By Larry Jacobson

Legacy defending has been a natural and prevalent state in numerous cultures, business or otherwise.  Logic tells us that a progressive state is non-existent without a nudge from the past to move forward.

This film to digital conversion we find ourselves in today is nothing short of classic textbook  “technology strain:” Fortunately, this strain has resulted in an environment conducive to a more fruitful and exciting future.

Of significance is the fact that exhibition has an opportunity to enrich itself at least as significantly as its industry partners. Current technology affords exhibition a plethora of unprecedented advantages: lower initial expenditures, reduced operating costs, considerable customer experience improvement, even the ability to expand effectively in the current economic environment. These benefits and more are easily attainable due to today’s technical innovations.

Three options exist for film theatres today: 1) Is to retrofit existing theatres with digital equipment. It seems an obvious beginning. However, until recently, film seemed to be a viable alternative.
2) Is for exhibitors to build film theatres and equip them with digital projectors (unfortunately, that is the path many have chosen today).

3) (The wisest option) is the true digital cinema phase. Digital Cinema negates the film theatre legacy. Today’s digital components, i.e. digital projectors and servers coupled with digital audio systems, are simply not direct functional equivalents of the analogue past. They form entirely new systems and should be considered as such. And a systems approach to theatre design affords tremendous advantages. Most significantly, when considering a digital cinema theatre design, it will be obvious to the designer that the projection booth is no longer a necessity. In fact, projection rooms are not only superfluous—they are actually deterrents and nullify the majority of the advantages of digital cinema.

Digital cinema theatres allow us new and exciting freedoms of design. Auditoriums become independent elements: independent unto themselves and independent from the mezzanine above. Think about it: a mezzanine exists only to house film systems. Film projectors, audio racks, build up table, make up tables, film storage systems, platters comprise thousands of pounds per port, thousands of pounds of mechanical mayhem that is no longer necessary. With the elimination of the mezzanine and the ability to distribute the auditoriums themselves to accommodate patron flow, the designer will quickly discover that those mandated corridors that followed the mezzanine are no longer necessary. Those cavernous corridors with their ubiquitous 2×2 ceiling grids now lend themselves to open, spacious lobbies with the latest of amenities. These realities are why the CineGenesis Inc philosophy is, “Digital Cinema is not just film theatres with digital projectors”.