By Lauren Cox
Sophomore, English major, Spanish minor
What do you think about when you go to a movie? The story, the acting, the editing? For most of us, it probably isn’t if the film is being projected using 35mm projection or digital projection.
Go digital or go dark: that was the ultimatum that the Hippodrome Theater gave its patrons this past July. Starting in 2014, movie studios throughout the country will discontinue the production of 35mm prints, which is the Hipp’s current method of film presentation. According to Variety magazine, 90% of the screens worldwide will be digital by the end of 2013.
Therefore, the Hipp took action and setup a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the necessary transition from film projection to that of a Digital Cinema Package (DCP). Basically, the conversion to digital will provide audiences with an enhanced viewing experience by providing clearer and crisper images and audio. The entire DCP package, which includes the lens, projector, server, and digital sound amplifier, will cost about $40,000. The Hipp procured $25,000 worth of funds through a grant, but launched the Kickstarter campaign to raise another $15,000 toward the conversion.
The Kickstarter campaign ended on September 20th, and the grand total raised was $16,957.
“The Hipp Cinema is entering its 32nd year as Gainesville’s finest forum for independent film dedicated to presenting the best of independent, documentary, and world cinema; promoting visual literacy; and making film a vibrant part of the community,” said Alisha Kinman, Hippodrome Cinema director. “We are so excited to upgrade our equipment and remodel the Hipp Cinema with our Kickstarter funds, and we would like to thank everyone who donated to our campaign.”
How will this industry-wide conversion from film to digital really change the viewing experience? In the documentary film Side By Side, which takes up the question of the transition from film to digital at length, director Martin Scorsese states that “the real auteur of a film is the projectionist.” In reality, the projectionist does have the final say in how the audience sees a movie, so how will this switch to a homogeneous method of projection change what the audience sees? Sure, the more uniform style of projection will typically be an advantage for the viewer, but a skilled film projectionist can improve a film’s impact by adjusting the film to the optimum viewing experience for that particular theater.
Anthony Delletiglie, a sophomore mathematics major, said, “I am disappointed to see the end of 35mm projection, but I’m looking forward to the new offerings at The Hipp.”
Whether the film is projected in 35mm or digital, there is a certain magic that comes from sitting in a darkened theater and enjoying a great film. As the world converts from analog to digital, the film industry, too, must follow suit.