Pre-print element refers to any film element created during the production of a film. As the name implies, it refers to all film elements except the final exhibition copy. Outside of the confines of a production facility or lab, pre-print elements are not intended for projection. They should never be handled or projected in a exhibition setting. Projecting pre-print elements would yield an aesthetically incomplete and incomprehensible presentation, and amount to an unacceptable risk to irreplaceable elements.
Pre-element elements include, but are not limited to:
- The original camera negative (OCN)
- The fine grain master (FGM) or interpositive
- The duplicate negative or internegative
- The optical soundtrack negative
- The master magnetic track
- Trims and outtakes
If you encounter any of the above elements, please alert an archivist. Do not project them.
A reversal original is a pre-print element that can easily be confused for a projection print. Some reversal originals, such as home movies, were often treated as projection prints, though archival best practice would dictate that they be duplicated or digitized before projection.