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Monday, 2 February  2009  Digital Cinema

In Australia, the change from film to digital technologies has meant a major challenge to many small movie theatres.

KEN REEVE, DUNGOG CINEMA: I've always been interested in movies, right from an early age, and whenever I went to a theatre when I was a child or a teenager, I used to always look back up in the projection room and see the magic of the 35 millimetre projectors.

REBECCA BAILLIE: Ken Reeve is part of a dying breed, a man who's passionate about the job he's been doing for the past 25 years.

KEN REEVE: It's a labour of love. I just love showing people movies.

REBECCA BAILLIE: The projectionist, the manager and the cleaner at Dungog Cinema, the only thing Ken Reeve doesn't do is sell the tickets. His cinema has been the social heart of the NSW country town ever since the theatre opened in 1914.

But now it and Ken Reeve face an uncertain future with the traditional 35mm film projector destined for the scrap heap as the new digital juggernaut rolls in.

CHRIS KIELY: Celluloid is being replaced by digital for one very good reason and that's money. It's much cheaper to run a film digitally than to create a print, ship it across the world and ship it around.

REBECCA BAILLIE: But Ken Reeve can't imagine a world without celluloid and sprocket holes. He says if the industry starts releasing films exclusively on digital, he won't be able to afford to buy the new technology that will be needed to show them.

KIM DALTON, AUSTRALIAN FILM COMMISSION: It would be a great shame, I think, if once again we see regional Australia suffer because of those issues about population and the failure of the market to deliver that digital infrastructure which is ultimately so important.

REBECCA BAILLIE: While this projector complies with the high standards set by Hollywood, quality comes at a price, costing as much as $200,000 each machine. The big cinema chains refuse to be a part of this story. But there is no doubt they're watching developments closely. With approximately 1500 screens in Australia between them, the new projectors could cost the companies about $300 million. Bad news with box office takings down by 14% this year.

CHRIS KIELY: It seems like we're going through the end of an era with cinema and that people have decided it's better value and more convenient for them to watch films at home with their plasma screens and home theatre systems.

REBECCA BAILLIE: Digital may yet kill the celluloid star, but only time will tell if the so-called "wow" factor of digital technology will be enough to force people out of their living rooms and back into cinemas. And for Ken Reeve, it could very well be the final curtain call.

KEN REEVE: I'd be lost, very saddened to have to give up and not show movies. It's been part of my life now for almost a quarter of a century, but I dare say I'd have to live with it.

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English Bites - Digital Cinema
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labour of love
The phrase labour of love refers to difficult work that you do because you enjoy it and not because it will make you money or other rewards.

Example: The garden is a labour of love.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

The projectionist is the person whose job is to operate the projector in a cinema.

Dungog is a small town in New South Wales.

The heart of something is the centre or most important part.

uncertain future
The phrase uncertain future means that we donít know what will happen in the future

scrap heap
A scrap heap is a pile of rubbish or waste material. If something is on the scrap heap then itís old and unwanted and no one is interested in it anymore.

Example: If you lose your job when you're in your fifties, you're likely to be tossed on to the scap heap.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

A juggernaut is a powerful, unstoppable force.

give up
To give up is to stop doing something because it's too difficult.

Example: Don't give up trying to learn English.
For more meanings of the phrasal verb give up, follow the link below to our language library.
more information: give up

dare say
I dare say means I suppose, or it seems likely.

Example: I dare say you find this example useful.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

Take a closer look at the word 'project'.

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