AB-reel

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Term for a 23-minute or 2,050’ maximum reel of film specially made for theater screening. The AB-reel may originally have been made from two 1,000’ edit reels; “Projection reel 1AB” would have been originally been reel #1 and reel #2 during editing and mixing. (In the event that the total footage of the first three editing/mixing reels added up to less than 2,050’, there may be a projection reel “1ABC,” but this is rare.) It is becoming more commonplace to edit films in AB reel format as the magnetic film units are gradually replaced with DAWs. AB-reels are also known as “big reels” or “2,000-foot reels.” AB-reels are not the same as A/B-rolls, in which the camera negative is checkerboarded into two strands, allowing for simple optical effects such as fades and dissolves to be made when making original-negative prints (see EK Negative) called interpositives. This latter process is not limited to two (A, B) rolls, but can involve as many rolls of film as desired, e.g., a camera negative cut in four strands would have a “D-roll.”

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