Fans of Doris Duke Theatre’s dynamic film program have even more reason to get their cinema fix at the museum—last week the theater installed a new Digital Cinema Projector (DCP).

“A lot of our programming is community based,” says theater manager Taylour Chang. “So the focus has been less on the quality of the image than the content—in a way it didn’t matter whether we screened Blu-Ray or DVD because ultimately we would screen something based on how well it would engage a community and foster discussion. But now we want to also make a high-quality viewing experience a priority. It’s great to now have both the highest possible quality standards as well as maintaining that community focus. For a lot of other theaters, it’s one or the other.”

The projectionists are now completing training on the new equipment, which goes into use this week, bringing the theater to the latest frontier of projection technology. “It’s the industry standard now,” says Chang, “and it also allows us greater access to content since most distribution companies are primarily distributing through the DCP format now. And the quality of the lens and projector is amazing.”

The old and new projectors side by side

The old and new projectors side by side

The new Barco 8S DCP also rounds out the museum’s unmatched collection of projectors, including the last vertical feed (a.k.a. negative pulldown) 35mm film projector in use on the island. Also on hand is the existing digital projector. This set-up ensures that the theater can show any format of film, be they from foreign countries with older technology or innovative filmmakers and distributors.

“This means instead of discs, files on hard-drives can be ingested directly into the projector, and we can program playlists, blackouts, and lighting cues all into one,” explained museum AV manager Eric Kelekolio during one training session, The new system allows projectionists to provide a seamless presentation to moviegoers. “The colors are also a lot nicer and the picture is superior to the old projector,” Kelekolio added.

Finally, the new projector completes a technical overhaul that has been quietly underway for the past couple years during which the surround-sound system was upgraded and recalibrated to provide balanced audio, and a sleek new Harkness Hall projection screen was installed.

Be on the lookout for gorgeous new screenings coming soon to this theatre near you!

See the schedule of upcoming films.