De Pere Cinema upgrades to digital

The De Pere Cinema at 417 George St. in De Pere, Wednesday, April 2, 2014. (WLUK/Eric Peterson)
The De Pere Cinema at 417 George St. in De Pere, Wednesday, April 2, 2014. (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

DE PERE - Goodbye film and hello digital. The De Pere Cinema is working on bringing its equipment into the 21st century.

The theater was closed Wednesday while crews worked on the upgrade. The changes were made possible by a local donation campaign.

With the click of the lens, the De Pere Cinema is one step closer to going digital.

“The digital world, it's supposed to emulate that, it would look pretty darn good, it would look just like film,” said Andy Collins, Ballantyne Strong, Inc.

Andy Collins is doing the installation. Theater owner Mike Radue says from the old projector, to the tired transistors, everything must go.

“Somebody wants some scrap iron, here it is. It's basically scrap iron. This projector is from the seventies. It's not old enough to be collectible, but not new enough to be converted,” said Radue.

Radue says a community-based donation campaign raised enough money to pay for the digital equipment, the sound system, and new seats.

Radue says the movie industry has changed and film is fading.

“Paramount is not making any more film. Sony announced that after Spider-man this summer, no more film. Probably by June or August, there will be no more 35mm film. If you're not digital, no movies,” said Radue.

The last movie “Lone Survivor” was boxed up Wednesday. It was replaced by a movie on hard drive.

“Film done correctly is still very crisp and very good. But digital is still far and wide much better pictures and sound,” said Radue.

Other cinemas closed because they couldn't or wouldn't pay for the upgrades.

Radue owns four theaters. He says film will be missed.

“As we get to like the very last one, and the last film, and the last movie, it's going to kind of hit me that that's it. That there is no more movie. Right now it's just so hectic, and so crazy I guess, it hasn't sunken in yet,” said Radue.

The theater is scheduled to open Thursday with a special premier of “Frozen.” Moviegoers can expect a free weekend of digital presentations once the theater is fully-operational.