Give Now

Delays, Closings and Severe Weather - View All Alerts and Updates

Theaters Losing Time To Switch To Digital Projection

Front of the Walnut Theater

Photo: Walnut Theater Facebook

The Walnut Theater plays movies off a film projector.

Theaters in Indiana have only a few more months to transition from film to digital projection systems before they risk going out of business.

Hollywood film companies are no longer making movies on film and are instead making digital copies.

The Walnut Theater in Brazil still uses a film projector and owner Mark Thiemann says the last film movie he expects to get from Paramount Pictures is Anchor Man 2, which releases in theaters December 23.

“The change has been pretty rapid, and the small towns around me- Brazil is about 8,000 people- Greencastle, Rockville, they have switched in the last six months to digital,”

Thiemann says he knows he has to make the switch to digital in the next few months or he will quickly become obsolete. But it will not be easy. Digital projectors can cost $50,000 or more.

Thiemann is not the only one having to make the choice. The Indiana Theatre and the Meadows Theatre in Terre Haute also use film projectors. Thiemann says if they all do not change soon, they will not be able to play new releases.

“The only thing we’d be able to show is old stuff,” he says.

But some movie gurus are still hoping film sticks around.

John Mitchell, the owner and director of Bloomington-based Monarch Media Studios, says film has a raw artistic quality.

“Film has a specific, very special look. Some people use the word ‘soft’ when they talk about film. There is a distinct difference between film and video,” Mitchell says.

Mitchell says many filmmakers think though digital production “cheapens” the process of movie-making, comparing the process to an artist hand painting a picture versus creating something on Photoshop.

“You see the difference. There’s a major difference in the delivery of it,” he says. “although probably the Photoshop image is going to be better quality, you feel like you may be missing something in the art.”

Monarch Media is a digital production studio, but it recently added a darkroom for photo development, which is akin to video film development.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.