projectors date back to the early 1900s.

What are some of the basic principles behind movie projectors?

Movies are often referred to as motion pictures. This name is appropriate since a movie is a series of pictures that are strung together to give the appearance of motion. Researchers discovered that if you show different images at a rate of at least 16 frames per second, the human brain will perceive them to be showing continuous motion. The faster a reel can be shown, the smoother the images will be. Some of the earliest pieces of cinema were shown on film projectors that were hand-cranked. As electric motors became more prevalent, they were adapted to be used in vintage film projectors as well.

Projectors need a source of light in order to show a movie on a screen. Incandescent lights, limelight, and carbon arc amps were all used in the early years of the cinema industry. A shutter was an integral part of making the pictures seem like they were moving. As each frame on a reel would be switched to the next one, a shutter would close so that the viewer would not see that clunky transition. Instead, the brain would recognize one image and then the next as a smooth continuous motion.

What is the type of film that vintage projectors used?

Many vintage film projectors used 8mm film. The eight indicates that the strip was 8 millimeters wide. This product was developed during the Great Depression and made available to the public starting in 1932. Other projectors used 16mm film. Twice as wide as the 8mm type, it was commonly used for shorter movies and educational products. Many of the early amateur filmmakers used 16mm film in their cameras. This type of product was launched in 1923.

What are some of the Keystone models that are available?
  • Regal K-109 8mm
  • Commander K-68 8mm
  • Vintage Model K-108 8mm
  • Model K-160 16mm
What are some considerations to remember when purchasing a projector?

You can look to see whether a product comes with a case. A case can make for simpler transport, protecting all of the internal components. Read the details regarding a product to see what type of lamp it uses to illuminate the reel. Some bulbs may be more convenient to find than others.

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