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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » Wisconsin drive-in goes digital (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Wisconsin drive-in goes digital
Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12445
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 05-07-2011 11:17 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Highway 18 Drive-in in Jefferson, Wisconsin gets a digital upgrade
Video here.

What's old is new again in Jefferson. The Highway 18 Outdoor Theatre has the same 80-foot screen. But it's owner says the venue now holds the distinction of being the only outdoor theater east of the Mississippi River with a digital projector.

Since 1953, people have been traversing the terrain and picking the perfect parking spot to see the screen at the Highway 18 Outdoor Theatre.

For the past 12 years, the theater was operated under the direction of Lee Burgess. But Burgess decided it was time for an upgrade. So, after $80,000 in upgrades, the new digital drive-in made its debut on April 29, 2011.

"We're tryin' to keep the tradition of the drive-in alive, and it's a lot of work, and it's very expensive, but it's very rewarding. This is the only business I've ever been in where people actually thank me for being open," said Burgess.

Burgess says there's enough room for 600 vehicles at the Highway 18 Outdoor Theatre. It's been rare for him to fill up all the spots. But he suspects he just may do that this summer movie season.

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Tom Petrov
Five Guys Lover

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From: El Paso, TX
Registered: Jan 2003


 - posted 05-07-2011 11:20 PM      Profile for Tom Petrov     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This is the first I have heard of digital drive in screen.

It better be 3D ready or $80,000 can buy a lot of film prints

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Martin McCaffery
Film God

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From: Montgomery, AL
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 - posted 05-07-2011 11:53 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mike Blakesley
Burgess says there's enough room for 600 vehicles at the Highway 18 Outdoor Theatre. It's been rare for him to fill up all the spots. But he suspects he just may do that this summer movie season.
Please tell me he doesn't think people are going to flock to his DI because it has digital.

And fer chrissakes, it's Wisconsin. How many weeks is he even going to be open to pay off that $80k?

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Sam Graham
AKA: "The Evil Sam Graham". Wackiness ensues.

Posts: 1378
From: Waukee, IA
Registered: Dec 2004


 - posted 05-07-2011 11:54 PM      Profile for Sam Graham   Author's Homepage   Email Sam Graham   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That's a shame. Justin West and I were out there a season or two after he bought and re-opened the place (it was dormant for years) and he had a changeover setup with one of the nicest brightest pictures seen on a drive-in screen that he was really proud of. He was doing changeovers because that's how it was done in his day, and he wanted to be as authentic as possible.

Pics, including the screen and booth, on cinematour.

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Tom Petrov
Five Guys Lover

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From: El Paso, TX
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 - posted 05-07-2011 11:58 PM      Profile for Tom Petrov     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sam, Is this a one-screen drive in?

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Sam Graham
AKA: "The Evil Sam Graham". Wackiness ensues.

Posts: 1378
From: Waukee, IA
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 - posted 05-08-2011 12:00 AM      Profile for Sam Graham   Author's Homepage   Email Sam Graham   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes it is.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

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From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 05-08-2011 12:39 AM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you watch the video, it's sort of implied that the digital gave him a major picture improvement. But, at the very end of the video a close-up of the screen is shown...it looks to me like the screen needs a refinish job.

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James Westbrook
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Lubbock, Texas, Usa
Registered: Mar 2006


 - posted 05-08-2011 02:18 AM      Profile for James Westbrook   Email James Westbrook   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Stars and Stripes Drive-In in Lubbock just went all digital.
http://lubbockonline.com/entertainment/2011-04-28/stars-stripes-provides-enhanced-digital-images-screens

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Mark Strube
Master Film Handler

Posts: 306
From: Milwaukee, WI, United States
Registered: Feb 2007


 - posted 05-08-2011 10:20 AM      Profile for Mark Strube   Author's Homepage   Email Mark Strube   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I may be checking this out in the weeks to come... I'll be sure to be back with a report. My previous experience at another Wisconsin drive-in (Kenosha) was not very good. It was film, but the picture was so dim we couldn't see anything that was going on in even a slightly dark scene... and they couldn't get their radio signal loud enough to make it sound good. I complained, but they claimed it was set as loud as it would get.

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Victor Liorentas
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: london ontario canada
Registered: May 2009


 - posted 05-08-2011 11:53 AM      Profile for Victor Liorentas   Email Victor Liorentas   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
With newer lenses and a good lamp house pictures at a drive-in can be plenty bright enough but most I have seen never bother.
Technalight lamp houses are very bright across the entire screen!

I wonder if the digitals are being calibrated to lose the blacks and over brighten to compensate for outdoor light issues like the moon?

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

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From: Bountiful, Utah
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 - posted 05-08-2011 01:17 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's absolutely no surprise to me, these are very wise theater operators! They know that to stay in buisness for the long haul they need digital and so why wait till the last minute when everyone is going to make a mad dash for what equipment is available "off the shelf" Many will end up having to build a new booth that is closer to the screen so lensing will work. Or close their doors for ever and sell to Wal-Mart...

Mark

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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From: Bountiful, Utah
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 - posted 05-08-2011 06:02 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Victor Liorentas
I wonder if the digitals are being calibrated to lose the blacks
Very few if any drive ins have good black any longer because of the abundance of stray light pollotion there is at night. There may be a few exceptions to that case but very few.

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

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From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
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 - posted 05-09-2011 01:20 AM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Couple of years ago, the Spud Dr-In in Driggs, Idaho put a BARCO 32 unit to do digital at this drive-in.

Luckily, the screen isnt that all big (I think only 78 ft wide) and less than a hundred foot throw.

I heard that the picture on the screen is excellent compared to 35mm presentations..

-monte

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Ian Parfrey
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From: Imbil Australia 26 deg 27' 42.66" S 152 deg 42' 23.40" E
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 - posted 05-09-2011 03:29 AM      Profile for Ian Parfrey   Email Ian Parfrey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Martin McCaffery
Please tell me he doesn't think people are going to flock to his DI because it has digital.

And fer chrissakes, it's Wisconsin. How many weeks is he even going to be open to pay off that $80k?

My thoughts exactly!

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John Wilson
Film God

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From: Sydney, Australia.
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 05-09-2011 05:08 AM      Profile for John Wilson   Email John Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mark Gulbrandsen
It's absolutely no surprise to me, these are very wise theater operators! They know that to stay in buisness for the long haul they need digital and so why wait till the last minute when everyone is going to make a mad dash for what equipment is available "off the shelf
So you're back to DIGITAL again this week then, eh Mark? Nice to see you're consistent in your see-sawing.

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