Arrival of digital (Neil Thompson)

Neil Thompson interviewed by Richard Wallace

Projectionist Neil Thompson descibes the arrival of digital projection in his cinema, including the timeline of the digital conversion.

Clip

Show Transcript
We knew, oh it must be about thirteen or fourteen months before how it was going to work, ‘cause we got a letter saying that, you know, now that the digital is going to be installed there's a chance that there'd be redundancies. I think that was the September 2012 and yet we didn't leave until the April 2014. So there was about three or four cinemas done first to see how it went, and then they said what we're gonna be doing is changing one or two and then all will be changed all at once. The first one was put in about 2009. It took about a month or two to get in installed. I remember when it first came, of course all the staff came up to look at it, they said, “Oh I must see what this is”. Of course a lot of them were being funny, they’re saying, “Where do you put the cups?” ‘cause they thought it was one of these, like a tea maker or a coffee maker. The digital got changed more or less overnight. There was about eight screens to do. There was about four of the engineers came in and all the digital equipment arrived one night and it was all just standing, waiting to be put in. And within two days all the projectors and Cinemeccanica stuff had been pushed to one side and the digital machines had been put in, all the plugs were all ready just to put into the wall. They had all been rewired weeks before. Because the lads that I worked with were, when I was on they'd say, “Hey, this is not going to take long, they're gonna do this and they're gonna do that.” And I'd say, “Oh well you know, wait, you know, we might be here longer than you think.” And of course when digital was put in and it didn't take long. All that had to be done was be set up with a laptop. It used the same amplifiers, all you need to do was put a server. I was there when they were putting the last ones in. In fact number eleven was the last one to be put in and I was the last one to lace up a 35mm projector in that place. And the lads were just standing, watching me and I was lacing up and I said, "When this has finished you're carting this out aren't you?" And he said, "Yeah, as soon as that's finished we'll be getting rid of that." And there was a digital projector right behind, ready to put in its place. And once the film finished I went down the bottom end to do something, and when I came back it was all just pushed out the place. Four of them just got hold of it and pushed it to one side, the plinth, the lot, the projector. And the digital was in its place. And that was the last one to go in, and I just thought, “My god,” you know, I just couldn’t believe it. They had it all wired up ready and they said, "Right just check it and on the next show you can go ahead." I said, "What, already?" And he says, "Oh yeah, it's ready." Unbelievable.

Title

Arrival of digital (Neil Thompson)

Description

Projectionist Neil Thompson descibes the arrival of digital projection in his cinema, including the timeline of the digital conversion.

Source

Interview with Neil Thompson

Publisher

The University of Warwick

Date

29/12/2015

Format

.mp3

Language

English

Type

Sound recording
interview extract

Coverage

2009-2014

Interviewer

Richard Wallace

Interviewee

Neil Thompson

Date of Interview

11/11/2014

Location

Gateshead

Transcription

We knew, oh it must be about thirteen or fourteen months before how it was going to work, ‘cause we got a letter saying that, you know, now that the digital is going to be installed there's a chance that there'd be redundancies. I think that was the September 2012 and yet we didn't leave until the April 2014. So there was about three or four cinemas done first to see how it went, and then they said what we're gonna be doing is changing one or two and then all will be changed all at once. The first one was put in about 2009. It took about a month or two to get in installed. I remember when it first came, of course all the staff came up to look at it, they said, “Oh I must see what this is”. Of course a lot of them were being funny, they’re saying, “Where do you put the cups?” ‘cause they thought it was one of these, like a tea maker or a coffee maker. The digital got changed more or less overnight. There was about eight screens to do. There was about four of the engineers came in and all the digital equipment arrived one night and it was all just standing, waiting to be put in. And within two days all the projectors and Cinemeccanica stuff had been pushed to one side and the digital machines had been put in, all the plugs were all ready just to put into the wall. They had all been rewired weeks before. Because the lads that I worked with were, when I was on they'd say, “Hey, this is not going to take long, they're gonna do this and they're gonna do that.” And I'd say, “Oh well you know, wait, you know, we might be here longer than you think.” And of course when digital was put in and it didn't take long. All that had to be done was be set up with a laptop. It used the same amplifiers, all you need to do was put a server. I was there when they were putting the last ones in. In fact number eleven was the last one to be put in and I was the last one to lace up a 35mm projector in that place. And the lads were just standing, watching me and I was lacing up and I said, "When this has finished you're carting this out aren't you?" And he said, "Yeah, as soon as that's finished we'll be getting rid of that." And there was a digital projector right behind, ready to put in its place. And once the film finished I went down the bottom end to do something, and when I came back it was all just pushed out the place. Four of them just got hold of it and pushed it to one side, the plinth, the lot, the projector. And the digital was in its place. And that was the last one to go in, and I just thought, “My god,” you know, I just couldn’t believe it. They had it all wired up ready and they said, "Right just check it and on the next show you can go ahead." I said, "What, already?" And he says, "Oh yeah, it's ready." Unbelievable.

Original Format

One-to-one interview

Duration

00:02:25

Bit Rate/Frequency

320kbps

Cinema

Empire Cinema, The Gate, Newgate Street, Newcastle upon Tyne

Citation

The Projection Project, “Arrival of digital (Neil Thompson),” Projection Project, accessed March 24, 2019, https://projectionproject.warwick.ac.uk/items/show/431.

Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>