Digital Cinema

Today I had my first encounter with Digital Cinema.

I ventured down to my local multiplex to see “The Bourne Ultimatum” – expecting to see a regular 35mm print, projected in the traditional way (which for my local multiplex means slightly out of focus and with a fair amount of dirt on the film) – as the advert and trailer reel passed by (still projected from the normal 35mm print – the cinemas own “ident” clips being very worn out) the first indication that something new was happening was at the start of the main feature.

Here in the UK, as most of my readers will know, a static card is displayed prior to the film, detailing it’s “rating”. As soon as this appeared, it was clear something had changed. It looked “better” than normal. The edges of the text were razor-sharp, and the whites were much “whiter” (if that makes sense).

This sharp, clear, crisp picture quality carried on right through the film – the picture was so much better than my recent experiences of 35mm projection, plus the big advantage of the system – no dirt on the print – even after being shown many times, this digital print will look as good as it did the first time.

This is clearly the future of cinema – and it needs to be if it is to compete with Hi-Definition formats in the home. Now if only they could find a way to not charge £3 for a coke (cinema managers note this – selling lots of things at a small profit is generally better than driving your customers to the supermarket on the other side of the retail park), cinema might be due a resurgence.


4 thoughts on “Digital Cinema

  1. I don’t realise how spoiled we are in London sometimes as I’ve experienced digital cinema quite a number of times now. I was chatting to another friend not too long ago who has only just discovered THX.

    I recommend trying to see Pixar movies in digital. They work really well, all the colours are bright. I’m not sure Bourne would come across as well with its rapid camerawork.

    As for not paying for the expensive coke (make that all cinema food), willpower Tom. If the expensive price isn’t a strong enough incentive to not buy it, the fact its bad for you should be, especially if you’re still dieting. Pickup a bottle of water on the way in and drink that. It might not taste that good but it’s better for you.

  2. Oh, I don’t *buy* cinema food (I’m not stupid!), a bottle of water (or a diet soft drink) gets bought at said supermarket…

    I love the way the cinema keeping mailing me vouchers for “£1 off if I buy a popcorn and small drink” (total is still around £6) as they’ve obviously realised that people like me who have their “Unlimited Cinema” card are intelligent enough not to buy food at the theatre at the normal prices (given that we probably see enough films for the card to pay for itself, we’re fairly cost concious types…)

    So they put up signs at the entrance to the screen saying “No food or drink not purchased at this cinema beyond this point” at the entrance to the screens!

    As yet, there’s no publicity about Digital cinema down here – the “front of house” staff at the cinema I spoke to after the presentation didn’t even know how many screens had the equipment (I have my suspicions it may just be the one at the moment)

  3. Digital cinema’s all very nice and what not, but I’m not looking forward to the day (regrettably probably not many years away) when proper *film* gets binned. There’s something special about film grain, and call me weird but what will there be to entertain us through a boring movie if there’s no dust to watch gradually crawling up the screen?

  4. James, I think that day is a long way off – many smaller cinemas (i.e. non-chain ones) simply won’t be able to afford the equipment – for example, the Curzon in Clevedon (nr Bristol) only got multi-channel sound a few years ago…
    Apparently, I was wrong about the Curzon – it now has a DLP projector – one of only 31 independent cinemas in the UK to have this equipment installed.

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