The Hamburg Palace Theatre is going digital.
Starting in early June, the theater will be using an all-new digital projector and digital system. The change has been on the horizon for years, said owner Jay Ruof.
“The movie companies don’t want to deal with film anymore,” he said. “We’ve finally arrived at the time where they’re starting to make less film prints, so certain movies aren’t available unless we are using a digital format.”
While film buffs may not like the idea of a digital system, there are some advantages, Ruof said.
“The image will be brighter and sharper, and it’s a new lens,” he said. “Everything is new. It’s a better product.”
From a labor standpoint, going digital will take away some of the work put into using film.
“We won’t have to thread it up anymore,” Ruof said, describing the process of getting film ready to play back-to-back. “Employees will all be on equal footing. Everyone can be trained to operate the projector.”
Issues with not being able to get a film in time will also disappear with the new system.
“The movies download into a server,” Ruof said.
Along with the new digital system, the cost of seeing a movie at The Palace will increase by 50 cents. It’s the first time in three years prices have gone up, Ruof said. Movies will now cost $5 for seniors, children and matinee showings, and $6 for adults.
“Like all businesses, the cost of everything else is going up,” he said. “Our concessions will also go up a little bit, too.”
After holding the Roger McGuinn concert last month at The Palace, Ruof would like to do more concerts in the future. The McGuinn concert was a “total success,” Ruof said.
“We were 20 seats short of a sellout,” he said. “Anyone you talk to about it enjoyed it thoroughly.”
Ruof would like to install better lighting for concerts, and is working on fixing an old light fixture from the early days of the theater which could serve to backlight future concerts. This would cut back on the costs of having an outside company set-up the lighting.
“One of my goals is to have side lights,” he said.
The seats in the theater may also get an upgrade, Ruof said.
“We’re looking into cushions and fabric,” he said.