The Dansville Online
  • Star Theatre goes high-tech

  • We probably never imagined that we’d ever see the end of film in our lifetime. But it seems logical, considering the digital world in which we live, that 35 mm movies have gone the way of the dodo.

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  • We probably never imagined that we’d ever see the end of film in our lifetime. But it seems logical, considering the digital world in which we live, that 35 mm movies have gone the way of the dodo.
    “By the end of 2013, there won’t be any more films produced. So either you change or you don’t play movies,” Edgar Schmidt, co-owner of Star Theatre said.
    So, Star Theatre spent its Thanksgiving break installing a new $80,000 digital system, and reopened Nov. 30 with a double feature.
    “The response from the people that saw the seven o’clock, which was well-attended, was overwhelmingly wowed. They were very pleased with the presentation.”
    For the theater’s grand reopening, it made use of its original ticket booth which it had not done in years, thanks to ticket master Jennifer Howard, and to Jamie Cragg who ushered.
    Schmidt said the majority of movie theaters across the country have been converting to digital in the past six to eight months. About 70 percent of theaters across the country are now digital.
    As to whether theater owners seemed to be on board with being forced with this costly move, Schmidt said, “I think the presentation is so superior that, as a theater owner, I think you’d be remiss if you didn’t look forward to the change.”
    As to what it means to go digital, movies now come to the theaters on a hard drive. The hard drive is placed inside a server, and from there, a movie playlist with desired trailers is programmed to automatically run at show times.
    Star Theatre’s new system has 1,000 watts of light more than before, which provides audiences with a brighter, crisper picture.
    Schmidt said the new system is now comparable with any other theater, including the larger ones in Rochester such as Reagle.
    Digital systems do not have moving parts, as did 35 mm projectors, so the maintenance is lower.
    “I got to retire a whole bunch of tools,” Schmidt said.
    Also with this system, Schmidt said it opens up other avenues such as an outside entity renting the theater and giving power-point presentations or playing blue ray/dvds through the projector.
    In addition, the theater also has a brand new digital surround sound system and has rehung its screen for a flatter presentation.
    At the same time, the chandelier was cleaned and energy-efficient lightbulbs were installed.
    The new system took about a week to install, and was ready a day ahead of schedule.
    Jim Wright of Buffalo-based Entertainment Equipment Co. was the lead installer. Dan Hall of Wolcott-based Palace Theatre also helped with the installation.
    Page 2 of 2 - Ray Sellers and Tyler Milk rehung the screen, cleaned the chandelier and replaced the bulbs.
    Nate Wilson helped with a lot of cleaning, and John Leuzzi installed speakers and about 2,000 feet of wiring. Cooper Electric of Dansville did electric.
    Schmidt said the theater could have invested in a new screen with silver oxide backing to show 3-D movies, but decided not to bear the extra cost.
    To help cover expenses, the theater has had to increase its ticket prices. However, prices are still competitive with most theaters.
    Tickets are now $7 for ages up to 18 and "kids with 62 years of experience," plus military and college students with I.D. Adults ages 19 to 61 years are $8. Matinees are $6 for all admission.
    Financing for the system is through Five-Star Bank of Dansville. A $21,000 microenterprise grant the theater recently acquired through New York State and administered through The Village of Dansville and Thoma Development Consultants will help pay back a portion of its investment.
    The new James Bond film, “Skyfall” will be showing starting Friday; and the theater will follow with a run of “The Hobbit,” starting with a 12:01 a.m. showing on Dec. 14.

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