While a film is fairly useless without a projector, a bad projector is unacceptable if you want a long life for your film. In general, projecting a film carelessly is one of the worst things you can do to a film. Bent or damaged take-up reels or projector spindles can cause edge damage that can weaken or break a piece of film. Oil on projector parts can contaminate the surface of the film. If film becomes stuck in the gate it is subject to the intense heat of the bulb, frequently resulting in a blistered or burnt frame. Perhaps the most obvious and aggravating types of damage done to film during projection are scratches and abrasions.

Make a loop of black leader to run through your home projector before each use. Run it for a few minutes and then check it for any scratches. Do not run your film on a machine which scratches! A scratch on the base side of your film won't show up if you have it copied in a diffused light or liquid gate printer, but an emulsion side scratch removes the picture information forever. In either case, the film in hand, once scratched, is scratched forever. Make sure your equipment is clean!!

Always inspect the film before you project it. Do not attempt to project the print unless you have determined that it is in good enough condition to run through a projector without being damaged. The film must not be too shrunken to run smoothly through the projector's sprockets, and must be clean and free from tears and improper splices.

Toni Treadway's guide to restoring equipment

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