The Analogue Nature of Going to the Cinema

Picture from the wonderful blog of Nina Paley

Yesterday while at the cinema, just as Inception was about to begin, I realized that right above me, there was a can of film ready to be unwound before my very eyes. It was then that I realized that the moviegoing experience is still very much an analogue adventure in this digital age.

OK, so the film itself was full of special effects that in no way could have been recreated in the real world, but it’s still kinda funny when you think that they were shown using a method that’s well over 100 years old. I suppose it’s all part of the experience. I find it hard to imagine seeing a film at the cinema where there isn’t a projector whirring away in the booth.

With the rise of digital projectors, this will become a thing of the past, at least in the mainstream. Which I think will be a shame. Fo me, it just won’t be the same, knowing that behind me, there’s just a digital projector streaming content from the internet. Perhaps it is becuase there is no setup involved in the digital age. With film, it has to be loaded, threaded and adjusted so that it appears correctly on the screen. That suggests that watching a film is an event, something to anticipate with excitement and to enjoy immensly.

Technological advances will change this, albeit slowly (digital projection has been talked about for well over a decade). There’s still plenty of time to enjoy the romanticism that goes along with watching a film down at your local picture house.

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