Kimball's set to digitize


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That's how much Kimball Bayles and crew say they've saved by patiently picking their right moment to move from 35 mm film to digital projection at Kimball's Peak Three.

As we reported back in November, theaters nationwide have been under pressure to "convert or die" in the face of a rapidly transitioning industry.

Theater manager Matt Stevens says that the theater will close from next Monday, March 11 through Wednesday, March 13, and barring any unforeseen delays, reopen on Thursday for regular business.

Kimballs Peak Three
  • Matt Stevens (left) and Kimball Bayles will soon be smiling over some fresh new equipment.

The film Stoker, tentatively set to open at Kimball's on Friday, March 22, will be the first new release at the theater in digital.

Regarding that significant savings of money by waiting, Stevens says that many theaters had aimed to convert by the turn of 2013, which kept projector prices steady into late fall and early winter. But after the new year, after many theaters' conversion, prices fell significantly.

As of last November, Bayles had estimated that the conversion could cost him upward of $200,000 for three new screens and a new sound system. But by holding tight, his final bill should come in closer to $150,000.

Recently, the theater has been struggling to get timely 35 mm prints if any were available at all from certain distribution companies.

The move to digital — which is actually small, many-terabyte hard drives shipped via snail mail just like the former 35 mm film prints — should give Kimball's a greater access to films and Stevens projects (no pun intended) that they will screen more films in the future closer to actual release dates (versus waiting for prints to become available after screening in larger markets).

As our former article noted, there is no immediate return on investment for Kimball's and other small theaters (they won't necessarily sell more seats), but patrons should enjoy the improved picture and sound quality and greater film selection.

Stevens does note that some labor cost will be saved as staff will no longer have to assemble the 35 mm prints, freeing up manpower for other tasks. The new files will take roughly half a day to upload to the house system, for those interested in how it all works.

And on that note, if you want to keep an eye on the actual tear-down and build up, Stevens says he'll be posting photo updates on Kimball's Facebook page.


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