Note: I made a slight alteration to this post on June 30, at the request of a Castro employee.
The Castro has a new digital projector. I’m not talking about the kind you might use for conference presentations, then bring home to watch DVDs. I’m talking about the kind of big, 2K projector that’s becoming common in multiplexes.
You may have noticed, if you’ve perused their schedule, that they’re advertising their forthcoming five-day run of Up as being in “Disney Digital 3D.” This is the gadget (or more like “the behemoth”) that makes this possible.
Film purists will object—it’s not film, it doesn’t look like film. My take: If digital projection makes it cheaper in the future to keep classic titles in circulation, I’m willing to compromise.
The Castro is easily the most technically versatile theater in the area. It has two variable speed 35/70mm projectors, a Wurlitzer pipe organ, and Dolby, DTS, and magnetic sound. Digital just adds more versatility.
I asked programmer Event Producer/Coordinator Bill Longen if revival films are likely to be presented digitally. “For the time being they’ll be in 35mm, but eventually they will be digital, too.”
The 2K Christie DLP projector they have now is actually a loaner. The one they ordered—a newer model with a brighter light—is on backorder. But it will also be a Christie DLP projector. The movies come on hard drives that plug into a nearby computer.
And no, you can’t play DVDs or Blu-ray discs off this machine (which sort of surprised and disappointed me; I still want to see how Blu-ray looks on a really big screen). They’re keeping their older video projector for the assorted video formats they sometimes get for festival fare.
Here’s some of what I saw:
All three projectors. New digital projector in foreground.
Two 35/70mm film projectors in background.
Christie Digital Projector
Projector control panel
(sorry about the soft focus)
Part of the stack of computer stuff beside projector.
Now look closely at that blue screen near the bottom.
3D attachment mounted in front of lens.
This spins during 3D projection,
polarizing light in one orientation for frames intended for the right eye,
and in the opposite orientation for the left.
Controller for running two 35mm projectors in sync
for 50’s-style 3D