MALTA – St. Peter Lutheran Church celebrated a quarter century this weekend. [Read more…]
MALTA- The Malta League of Arts and Third Rail Projects will be hosting “Roadside Attraction” at the Malta Drive-In on Friday, July 19 starting at 7:45 p.m.
The event is free to the public with parking at the Furniture Theater right next to the Drive-In off Route 9. A rain date is scheduled for July 20.
“Roadside Attraction” is a versatile new work housed in and around a vintage Seventies-era pop-up camper that has been retro-fitted to become the stage and setting for a new dance/theater performance. [Read more…]
If you’ve driven on Route 9 anytime in the last several months, chances are you’ve seen the Malta Drive-In Theatre’s large marquee and its message: “Goodbye Film, Hello Digital, See Ya 2013.” It’s also likely you’ve wondered what exactly that meant, provided you’re not a movie technician.
To get the details about the changes being made, The Ballston Journal sat down with Drive-In co-owner Edward Caro below part of the original marquee, now hanging in Furniture Theatre next door, also under the same ownership.
The Malta Drive-In was built in 1949 and has been continuously operated since then. In 2012, it began to confront a major issue facing theaters everywhere: the death of traditional 35mm film.
“The studios are not going to be providing 35mm prints in the next couple years,” Caro explained. “They’re not going to give you a choice long term.”
“My guess is probably seventy-five percent of theaters have switched,” he said, referring to both drive-ins and indoor cinemas alike.
In 2012, Twentieth Century Fox announced they would halt production of movies on 35mm film by the end of the year. They’ve since extended the deadline, but coupled with the fact Kodak is the sole producer of 35mm prints left today, it will be increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to continue business solely with traditional film.
Kodak is currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, adding a sense of urgency for theaters looking at going digital.
Aside from necessity, there are some small advantages of digital which translate to the big screen and consequently to the viewer.
“We had a pretty good presentation,” Caro said, “but it certainly will be even light.”
With 35mm film, the picture is lit from the center and radiates out. Digital film presents an evenly distributed brighter picture, so the viewer will see a slightly clearer movie.
Associated with the move to digital, the Drive-In has had to make a number of refurbishments to their technical infrastructure.
“With digital projection, it needs to be climate-controlled, air-conditioned, because it’s a computer,” Caro explained. “So we have had to insulate both projection booths, and we needed Internet access.”
Access to the Internet is required to obtain a “digital key” from the studios before each showing in order to play the movies, which now come to the theater on a portable hard drive. The key is used to prevent digital piracy.
However, the change does not mean patrons will now have access to wireless Internet, as the technical upgrades are strictly in-house.
The digital switch also opens up the possibility, albeit unlikely, of showing some independent films in the future.
“A lot of these independent movies are shot on digital cameras,” Caro said. “We’re open to that, but our bread and butter is always going to be the blockbusters.”
The Malta Drive-In Theatre otherwise remains the same beloved outdoor theater it has always been, with the exception of a possible minor increase in the cost of admission for some visitors.
“We are looking at increasing the child’s admission from $3 to $4, which is in line with some, not all, drive-ins in the area,” Caro said. “But we are not looking at our adult admission at all. We are not looking at changing our snack bar pricing or anything else.”
When asked what continues to make the Malta Drive-In so special, Caro explained glowingly that its unique advantages are self-evident.
“It’s a very different experience from the indoor theaters,” Caro said. “It’s much more casual, you can talk, you can bring your lawn chairs, there’s a nominal charge but you can bring your own food.”
“You’re under the stars,” he added. “We’re committed to running the drive-in for a long time.”
The Malta Drive-In Theatre hopes to open its gate in early April, although the exact time depends on equipment arrivals, upgrade work, and when the work reaches completion.
The theater is located at 2785 Route 9 in Malta. For information call 518-587-6077 or visit them online at www.maltadrivein.com.
To contact the reporter on this story email Wyatt@theballstonjournal.com
BY JENNIE GREY
The Malta Drive-in has expansion plans, but not for its theaters. At the Monday, Feb. 28, Town of Malta agenda meeting, Mike Thompson presented for the Malta Drive-In, showing the Town Board a vision of summer.
The drive-in wants to amend its planned development district to allow for a marketplace on summer weekends.
“We would have a farmer’s market with booths, local artisans, and antique dealers,” Thompson said. “We plan to have this run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., so everything would be cleared away by the time the movies are about to begin.”
Malta Town Supervisor Paul Sausville said he is happy with the planned efficiency.
“That’s good—I didn’t want to miss the movies,” said Sausville.
No construction would be needed, he said, as all vendor would supply their own booths. The spaces for each stall would be marked out easily by the old speaker posts in the drive-in.
“It will be a fun event for families in the summer months,” Thompson said. “We feel it would be a wonderful addition to the community.”
Council woman Tara Thomas said in the application, the Malta Drive-In had described its intention to donate all gate fees to local charities, offering donations to a different organization each week.
“That’s a great idea,” she said. “I approve.”