My last experience with a film strip was probably 6th grade, but offhand, yes, I think you're looking at a much less powerful bulb intended for projection in a 20-foot-square classroom, not down 200 feet of auditorium onto a 25-foot-tall screen. It may also help that the image is up there continuously, unlike a movie frame which merely interrupts blackness for an instant.
We should respect the other fellow's religion, but only to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is attractive and his children intelligent. —H.L. Mencken
Actually the simpler answer is that filmstrips were printed on a very stable SAFETY film, and as was already mentioned, the bulbs were usually 300 watts or less and heat filters were used in the projector.
In the pre-1951 days of NITRATE film, there was a serious danger of fire if the film not only lingered in front of the hot light source but jammed in the projector or touched the hot lamphouse.
Since the universal adoption of SAFETY film in the early 1950s, film will just melt if exposed to excess heat or flame.
The bulb for a 35mm movie projector has to be much brighter because there's a shutter blocking off the twice per frame (1/24 sec.) That means you're losing 50% of your light just as a start. You're also farther away from the screen, and light transmission falls off by an inverse square: 2 as far away = 1/4 of the light transmission.
The optics also make a difference. On a modern projector, your aperture is smaller than a filmstrip's. That loses you light too...
The simple non-detailed answer is: The filmstrip projector is DESIGNED to show non-moving film, so of course it's not going to melt the film.
As already mentioned, this is accomplished by heat filter glass and lower wattage lamp.
If you used these on a motion picture projector, the image would be too dark. The shutter is a big reason. I'm not so sure about the aperture making a big difference (I think a filmstrip frame is identical to a full-frame, i.e., silent-era motion picture frame).
As for safety film versus nitrate: There is no 16mm nitrate film, and that is the gauge that was used most in schools. Even when schools used 35mm film (like before 16mm was introduced in 1923), it was mostly safety film.
All filmstrips would have been safety base, I have to imagine, but this is just my common-sense guess.
Last edited by Jay Schwartz on Tue Dec 27, 2011 1:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
I have some industrial film strips, and they are full-frame silent. Of the ones I have, a few are nitrate (I tested them all) but most are safety. They date from just after WWII to the late '40s. My guess is whoever did the printing used what printing material they had available. The ones I have weren't meant for a school, but were for instruction on machinery use, and came with records and printed material also. The negatives they were printed from were certainly nitrate, the codes are readable.
A projectionist from the days of nitrate told me that of the two nitrate fires he had, one was because he threaded up before letting the film trap cool down (you were supposed to give it a couple minutes). Even after the light source was removed, the metal was too hot for the film to just sit there without moving.
On the 35mm Simplex projectors I use the gate is too hot to handle for a little while after you kill the lamp, so I consider this plausible.