WBEZ | digital projection http://www.wbez.org/tags/digital-projection Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en At the drive-in: can the old-school movie experience survive the digital age? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-08/drive-can-old-school-movie-experience-survive-digital-age-101919 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6192_6318682786_343b4aab65_z.jpg" style="height: 398px; width: 600px; margin: 1px 10px; " title="Is this the future of the drive-in? (flickr/Pete Zarria)" /></div><p>Friday on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>&nbsp;we&#39;re going to talk about the future of drive-ins. Now, I&#39;ve had plenty of good times at drive-in movies, from fighting with my siblings in the back of the car to making out with boyfriends in the front. But as a car-less Chicagoan, they&#39;re mainly a thing of my past.</p><p>Which is a shame, because the drive-in seems to have found ways to adapt to changing technology and audiences, while retaining many of the old-school elements that made them so appealing in the first place, from foil-wrapped, warmed-over burgers to double features &ndash; for the price of one!!</p><p>What changes have come are welcome. Remember those&nbsp;clunky and sometimes hard to hear speakers? Swapped out for FM stereo radio in most cases, though some drive-ins keep a few of the old tin cans on hand (often near the concessions stand in case you wanna hang out and watch from there). And if you&#39;re a purist, you can go totally retro at the very vintage&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rt34drivein.com/">Route 34 Drive-in</a>&nbsp;in Earlville, Illinois, which has kept all of its speakers.</p><p>Still, there aren&#39;t many drive-ins left here in Illinois - just an even dozen according to <a href="http://www.drive-ins.com/srchdest.htm?name=&amp;city=&amp;code=il&amp;status_op=open&amp;search.x=14&amp;search.y=11">this list</a>. At the height of their popularity in the 1950s, we had well over 100. This isn&#39;t news; drive-ins began to &quot;go dark&quot; in the eighties. Hmm, yet another crime to hang on that decade!</p><p><strong>The future of the drive-in</strong></p><p>In a kind of technological last laugh, the drive-in has outlasted at least one media that helped to spark its decline, the VCR. But the biggest threat now is digital conversion. Mike Harroun of the <a href="http://www.harvestmoondrivein.com/">Harvest Moon Twin Drive-in </a>will join us on <em>Eight Forty-Eight </em>Friday. He&#39;s currently running a Kickstarter to try and raise funds for a digital projector.&nbsp;</p><p>Still, there are signs of life at the drive-in theatres. This<em> New York Times</em> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/business/drive-in-theaters-offer-a-bit-of-the-past-and-its-prices.html">article </a>suggests they can make economic sense, for owners and attendees. We&#39;re on track with that trend here. Some of the remaining local drive-ins were restored in the early to mid-aughts. And the <a href="http://www.galvaautovue.com/">Galva Autovue Drive-In</a>, despite its retro-sounding name, was built in 2003. Funnily enough the Galva website&#39;s aesthetic is far more in keeping with the mid- to late-&#39;90s. Perhaps because that&#39;s the online standard among most drive-in theatres?</p><p>The format is also popping up in other places.&nbsp;The Hideout, along with the Logan Square International Film Series, has played host to the <a href="http://www.hideoutchicago.com/event/153941/">Bike-in Movie Theatre </a>for the past two summers, though the season&#39;s done for this year. And if you care less about the car and more about watching movies under the stars, there are lots of opportunities, including the city-wide Chicago Park District&#39;s <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/events/movies/">Summer Movies in the Park</a>&nbsp;(just ignore this here <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2009/07/lets_go_see_a_movie_in_the_park.html">curmudgeon</a>).</p><p>Summer&#39;s almost over so if you haven&#39;t made it to a drive-in yet, better get cracking! Best to check ahead to find out what&#39;s playing, whether they take credit cards, and if it&#39;s okay to bring your own food (the <a href="http://www.cascadedrivein.com/">Cascade </a>actually provides a grill for your convenience!). Just remember, concessions are just as important a revenue stream for drive-ins as they are for regular or &quot;hardtop&quot; theatres, so if you want to keep your local going, you should think about buying at least one burger on site.</p><p>And for a taste of drive-in times past and present check out this great compilation of vintage intermission trailers - you&#39;ll learn a lot about drive-in do&#39;s and don&#39;ts if you&#39;ve never been!&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/qK__U-1z-_A" width="640"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 24 Aug 2012 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-08/drive-can-old-school-movie-experience-survive-digital-age-101919