Medina Journal-Register — MIDDLEPORT — For many, a drive-in movie theater hearkens back to a simpler, more innocent time.
Now, at the Sunset Drive-In in Middleport, the retro-feel and old time vibe still exist, but the picture on the screen is much more modern looking.
Indeed, it is a new era at the Sunset Drive-In, and one that ironically started with Oblivion and Identity Thief. Two weeks ago week, when the theatre opened for the summer, a new digital projector was used for the first time. This past weekend with Iron Man 3 ushering in the unofficial start of the summer blockbuster season, the local hot spot featured digital picture on all three screens.
Denise Stornelli, who co-owns the establishment with her husband Mario, said she has heard some positive feedback regarding the difference in picture quality. And, even though she does not normally watch the movies the drive-in shows, she said she has seen a difference, too.
“Last week when I was leaving at one point I looked over and saw The Croods and immediately noticed the picture was better,” she said.
The change from projectors with 35 mm film to a digital medium, according to Stornelli, will be made by the end of the year for all movies. It is not a cheap proposition, but it is one that is both necessary and an improvement.
Stornelli said she saw one place where two projectors were on simultaneously and only one had been upgraded. The difference was quite stark, she said.
Improving the equipment at Sunset was something that was going to happen, but Stornelli said she was hopeful it could be done in stages. Still, she said the end of film by the conclusion of the year forced the changeover. In the long run she said the drive-in will wind up saving money on shipping costs, and the price to ship film was a bit high she said. She also noted with a tinge of sadness that the switch to digital cost the business a projectionist, proving that with the good, there is also bad.