Film-Tech Cinema Systems
Film-Tech Forum


Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | my password | register | search | faq & rules | forum home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » Digital Projection in a Drive-In Theatre (Page 1)

 
This topic comprises 3 pages: 1  2  3 
 
Author Topic: Digital Projection in a Drive-In Theatre
Randy Loy
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 156

Registered: Aug 1999


 - posted 03-27-2001 08:11 PM      Profile for Randy Loy   Email Randy Loy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Digital projection is certainly a common topic of discussion these days and it seems like you can't pick up an industry publication without seeing an article or two about "digital." However, I've never once heard of a any demonstrations of the technology in an outdoor venue. I wonder if the research and development folks that are pioneering digital projection have considered its use at drive-in theatres or in other outdoor settings like amusement parks, etc.

Putting aside for now any discussion about who's going to pay for it, I'm just curious to know if the technology is or will in the future be adaptable to large outdoor screens and still produce acceptable results. From what I've read it seems that a larger lamp is required to project a digital image than would be required for a film image for the same size screen. Add moonlight and other sources of ambient light and things become even more complicated. Can the internals of a projector using DLP technology handle the heat that would be produced by a xenon lamp that might well have to exceed 7K? Has anybody heard of any outdoor tests that have been done or that might be planned?


 |  IP: Logged

Andrew McCrea
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 645
From: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 03-27-2001 08:26 PM      Profile for Andrew McCrea   Author's Homepage   Email Andrew McCrea   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That'd be cool!!!!!

What about an IMAX drive-in?

------------------
Andrew McCrea

"I'm Not Bad, I'm Just Drawn That Way!" - Jessica Rabbit

 |  IP: Logged

John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 03-27-2001 08:41 PM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Digital Cinema theatres I have seen have been on screens less than 50 feet wide. I recall the Cinemex Mundo "E" site in Mexico City is slightly larger, as reported at a ShowEast seminar.

To light a really large low-gain screen like a drive-in, it might be possible to "gang" two or three projectors, and superimpose their images. There is also the possibility of "tileing" the images to make a larger image (sort of like 3-strip Cinerama). Of course this would mean two or three times the already very high cost.

------------------
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Worldwide Technical Services, Entertainment Imaging
Eastman Kodak Company
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7419
Rochester, New York, 14650-1922 USA
Tel: 716-477-5325 Cell: 716-781-4036 Fax: 716-722-7243
E-Mail: john.pytlak@kodak.com
Web site: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion


 |  IP: Logged

Darryl Spicer
Film God

Posts: 3250
From: Lexington, KY, USA
Registered: Dec 2000


 - posted 03-27-2001 11:46 PM      Profile for Darryl Spicer     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Until something is proven all I can say is get a shovel and dig a very deep hole because I smell death in the air.

 |  IP: Logged

Dave Bird
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 753
From: Perth, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Jun 2000


 - posted 03-28-2001 06:58 AM      Profile for Dave Bird   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Bird   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The owners of the new "Bumpers Drive-In" slated to open this year near Baltimore say they have tested and will install SOME KIND of digital projector on an 80 foot screen I think they said. The cost was apparently around $65K. ?????

 |  IP: Logged

John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 03-28-2001 07:16 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
For $65,000 they won't have much resolution, contrast or brightness on an 80-foot screen. (IMHO, the digital image will be barely visible). Lighting an 80 x 33.5 foot gain=1 matte surface screen to 12 footlamberts would require about 32,000 lumens. I don't know of any digital projector that even comes close, at many times that cost.

You could easily light that screen to 16 footlamberts with 70mm film. Even 35mm film could be lit to about 8 footlamberts on that screen, at much less cost than digital.


 |  IP: Logged

Ken Layton
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1452
From: Olympia, Wash. USA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 03-28-2001 09:02 AM      Profile for Ken Layton   Email Ken Layton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, I agree with John. Who would you possibly get any kind of decent picture, especially with a full moon shining on the screen? I hope they don't paint the screen silver.

 |  IP: Logged

Barry Floyd
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1068
From: Lebanon, Tennessee, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 03-28-2001 09:03 AM      Profile for Barry Floyd   Author's Homepage   Email Barry Floyd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Randy,
I too have wondered if such a system could work with a drive-in theatre. The more I listen to and read about digital projection systems, it "almost" makes me want to re-consider my entire drive-in project.

It's hard for me to imagine investing $300,000.00 to build my drive-in and 5 years down the road the technology changes to the point where I won't be able to project an image to the screen. If the numbers everyone's quoting are right, I would have to spend as much on the projection equipment as I would for the total cost of theatre construction and the land combined.

My goal was to open and operate the theatre for about 10-15 years, and then when "Home Depot", "Lowes", or "Kroger" comes knocking on the door, take the money and run.

John had mentioned "ganging" two or three projectors together and super-imposing their images. I've done this at the church I attend and it worked very well. We have a 40'hydraulic-lift screen that comes out of the back of the choir loft and rises some 30-35 feet above the top of the baptistry. The first time you see it, it's breath taking.

Anyway, at one time we had two "Proxima" LCD projectors that were stacked one on top of the other. We projected a "grid pattern" to the screen and then tweaked the projectors until the patterns from both projectors lined up perfectly. The only draw back was if someone in the sound booth accidently bumped the projection rack, the projected image looked alot like a really bad 3D movie without the glasses. When everything worked, the image was stunning. Our current system uses the same screen, but we have a new projector that has a footprint of about 18" x 36". It's physically much bigger than the first projectors, but it has almost twice the light output. I still haven't got used to "Christian Karaoke" in a Southern Baptist Church though!!

Dave, the Bumper's people mentioned something called "Light Valve Projection" if I remember correctly. I haven't heard anymore about the Bumper's project in several months.

------------------
Barry Floyd
Floyd Entertainment Group
Nashville, Tennessee
(Drive-In Theatre - Start-Up)

 |  IP: Logged

Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7991
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 03-28-2001 09:35 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
"Light valve" is just a big CRT. It's a 1970s-era technology, although the new ones are probably pretty decent (but not for a drive-in size screen).

I'm guessing that there would be some major lawsuits if film distributors suddenly refused product to drive-in theatres on film before the electronic projection equipment had advanced to the point where a drive-in screen could be adequately illuminated.

 |  IP: Logged

Greg Mueller
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1687
From: Port Gamble, WA
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 03-28-2001 09:45 AM      Profile for Greg Mueller   Author's Homepage   Email Greg Mueller   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
At those distances and screen sizes, the pixels would look like a herd of multicolored blimps flying by.

------------------
Greg Mueller
Amateur Astronomer, Machinist, Filmnut

 |  IP: Logged

Darryl Spicer
Film God

Posts: 3250
From: Lexington, KY, USA
Registered: Dec 2000


 - posted 03-28-2001 10:11 AM      Profile for Darryl Spicer     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
IMHO I think it will be more than ten years before you see every theater outthere with the capability of running digital movies on all of the screens.

I get that feeling just based on words thru the grapevine. Right now there are still to many unanswered questions for anyone to really want to take hold of this technology.

Those out there testing this know the system is not ready for a major invasion. Think of it this way. When cd's came out records were still on the shelves for a few years and tapes were abundent. Now you have a lot of cd's you can still find tapes and you can special order vinal records for certain titles and artists.

Not everyone out there is going to be able to afford this technology so other forms of media will still have to be available for some time to come.


 |  IP: Logged

Randy Loy
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 156

Registered: Aug 1999


 - posted 03-28-2001 10:37 AM      Profile for Randy Loy   Email Randy Loy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What really concerns me is that a total switch to digital projection while at the same time doing away with striking film prints, even though the technology isn't perfected to allow for digital projection in outdoor exhibition venues, would literally close down well over 700 drive-in screens in the U.S. alone. Not to mention the outdoor screens in Canada, Australia and a number of other countries that have drive-ins. In other words, this could kill hundreds of small businesses in the interest of trying to reduce product distribution costs.

Tack on the number of indie indoor theatres that would close because the owners can't afford to put in the new technology and a lot more screen revenue has been lost for both exhibition and distribution.

In a lot of rural areas and small towns across the country, the drive-in theatre is where a lot of America still goes to the movies. Especially during the spring and summer. In some cases indoor theatres are not close enough to be convenient so people just don't go to them. Add on the family scenerio where mom and dad don't feel that they can take the small kids to the indoor (or the indoor has a policy forbidding small kids except for certain shows), and more potential movie ticket buyers have just been convinced to wait for the film to come out on video or to not see the movie at all. I certainly hope it doesn't come to that.


 |  IP: Logged

Dave Bird
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 753
From: Perth, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Jun 2000


 - posted 03-28-2001 04:32 PM      Profile for Dave Bird   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Bird   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think that with the new plexes with these wall to wall 50 foot screens, they're going to have to make these things capable of a great picture for at least this size. Many drive-ins seem to be in the 50-60 foot range (up here anyway). Then the answer is what it should have been anyway - more screens serving smaller fields. This is a niche market that won't go away. Sure there's not 4,000 theatres now, but visit a theatre like Oakville Ontario's "5" Drive-In, now adding a 3rd screen in what's gotta be the most urban setting in the world for a DI now. They've been offered tons for it I'm told, but are completely renovating, adding a diner because a DI can be profitable too. They now hold captive the Toronto market. The place competes with a Famous plex across the road and got a fresh painting of EVERYTHING, it looks like a million bucks. They claim to fill the place every night in summer. But I'm getting off topic, upkeep, more screens and new builds where profitable conditions exist is the way to go. Build that theatre Barry, to specs that will accomodate operating with 1 DLP only per screen!!! I don't know if there's pictures of the reno, but it's a great website at www.5drivein.com .

 |  IP: Logged

Tim Sherman
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 124
From: North Ridgeville, OH, USA
Registered: Aug 2000


 - posted 03-29-2001 01:10 AM      Profile for Tim Sherman   Author's Homepage   Email Tim Sherman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So far you have been talking about small screens. What about us drive-ins with monster screens?(Yeah Randy, D and I) my
screen is 118' x 50' with a throw of 513'. If they can come out with a DLP that can do that and still keep it bright i would be very impressed. for some reason i don't think they can. But if one of the DLP manufacturers thinks that they can get it as bright and as good looking as film on my screen,they are more then welcome to come out and try. (i don't think i'll have any takers though)

------------------
"Come on out to the drive-in and spend a night out with the stars"
ME!!

 |  IP: Logged

John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 03-29-2001 09:20 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Tim:

For a 118 x 50 foot matte white gain=1 drive-in screen (5900 square feet), you would need about 30,000 watts to light it to 16 footlamberts --- even a 70mm print might have difficulty with that!

I suspect you are getting only about 4 footlamberts with 35mm film, assuming a large lamp operating somewhere near 7000 watts. Still, that is much more light (over 20,000 lumens) than any digital projector that I know of can provide.

------------------
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Worldwide Technical Services, Entertainment Imaging
Eastman Kodak Company
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7419
Rochester, New York, 14650-1922 USA
Tel: 716-477-5325 Cell: 716-781-4036 Fax: 716-722-7243
E-Mail: john.pytlak@kodak.com
Web site: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion

 |  IP: Logged



All times are Central (GMT -6:00)
This topic comprises 3 pages: 1  2  3 
 
Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic    next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:



Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.3.1.2

The Film-Tech Forums are designed for various members related to the cinema industry to express their opinions, viewpoints and testimonials on various products, services and events based upon speculation, personal knowledge and factual information through use, therefore all views represented here allow no liability upon the publishers of this web site and the owners of said views assume no liability for any ill will resulting from these postings. The posts made here are for educational as well as entertainment purposes and as such anyone viewing this portion of the website must accept these views as statements of the author of that opinion and agrees to release the authors from any and all liability.

© 1999-2018 Film-Tech Cinema Systems, LLC. All rights reserved.