Peter Davies writes~ Film had been the main source of presenting entertainment to the masses for way over a hundred years, and despite much competition from other areas of entertainment stood it’s ground. However, just as in other businesses things have to move forward. Today, the technical operation has been made fool proof at local level. There is no need for skilled technicians or engineers to operate the projection rooms. Most of the time these rooms are left empty with the lights switched off with the technical aspect of the operation being monitored by a National Operation Centre from miles away, often in another country. Movies (now technically not film), are input onto a Technical Management Server via a hard drive, or direct down load by satellite. From this server the movie is sent across to the servers on each projector. Playlists are then created on the TMS to include the film, adverts, trailers and any titles. Aspect ratio, 3D, sound format and level, lighting and time cues are some of the many things things that are programmed onto each playlists which again are feed across to the projector servers. At the moment this is handled locally, but will be done either regionally, or nationally in the not too distant future.
The operation of digital projection may seem complicated, but is very straight forward and remarkable easy to learn. Requiring basic computer experience to input content together with surface maintenance tuition taking weeks instead of years, compared with film projection equipment.
Featured photographs of the IMAX projectors & the giant TMS servers at Cineworld, Broughton, Chester.
As for the future? This has always been in the hands of the paying customer who decide where they want to view films. Cinema exhibition has battled with much competition through it’s history. Television, bingo, bowling, colour television, video recorders, dvd. Now the release dates to downloading is a major concern as this sort of competition is becoming attractive to film distributors who acknowledge that this is very lucrative. Simultaneous release to cinemas and downloading is now being trialed on low budget movies. Eventually and inevitably, this will spread to main stream movies, with the customer being in complete control of downloading or going to the cinema. The option open to modern cinema exhibitors of alternative content, such as live event presentations streamed across screens on their circuits seems to point towards a future that hopefully will remain a viable solution to the competition and progression of home cinema technology.
Today, most cinema circuits are operated by dynamic companies striving to keep movies in the environment that they are intended to be seen and that millions will continue to enjoy the cinema experience for the foreseeable future.
The Northgate Developement is underway, with a two phase building plan. The first phase will include a six screen multiplex cinema (pictured) built on the site of the present bus exchange behind the Town Hall, and next to the Storyhouse centre. It is assumed that this will be operated by one of the commercial cinema operators. With the additional two screens at the , this now promises eight cinema screens back within the city- the most ever at any one time!
With major work nearing completion on the building with the opening scheduled for spring 2017, the future is looking bright, thanks to this exciting project.
Movies will still be within the original Odeon walls thanks to a mini cinema, and a floating screen situated in the Odeon proscenium that was.
The scheme has saved the old Odeon building from certain demolition. The Odeon brand now gives way to the STORYHOUSE. An inspirational name for a cultural centre that offers theatre, music, dance, literature and movies.