How Digital Projection Can Kill the Independent Cinema

January 28, 2013

As much as I love my home theater, there’s still a special place in my heart for the local movie house. In the Hub, I enjoy going to both the Somerville Theater and Kendall Square Cinemas to see independent films. This past Sunday’s Boston Globe details how the move to digital projection is threatening the viability of community movie theaters. Studios are planning to phase out traditional 35mm film prints over the next couple of years. The article details the advantages of digital projection such as cost savings for the studios and improvements in quality  For quality, digital can handle higher frame rates and 3D but some folks would say that film has its advantages (video) just as vinyl does over CDs.  On the flip side, the high cost of the digital projectors has created a financial hardship for many independent cinemas. As a teenager, I worked as a movie theater usher and always dreaded carrying the heavy film canisters up to the projection booth (seeing all the cool equipment always made the trip worth it). While the studios will offer to subsidize the cost, it often results in the studios controlling what and when content can be shown at the theater. My other take away from the article is that the transition to digital will require a different skill set from projectionists. Thankfully, many movie houses are keeping at least one traditional projector around to show old prints. Finally, if you care about your local movie house, follow the link above and find out how you can help save your local cinema.

Somerville Theater
Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA

One Response to How Digital Projection Can Kill the Independent Cinema

  1. Richard Lawler on January 29, 2013 at 8:53 am

    The Boston Globe’s been spreading FUD about digital projection for a while now though. Last year it was the DARKNESS SCAM OMG MOVIES AREN’T BRIGHT ENOUGH AND IT’S ALL DIGITAL PROJECTOR’S FAULT.

    turned out it happens all the time, and not just on digital projectors

    there’s truth to the fact that the move to digital has drawbacks, but that’s what usually happens with new technology, it’s life.

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