Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Welcome – Croydon Cinema

Croydon Plaza Cinema has been a staple of the Croydon movie watching landscape since 1977. While other independent family operated cinemas shut and were turned into shops or gyms or places not dedicated to art and entertainment, Croydon cinema has remained operating. While the cinema had been prone to closing and re-branding, the cinema has continually showed films and entertained film enthusiasts and movie watchers for over 35 years. Tucked away in the suburb of Croydon in Melbourne’s Eastern Suburbs Croydon Plaza Cinema has provided its community with an affordable and enjoyable experience.

Croydon Cinema has decided to move away from the digital revolution in film and keep with the movie magic of traditional film projectors. This blog discusses how an independent cinema can remain viable in today’s market being surrounded by multiplex chain cinemas. Croydon Cinema does this by offering something that these multiplex’s don’t. An experience. An experience they can deliver because they are an independent cinema and show films through traditional film methods, to keep with the magic of film.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Croydon Cinema

Cinema manager Tom Schouten is bringing community cinema back to Croydon. Pic: LAWRENCE PINDER

Croydon Plaza Cinema has been in operation since 1977. Located in the suburb of Croydon in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, the small independent cinema as suffered competition from the large multiplex cinemas, namely , Hoyts Eastland and Village Cinema Knox. During its operation in 3 Hewish Road, the Croydon Independent cinema had closed and reopened five times. Currently the Croydon Plaza Cinema is in operation, with four screens and a seating capacity for 840 patrons.

In 1977 it opened as Twin Cinema Croydon there it maintained an active business for over sixteen years, closing in 1993. It then reopened in 1994 as Croydon Cinema. As Croydon it opened two more screens, allowing it to have the capacity to have 840 patrons. The screen number and seating capacity had not changed.

In 2003, Croydon Cinema closed and was reopened as Croydon Ritz Cinemas, which then closed a year later to be reopened as Australia Cinema Croydon. In late 2011 Australia Cinema Croydon closed and was opened as Croydon Plaza Cinema under the direction of Tom Schouten.

Under the direction of Mr Schouten the Cinema is maintaining the integrity of the cinema of old by refusing to make the shift to digital screens and projectors. Schouten has kept with the cinema's tradition of being independent and family operated cinema. Much like Middle Park Picture Theater.

What is your most influential factor when it comes to choosing where to see a movie?

Monday, 4 June 2012

Independent Cinema

Outside of Croydon Cinema. Photo

Croydon Cinema is an independently run cinema, which gives them more freedoms than its competitors such as Hoyts and Village. On the 1st of March 2011 The 7:30 Report (which can also be viewed here) did a segment on Independent Cinema’s and their new resurgence due to the new technology being available to cinemas, technology, funnily enough, that Plaza Cinema Croydon is not embracing. Matt Peacock said in the segment. ‘Historically, Australia's independent cinemas have barely survived at the fringes of the Hoyts and Greater Union national chains who have had a stranglehold on the big movie releases. But now, the independents are fighting back.’ This is true, Croydon Cinema has closed more than enough times, and cinemas like Plaza Northcote closed in 1960.

So why would Plaza Cinema Croydon refuse to make the change? Because Plaza Cinema Croydon offers a family experience and they offer something that the other cinemas don’t. They don’t charge the exorbitant prices for tickets and in the confectionary stand keeping with the family entertainment theme while still showing the popular non family orientated films. Due to its size Croydon Cinema only shows a handful of films, but also sell their tickets for half the price of its multiplex counterparts.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Digital Cinema

As discussed in Episode 141 of the popular podcast Film Podcast Film in Focus cinema and film have undergone extensive changes through its short life. From cinemas humble beginnings of silent black and white, short films. To the first feature length film (Australian film Ned Kelly) To the introduction of sound, then colour, introduction of digital film and more recently with the controversy of Peter Jacksons The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey which has been canned for being filmed in 48 frames per second. Cinema is constantly changing and growing, and with each change there was new debate that sparks. Debate about the integrity of film, about the art and the ideas of gimmicks. When the first full length film was created, the studios thought they would lose money, that no one would sit through an hour long film. Now the standard length of a film is about two hours, films that aren't in shot in black and white and are filled with sound. That is the norm and is expected that every film would be in colour with sound. So much so, that when the black and white 2011 film The Artist was released, Plaza Cinema Croydon's competitor Village Cinema Knox had to put up flyers explaining how the film was different from their usual fair. If The Artist proved anything, it was that while people may love the norms that cinema has now, there is still some magic left in the old style of film. The cinema magic that many directors, producers are still holding on too.
Scan of actual flyer left in the Village Cinema Knox's foyer.

Even the changes to cinema that people believe were beneficial to film story telling, such as the introduction of sound were considered to be a blight on the art that is cinema. Legendary Director Alfred Hitchcock had is own reservations about the introduction of sound.

“The silent pictures were the purest form of cinema; the only thing they lacked was the sound of people talking and the noises. But this slight imperfection did not warrant the major changes that sound brought in. In Many of the films now being made, there is very little cinema. They are mostly what I call ‘photographs of people talking.’ When we tell a story in cinema, we should resort to dialogue only when it’s impossible to do otherwise. I always try first to tell a story in the cinematic way, through a succession of shots and bits of film in between… To me, one of the cardinal sins for a scriptwriter, when he runs into some difficulty, is to say ‘We can cover that by a line of dialogue.’ Dialogue should simply be a sound among sounds, just something that comes out of the mouths of people whose eyes tell the story in visual terms.”

If something as fundamental as sound in a film was considered controversial then it is no wonder that Digital Cinema and Film is being the newest controversy to hit the film world, and that there are cinemas, like Plaza Cinema Croydon that are holding back from introducing this new revolution to film.

What is Digital Cinema?

As discusses in ‘The Emergence of Digital Cinema’ written by Roger Wyatt, he explains Digital Cinema to be a term with several meanings. They describe different aspects of the task of generating computer based moving images. The first meaning related to the process. The hardware and software elements that make up the material structure of a moving image production system. The second is the ideas that inform the meaning. The theory.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Digital Debate

Digital Film has been a topic of hot debate through the film making world. Everyone in the film industry has an opinion on their preference, and digital film making has become the way for films to be made and edited easily, not to mention the 3D aspect that is seeping into cinema, traditional film is falling away.

In 2009 Slumdog Millionaire became the first movie shot mainly in digital to be awarded the Academy Award for Best Cinematography and the highest grossing movie in the history of cinema, Avatar, not only was shot on digital cameras as well, but also made the main revenues at the box office no longer by film, but digital projection. However the Croydon Plaza Cinema has refused to make the change. Why would a cinema prone to closing and reopening take such a risk by staying with traditional film instead of trying to cash in on the digital dollars? Especially when its major competitors, Hoyts Eastland and Village Cinema Knox have not only made the switch to the digital, but have created special theaters Xtremescreen and VMax where they can charge another couple of dollars on top of the 3D ticket price for more of an ‘experience.’ Without the converting of digital screens and projectors the cinema is unable to show big budget money making films such as Avatar and most recently The Avengers, which has jumped to the 11th Highest Grossing Film of All Time

In 2007, at the New York Film Festival, Director Sidney Lumet, known for Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Prince of the City, Q & A,) discussed what he believed was going to be the inevitable shift to hi-definition production and making of film. 

 Sidney Lumet weighs in what he perceives an an inevitable shift from celluloid to hi-def digital production at a Q&A following a press screening of his latest film "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" at the 2007 New York Film Festival. Video uploaded by RabbiReport

If Sidney Lumet is right then is Croydon Plaza Cinema just delaying the inevitable?

In 2012 a documentary called Side By Side will be released. This documentary explores the debate of Digital verses Film, by talking to the people who know the most, the directors. For more information on the film click here.

Documentary Side by Side Trailer. Uploaded by Documentary News

In the video below, director Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds, Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction and director David Lynch shares his thoughts on digital and traditional film.

Video uploaded by compovision

David Lynch talks about his experiences with digital video versus film at the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring, MD.

Digital Cinema is aesthetic more pleasing. With the traditional films, the image projected onto the screens can have scratches and jumps. This is eradicated with digital film. The process of projecting and shipping digital film is much easier too, as shown below. It is cheaper for make, produce, ship and project, it is easier as well. But is it like what  Quentin Tarantino, do we lose some of the magic? Or will it be like all the other cinema evolutions and we will hardly notice the difference?

Register your thoughts on the poll below.

Do you notice the difference between digital and traditional film?

Thursday, 31 May 2012

The 7:30 Report - Independent cinemas fight back

Above is The 7:30 Report segment on Independent Cinemas as mentioned in the post Independent Cinema. The report talks at length about the digital revolution and the positive impact they have on independent cinemas

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

From Film to Digital is a documentary shot by Full Sail students at a Orlando area movie theater as they were undergoing the process of converting their projectors to DLP. Uploaded by

Above is a clip of a student film documentary, documenting the change of their local cinema to digital projectors and the changes for the workers in the projection booth. 

This move to digital is not a move Croydon Cinema is willing to make. Tom Schouten, the cinema’s Managing Director has stated that his biggest aim is ‘To survive in the cut throat transition from film to digital screening formats.’