Digital Cinema Update

I’ve recently posted articles about Sony 4K Digital Projection and Dolby 7.1 Surround. Both of these technologies enhance feature film presentations by providing audiences with higher resolution imagery and more lifelike audio. And while 3D projection is all the rage right now, I personally feel that improvements to the presentation quality of a motion picture are more significant. 3D production and presentation technology may eventually end up being the standards for movies and might even make their way into our living rooms as the standard broadcasting format. But, as I’ve mentioned before, a good story and a quality presentation are the most important factors in creating an enjoyable movie experience.

Well, in the few short weeks since I first reported that the management at Channelside Cinemas in downtown Tampa upgraded to 4K projection for all of their movie screens, a new crop of Sony 4K Digital Projectors have popped up in the bay area. Taking a look at the Sony 4K Projection Theater Finder, there are no less than 10 movie theaters within the tri-county area that offer the current state-of-the-art in digital screening. The Muvico Starlight 20 in Tampa is an all-4k house and the Regal Park Place Stadium 16 now has screens with 4K projection and Dolby Surround 7.1. Progress is a good thing!

Muvico Baywalk

Now, just because your local theater may boast 4K projection or Dolby 7.1, that doesn’t automatically mean the movie you’re seeing takes advantage of these technologies. Only movies originally shot in 4K or on film then edited and finished in 4K can offer a true 4K presentation. And to experience Dolby 7.1 sound, the movie soundtrack has to be mixed and mastered in 7.1. Not every movie goes through these processes. Nevertheless, the more 4K and Dolby 7.1 installations we have, the more likely we’ll see these production methods becoming the standard. You can check which movies are currently available for 4K presentation using the Sony 4K New Release Schedule and which movies are availble for Dolby 7.1 Surround by using the Dolby 7.1 Surround Location Map.

Most theater managers don’t make it a priority to inform the general public what technologies they offer. Nor do they list on their Websites which films or which screens offer the special presentations. I frequently call theater box offices to verify which showing of the film I want to see is being presented in 4K, 2K, Dolby 7.1, Dolby Digital or THX. The clerk answering the phone rarely knows; sometimes the theater management isn’t even sure. I equate this to a car dealership having a limited edition vehicle on their lot but not knowing which one it is. If the management and staff isn’t educated, how can they educate the public? Come on, guys!

I encourage all movie fans to seek out the special presentations in their area. If the publicly-available showtime listings don’t make it clear what’s available, ask the personnel at the theater to find out and let you know. Perhaps if they realize the public has an interest in seeking out special showings they’ll do a better job at promoting them. I think you’ll find it worth the effort. You can’t do much to ensure a great story but you can ensure the best possible presentation.


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One Response to “Digital Cinema Update”

  1. shamster test Says:

    Thanks for posting this cool article!

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