Letting Go of the Past: Theater Looks to Future

THREADED+AND+READY+TO+GO+%0AThe+old+projector+at+Falls+Cinema+1+%26+2+Projects+%22The+Hunger+Games%3A+Catching+Fire.%22+The+projector+is+very+tedious+to+thread+up+as+junior+and+employee+Dusty+Shankey+explained.+%E2%80%9CThe+movie+comes+on+a+platter+that+is+woven+through+a+very+challenging+and+precise+projector+system.+Each+employee+has+to+thread+up+the+film+before+each+showing.+It+is+very+old+school.%E2%80%9D%0A

THREADED AND READY TO GO The old projector at Falls Cinema 1 & 2 Projects “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” The projector is very tedious to thread up as junior and employee Dusty Shankey explained. “The movie comes on a platter that is woven through a very challenging and precise projector system. Each employee has to thread up the film before each showing. It is very old school.”

The old projector at Falls Cinema 1 & 2 Projects "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." The projector is very tedious to thread up as junior and employee Dusty Shankey explained. “The movie comes on a platter that is woven through a very challenging and precise projector system. Each employee has to thread up the film before each showing. It is very old school.”
The old projector at Falls Cinema 1 & 2 Projects “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” The projector is very tedious to thread up as junior and employee Dusty Shankey explained. “The movie comes on a platter that is woven through a very challenging and precise projector system. Each employee has to thread up the film before each showing. It is very old school.”

Of the almost 40,000 movie screens in the US, only 4,000 project using old fashioned film according to the National Association of Theater Owners. The Falls Cinema 1 & 2 is one of the remaining theaters that has not made the switch to digital movie projection and has stayed with the old ways.

“35mm film has been used since the beginning of silent movies and it has been that way for probably around 100 years,” said owner Mike Radue. “The movie comes in the form of film with small frames. The projector will go through eight frames per second, and that is why the films are so large.”

Using this very old technique does present many disadvantages. One disadvantage is that by the end of December, film will be very difficult to get as it will be more expensive.

“Another disadvantage is that because the film is plastic and it is passing over a 2500 watt bulb, it will often distort from the heat and can be damaged. Quite often films will change a lot from the first time you play them to the last,” said Radue.

Because of the lack of availability of film and the film often being damaged, Radue decided that he wants to make a switch to digital.

“With digital projection, the film will come as a downloadable disc,” said Radue. “There will be a new projector with a laptop attached to the back. All we will have to do is press play and it will start. We will no longer have to go through the difficult process of threading the film into the projector.”

Digital projection has many advantages over the old way of projection. Radue feels that these advantages are worth switching for.

“The main advantages to digital projection is that the movie is clearer and will not distort over time,” said Radue. “It will also be easier for me to get movies with digital. Before, with film, I would have to send in a request to the film company and then they may or may not give me the movie because it costs $2,000 to make the film. With digital, it only costs $200 dollars to make the disc so they will be more willing to give out the movie.”

Digital projection does come at a rather high price though because of the many advantages like quality and durability.

“To upgrade to a digital system, it will be about $50,000 to upgrade one theater,” said Radue. “We have two theaters so it would cost about $100,000 dollars to upgrade both the theaters. When I bought the theater eight years ago I paid $135,000 for the entire building.”

Moviegoer Gary Garvin is excited for the switch to digital. Gary enjoys going to the movies as often as he can.

“I have always found the way that movies are projected to be interesting,” said Garvin. “So I am looking forward to seeing how the movies played through the new system will work.”

The employees of the cinema can’t wait for the upgrade. Many of the employees have been wanting the new system for a long time.

“Using film to project the movies is a pain,” said employee Dusty Shankey. “The film is constantly getting warped and sometimes our old projector won’t even work. Until we upgrade to digital, I guess we are still stuck in the early 1900’s.”

Manager of the Falls Cinema 1 & 2 Theresa Theisen is looking forward to digital. Theisen oversees the cinema and makes sure everything runs smoothly.

“With digital, we will be getting rid of the film that we used to use to project movies. This will get rid of the problems we have with film like tangling of tearing and will hopefully cut back on almost all issues we have with film,” said Theisen.

The Cinema wants to upgrade to digital as soon as they can. Owner Mike Radue is working to finance the upgrade but until he does, the Cinema will still be staying with film.