Digital Cinema and You
Pretty soon, the theater landscape as we know it will be changing dramatically. Gone will be those pesky cigarette burns and color shifting in between reels. Even if you see a film a month after it came out, you’ll still be looking at a pristine print. But what price will we be paying for this new revolution? How will digital cinema change the layout of what we know as a movie theater?
New cinemas are already trying to attract people looking for all types of entertainment. 18 screens just isn’t enough anymore. Now, you have to have a cafe, a bowling alley, as well as be in close proximity to restaurants. Digital cinema will take that one step further.
You know those events you read about with the opera performances and live concerts being projected in movie theaters. Well, there’s going to be a lot more of that. Digital projectors have been around for years but what’s really going to turn things upside down is digital distribution. Once a variety of features is just a click away, a lot more screens will be used to show programming outside of standard films. Will the idea of a theater maintain its luster or will cinemas just become collections of big rooms with lots of seats where you find product available elsewhere?
The pre-show advertisements…yeah, don’t expect them to go anywhere either. One of the reasons more and more screens are going digital across the globe is the ability it will give theater operators the opportunity to put their entire presentations under one system. Companies like Access Integrated Technologies Inc. (“AccessIT”) are making the shift more attractive of a venture by providing software that covers everything from the satellite distribution to the showing of the program and its ads. With one integrated system and the chance to have even more program options, this seems like a win-win from the theaters' standpoint.
With so many complaints though that the theater business is increasingly moving away from customer service to save money, how can this be a step in the right direction? With the days of the usher pretty much gone, are the days of the projectionist soon to be a thing of the past as well? With so much automation getting into the mix, it’s hard to believe a number of jobs won’t be lost from the switchover. Something is bound to be lost in the presentation as well. Sure, on the average day the superior projection will lead to a better show. However, like the problems that arise with hybrid cars now, repairs will most definitely be more complicated and at least in the early years of the technology, much more difficult to grasp.
Only time will tell the impact of digital cinema. For now, there seem to be a bunch of question marks. While the pros are obvious for aesthetic reasons, the cons could significantly hurt the overall moviegoing experience of the future.
(Thanks to bent karma for providing the photo.)
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