Digital Cinema Conversion 
At the close of our 2012 season, we retired our trusted 35mm film projectors and began converting to the new digital cinema standard.  Watch our progress here!
At the close of our 2012 season, we retired our trusted 35mm film projectors and began converting to the new digital cinema standard. Watch our progress here!

During the last months of 2012, all 3 of our projection systems were disassembled.  Projectors, soundheads, Xenon lamphouses, bases, exhaust fans and all film-related electronics were removed for storage, at least for the short term.
During the last months of 2012, all 3 of our projection systems were disassembled. Projectors, soundheads, Xenon lamphouses, bases, exhaust fans and all film-related electronics were removed for storage, at least for the short term.

Sadly, our projectors, state of the art even recently, are now completely obsolete.  Someday, we may set one of them back up as a working display.  Otherwise, there is no market for used equipment of this type.  This is because eventually, there will be no film left to play on them.
Sadly, our projectors, state of the art even recently, are now completely obsolete. Someday, we may set one of them back up as a working display. Otherwise, there is no market for used equipment of this type. This is because eventually, there will be no film left to play on them.

Our FM stereo sound system will remain. Several years ago, we upgraded the equipment so we could play the movies' digital sound tracks. That part of our system is compatible with the new digital gear, and will remain. As you can see, our sound equipment is all very modern.
Our FM stereo sound system will remain. Several years ago, we upgraded the equipment so we could play the movies' digital sound tracks. That part of our system is compatible with the new digital gear, and will remain. As you can see, our sound equipment is all very modern.

Until just a few years ago, all theatres presented their movies on 35mm film.  The way film has been handled in the booth has changed a lot, but not the medium itself.  Most recently, our movies arrived in 50-65 lb boxes, averaging 6 reels per movie.  This picture shows one of the longest double features we ever ran.  Bourne Legacy and Dark Knight.  16 reels plus previews.
Until just a few years ago, all theatres presented their movies on 35mm film. The way film has been handled in the booth has changed a lot, but not the medium itself. Most recently, our movies arrived in 50-65 lb boxes, averaging 6 reels per movie. This picture shows one of the longest double features we ever ran. Bourne Legacy and Dark Knight. 16 reels plus previews.

This is how movies arrive at digital theatres.  Instead of splicing all those reels of film together, and breaking them back down at the end of the run, we'll download the contents of a couple of these hard drives into our own servers.  The show will be built on a touchscreen as a 'playlist', much as you might do with an iPod.  This whole package weighs about 6 pounds.  My back is happier already!
This is how movies arrive at digital theatres. Instead of splicing all those reels of film together, and breaking them back down at the end of the run, we'll download the contents of a couple of these hard drives into our own servers. The show will be built on a touchscreen as a 'playlist', much as you might do with an iPod. This whole package weighs about 6 pounds. My back is happier already!

After accepting the bid for our new equipment (and writing a very big check), our next official project was to install two commercial air conditioners in the projection booth.
After accepting the bid for our new equipment (and writing a very big check), our next official project was to install two commercial air conditioners in the projection booth.

Digital projectors can not tolerate the dust that gets kicked up from cars moving around the drive-in.  Unlike our film projectors, which had the heat from their 7,000 watt xenon bulbs removed by exhausting to the outside, the new machines will put their heat directly into the booth.  The air conditioners will then remove it, thus helping to keep the room dust-free.
Digital projectors can not tolerate the dust that gets kicked up from cars moving around the drive-in. Unlike our film projectors, which had the heat from their 7,000 watt xenon bulbs removed by exhausting to the outside, the new machines will put their heat directly into the booth. The air conditioners will then remove it, thus helping to keep the room dust-free.

The new air conditioners are the rectangular boxes you see on the wall.  The old AC/heater will remain as a standby.
The new air conditioners are the rectangular boxes you see on the wall. The old AC/heater will remain as a standby.

So begins the process of removing 34 years of history in this building and a way of operating at the Rodeo for some 63 years.  In 1949 it took two projectors, carbon arc lamps and a full-time projectionist to present a movie on one screen.  The sound was fed through tube-type amplifiers to individual window speakers for each car.  In a way, this is just another technical progression, but a big one for us.
So begins the process of removing 34 years of history in this building and a way of operating at the Rodeo for some 63 years. In 1949 it took two projectors, carbon arc lamps and a full-time projectionist to present a movie on one screen. The sound was fed through tube-type amplifiers to individual window speakers for each car. In a way, this is just another technical progression, but a big one for us.

The lamphouse comes off, revealing the base, on which everything is bolted.  Two of our three bases were installed here when the drive-is was first built.
The lamphouse comes off, revealing the base, on which everything is bolted. Two of our three bases were installed here when the drive-is was first built.

A movie projector is a lot like your component stereo set.  A lot of separate pieces come together to make the whole machine.  Here, Cheryl is removing guide rollers and failsafe electronics, so we can unbolt the optical sound head... one of the few machines in the booth that's nearly as old as the drive-in itself.
A movie projector is a lot like your component stereo set. A lot of separate pieces come together to make the whole machine. Here, Cheryl is removing guide rollers and failsafe electronics, so we can unbolt the optical sound head... one of the few machines in the booth that's nearly as old as the drive-in itself.

Removing a lamphouse power supply... state-of-the-art until the day the industry chose digital as the new standard.  Now, some very good equipment is completely obsolete.
Removing a lamphouse power supply... state-of-the-art until the day the industry chose digital as the new standard. Now, some very good equipment is completely obsolete.

Disassembling the film transports.
Disassembling the film transports.


"Vintage" technology, making way for the new stuff!

Over about a week, some 12 separate deliveries arrived... boxes, crates and pallets full of goodies!
Over about a week, some 12 separate deliveries arrived... boxes, crates and pallets full of goodies!

Two of our new projectors, plus boxes of support equipment lined the counters downstairs.
Two of our new projectors, plus boxes of support equipment lined the counters downstairs.

Meanwhile, we pulled up the old carpet and made the booth ready for new flooring.
Meanwhile, we pulled up the old carpet and made the booth ready for new flooring.




On Friday, 12-7-12, a forklift & pallet jack arrived.  No way are we hauling all that equipiment up & down the stairs!
On Friday, 12-7-12, a forklift & pallet jack arrived. No way are we hauling all that equipiment up & down the stairs!

We removed the top part of the railing, to make way for the forklift.
We removed the top part of the railing, to make way for the forklift.

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