If you were wondering why the Golden Cinema was closed last week, you might be delightfully surprised with the answer: they’ve gone digital.
This is the biggest change the cinema has experienced since it was rebuilt 20 years ago.
Last Tuesday, April 26th, was the last screening on a 35 mm film. Later in the week, Stuart Angus, co-owner of the Golden Cinema moved the old projector to the side to make room for the new digital one. The Golden Cinema is one of the only theatres in the region to have taken the pricey, but, according to Angus, well worth it leap in technology.
Only about a quarter of theatres in Canada have made the transition.
“With the 35 millimeter film, we were really restricted by the bus schedule, and road closures were a nightmare,” said Angus, explaining that the cinema only had to close their doors a few times this winter because of nasty weather, and that’s considered a “good year.”
Now, the cinema will still receive a hard drive on the bus, but all they have to do is download it once to the server, and tada — the film is stored for a week. The cinema can then send the hard drive to the next theatre at their leisure.
“Theatres are in a transitional phase right now, and we don’t want to be the last ones to go through the changes,” said Angus. “As time goes on it’s getting increasingly difficult to get a hold of films. Printing and developing films is fantastically expensive, and there’s a huge warehouse in Calgary full of old films.”
Digital, on the other, hand, explained Angus, gives the cinema so much more flexibility. They can play any DVD, which is helpful when the cinema has a private booking. Come fall, Angus is also planning on screening live events. Nothing is set in stone yet, but Angus hopes to screen events like the New York Metropolitan Opera.
“The Salmar Theatre (cinema in Salmon Arm) played the Olympic Gold Medal hockey match and had a packed house. Apparently it was quite incredible.”
As for quality, Angus explained that it’s hard to even compare the two.
“The quality of the image is superior to before,” said Angus. “It’s quite breathtaking.”
The cinema also tore down their screen and installed a silver screen, which allows them to show 3-D movies.
Although the Golden Cinema has put a good chunk of money into the upgrades, admission prices will not increase. 3D movies, though, will be $2.50 extra. The Golden Cinema should be open again this or next week for the first screenings on it’s digital projector.