Has your cinema gone digital? Or are they holding out against the digital takeover?
Film projectionists are becoming more and more rare. These days you’re more likely to find a computer in the projection room rather than a bearded-bloke spooling a 35mm print and monitoring his work through a small hole in the cinema’s wall.
But can we expect traditional projectionists to die-out altogether?
Cinemas have been pretty slow to catch-up with the digital revolution. In 2009, there were just 650 digital screens in the UK. By 2010, that number had rocketed to 1,400, and these days, two-thirds of cinemas have digital projectors. This change has partly been fueled by the rise in 3D features – which can’t be projected using old equipment, and partly fueled by economics – it takes less manpower to screen a film digitally.
Clearly, directors can choose to shoot their movie on film and have it printed digitally. Stephen Spielberg is very much an analogue advocate, while James Cameron is in the opposite corner.
But what about our traditional projectionist? Will he soon be extinct? Well, probably not. The loss of quality when transferring a film-shot movie to digital is too much for some. Quentin Tarantino, for example, asked that his 2009 film Inglourious Basterds only be projected from film prints.