Fade Out for Projectionists

So I’m at a wedding party and I’m talking to a movie theater projectionist about the trade. There is no trade he tells me. As more theaters have invested in digital projection technologies, the notion of a journeyman projectionist who knows how to cut film, load platters and thread the great heaving apparata that make the pictures move, is going the way of the zoetrope. Apparently, these days, distributors send theater managers a data cube ? a sort of flash drive ? loaded with the film and its constituent data? and a password. According to the projectionist, some kid then puts the cube in the machine, inputs the code, and then pushes play. Apparently, the cube is just a patch before they get the satellite distribution model worked out and the cube and the kid are cut out of the equation. And the whole thing is password protected to prevent hi-tech piracy, you know, by the kid.

CinemaWest, the local theatrical exhibitor of films and related content has outfitted many of its holdings throughout the Bay Area with digital projection, including Boulevard Cinemas in Petaluma, CA. On August 20, Delirium, a Cirque de Soleil prerecorded live music concert with all the acrobatics and contortions of the human form we ‘ve come to expect from the franchise, opened at the cinemas. The Circque performance is being distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing, which is also presenting upcoming Broadway performance of Rent in the same format. Didn’t we just see rent as a major motion picture on local screens last year? Yes. But we can also listen to This American Life on the radio, or watch the TV series on Showtime ? and that didn’t stop a successful one night run of This American Life Live, in which host Ira Glass was beamed by satellite to theaters nationwide. As Alana, a Facebook commentor opined ?Being in the theater last night with all those other people who love the show as much as I do was like being ?home.?? Now, Alana, might be a corporate shill, but I suspect that many might feel the same. Could this be the future of on-screen entertainment? I’m curious to find out. Delirium might not have a delirious business model after all.? Tickets are available at Sony’s site thehotticket.net, and lest I become their shill, considering its slogan, which suggests ?If you can’t be there, be here.?

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