Have you noticed anything different about your moviewatching experience at a/perture in the last few weeks? No, the seats did not get even more comfortable, nor did the food did not get even more delicious. I’ll give you a cryptic hint: it’s something you see but don’t see.
Tantalized? Confused? Ok, fine, here’s what I’m talking about:
Ain’t she something?! Welcome the newest member of the a/perture family, the digital projector!
If you follow film culture, you might have heard some groans from the industry and die-hard cinephiles about the transition from film to digital. If you don’t, I can boil it down for you pretty simply. Rather than having literal reels of film as the source of your image, it is being replaced by a digital file on a computer.
Mainly, the grumbling comes from the nostalgic. They have an emotional attachment to a celluloid image and love it even though it deteriorates over time. In a way, going to digital is like giving up your first car. It may be a little battered and bruised; it’s care-worn with age. But even when you are upgrading to a brand new car, it’s hard not to think about how much you will miss the beat-up old thing. After all, it’s the only thing you know.
But if 2011 in movies taught us anything, it’s that the history of the world (and especially film) is not written by those whose gaze is fixed firmly in the past. Nostalgia is a nice fantasy, but we have to live in the real world. And whether we like it or not, the future of cinema is digital.
And even though it’s scary to abandon one technology and explore brave new worlds with a new one, we have to count on innovations to move us forward. Remember, George Valentin did laugh off the advent of the talkies in The Artist … and we saw how well that worked out for him.
So I’m going to put on my Peppy Miller hat and tell you what you have to look forward to in the future from a/perture cinema and our brand spanking new DLP projectors. The movies you see will now be clearer, sharper, and brighter. You will get to see them in a range of over 35 trillion colors. (Yes, that’s trillion with a t.) These projectors are foremost in reliability and really guarantee that you are seeing the film as the production team wanted you to see it.
But don’t take my word for it. I talked to Dr. Mary Dalton, a professor of Communication and Film Studies at Wake Forest, with the intent of getting an opinion that perhaps was not at either extreme. And even she said, “I couldn’t think of a disadvantage […] although it could limit your access to older titles.”
She then went on to say,
“A print is always new. It’s as new the first day of a run as the last day, and that is really significant because the sound quality and picture quality are always going to be high. You’re not going to have pops, and you’re not going to have dirt. Overall, it makes for a more consistent and high-level viewing experience.
Most prints that you used to get in cinema were fourth generation from the negative. So when you’re working with digital, you’re only looking at a second generation. Also, you don’t have any change-over reels.
Overall, I think it’s exciting. I think it’s a win for audiences and I think a win for a/perture in the long run.”
So if you haven’t stopped by to see the new amazing picture quality, come experience the new perks of being at a/perture! (I’ll spare you another pun on one of our titles.)