Sunday, 15 November 2009

The Digital Age.

This is my first wade into the blog-swamp.

I am a projectionist for a well-known cinema chain, and am also a massive nerd.

Cinema is on the cusp of a new age; an age of sharper images, clearer sound, stupid glasses, higher prices.

The Digital Age.

Unfortunately for me, come the digital revolution, projectionists will be first against the wall; either assimilated into management or swept out onto the street, no longer needed for the finicky task of looping endless reels of film around tiny wheels in a room with no windows. Projectionism in The Digital Age will be only as complicated as making a playlist on your ipod and pushing play.

So, in my time of looming redundancy, it seems reasonable to want to document this dying art in a shadowy corner of the internet. Well, I say "art", but projectionism is actually more like being a bloke who hangs paintings for a living: Somebody else created the actual art, but it's up to you to dangle it in front of people's eye-holes. And let's not underestimate the importance of a skilled picture-hanger: What if he hung it upside down? Or back to front? Or hung it in the wrong place? The picture-lookers would be furious and rightly demand a refund on their extortionately priced art-gallery tickets and snack foods. Have you seen what they charge for a hot-dog in these art-galleries? Daylight robbery. I like to sneak a capri-sun and a bagel in under my jacket and then spit chewed-up bits at statues of naked people. Anyway...

Continuing to run the picture-hanging metaphor into the ground;my cinema recently had its first digital projector installed, which is like the picture-hanger coming to work to find that C3-P0 from out of Star Wars has already hung all his pictures in a much more aesthetically pleasing manner than a human being ever could. The camp, robot-butler bastard. I'm telling you, it's like Skynet is taking over or summat. I keep expecting the machine to start talking to me in an Austrian accent. The Rise of the Machines is upon us.

It's not all portents of doom, however, as the fact remains that digital projection has a great many things going for it, not least the simplicity of running the machine. The picture is sharper and clearer, print scratches, hairs, dust and all the other flickering imperfections you have to suffer throughout a 35mm print will be a thing of the past, there is the novelty 3D option (which will probably get a blog all to itself from me at some point), the lighter transport (digital films come on hard-drives instead of in big, heavy boxes of film cartons) and all manner of pluses which render analogue movie projection obselete.

Many film-aficionados will claim that digital removes the "organic" and "earthy" qualities of 35 mm and we should smash the machine with a mallet of retro-artistic techno-fear. To these people, I say : Go and ride your penny-farthing home and listen to your vinyl 45s whilst I skitch my hoverboard to the digital cinema of the future! I won't be able to get in however, because I'll be out of a job and won't be able to afford the ridiculously marked-up ticket prices of the future, so I'll just hang around the flying-car park, cadging money for bagels and capri-sun.

So yeah, projectionism. Shining a light through a window for a living. How boring can one blog be? Let's find out.


  1. Funny, I'm impressed how humourous you can be about digital film and your impending unemployment.

    And how to get the maximum out of one metaphor! C3-PO The camp, robot-butler bastard - LOL

  2. I wish I had been following this from the beginning. It's almost as if they planned the meeting so close to your blog-anniversary...