In the latest casuality of physical film, the Air and Space Museum goes digital

The transition from physical to digital projection has been a long time coming, even if Tarantino has tried his best to keep the format around. This Sunday, another stalwart – the IMAX theater at the National Air and Space Museum – retired their 70mm projector. When Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuted last month, so … Continue reading “In the latest casuality of physical film, the Air and Space Museum goes digital”

The transition from physical to digital projection has been a long time coming, even if Tarantino has tried his best to keep the format around. This Sunday, another stalwart – the IMAX theater at the National Air and Space Museum – retired their 70mm projector.

When Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuted last month, so many people insisted on seeing it at the Air and Space Museum because of the quality of the 70mm projection. But as The Washington Post points out, the aging equipment hasn’t changed much from 1976 and requires intensive labor to setup. The projectionists and “hipsters” (not our words, see the article) might enjoy the feel of film stock, but for a theater that regularly shows so many different films, digital is simpler and faster for everyone involved.

Film projection will always have a place, even if just in specialty theaters. The Air and Space Museum’s transition feels like a bigger change, though, because of how many people have gone through that theater.

(Also, look at how chunky that projector is! Holy moly!)