Historic Drive-in Theatre Goes Digital

Posted at 11:42 PM, Jun 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-07 13:23:36-04

After 65 years in the business, Getty 4 Drive-in Theatre is getting an upgrade.

Four digital projectors are trading places with the old 35 millimeter projectors that were in play since the 60s.

Staff spent the week installing the new projectors. There are four. Three are up and running. The fourth projector will be fully installed Friday.

“If you`re going to survive in the theatre world now, this is it… digital projection,” Kevin Sims, the theatre’s general manager pointed out.

Sims said the old projectors are now headed to scrap yard heaven.

“It was sad to see the 35 mm projectors go but once you see the quality of the film, the clarity, the brightness, it is unbelievable,” Sims said.

The film used to play on reels. Sims said the quality on a film strip sometimes produce an image that’s inconsistent and sometimes darker around the edges.

Now the films are downloaded off of hard drives which are encrypted and protected from piracy.

“I know there`s around 400 drive in theatres in the United States, and I`m thinking there`s only going to be 25% that are going to go to digital because they don`t have assets to purchase projectors,” Sims explained.

Celebration Cinema, which owns the drive-in, said the upgrade runs about $250,000. The technology will save them money in the long run.

“So I mean you`re saving in shipping, distribution and the actual creation of the film,” Sims said.

It’s cost savings that’s ultimately aimed at enhancing the fan experience.

Jack Flowers is one of those fans. He’s worked here back in the 60s when there was only one screen.

“They’re putting money in. Now they’ve got four screen, and I just think it’s a big plus for the community and the neighborhood,” Flowers said.

The Getty 4 Drive-in Theatre plays movies seven nights a week.