Posts filed under 'Entertainment Industry'

Midland Drive-In Theatre in the Newspaper

The Midland Mirror recently did an article on the Midland Drive-In Theatre. It’s a little bit inaccurate, but was great publicity. Mark Harrison who does photography for the Mirror, and who used to work at the Roxy Twin Theatre in Midland, came out in early July to take the pictures and probably provided some input to the story for Jennifer Harker. Thanks Mark.

Here’s a link to the online article. There was also a mini drive-in info article inset in the one specifically about the Midland Drive-In. There’s also a picture of me in the print version of the Midland Drive-In article.

Midland Mirror: Daryl in the Midland Drive-In Theatre Projection Booth

1 comment July 31st, 2008

New Projection Lenses at Midland Drive-In

As of Saturday night I’ve installed new lenses at the Midland Drive-In. The new ISCO lenses replace the probably 40 or more year old lenses which included Ultra Panastar adjustable anamorphic lenses. Bottom line… there have apparently been some improvements in projection lens technology in the last few decades (go figure!). The new lenses result in a brighter, sharper, more colourful picture. More importantly, I can now focus the anamorphic (cinemascope, scope) picture left to right all the way across the screen (the old right projector scope lens couldn’t achieve anywhere near decent side to side focus).

Added to the new digital FM stereo transmitter I installed before we opened this year and the DTS Digital Sound I installed in late August last year, we’ve probably got one of the best combined picture and sound presentations of any drive-in in the country. We’re definitely not your father’s crappy sound, lousy picture drive-in. The drive-in is one of my hobbies and my hobbies aren’t crap!

1 comment June 8th, 2008

Determining reel number by reading DTS timecode on 35mm film

In case you ever find yourself the lucky recipient of a used 35mm print with leaders that may or may not be on the correct reels and with no ID frames to verify which reel is which you would be well served to know how to read the DTS timecode. 99.99% of mainstream film has DTS timecode on it. Some smaller art/other films have it too.

The last four bits of the 20 bits between mark positions indicate the reel number. Look for a series of frames that the first bit toggles between 0 and 1 and use one of those frames. If you find a frame that has more than one bit difference it’s the title serial number.

A one is indicated by a transition (a small white dot before or after a slightly longer black spot) while a 0 is indicated by no transition (a long white OR black spot). A sync mark is indicated by the combination of a really long white and black spot.

Decoded DTS timecode

2 comments June 8th, 2007

John Ferguson; You Suck

I went to the pre-season opener against Buffalo last night at the ACC. The Leafs pretty much sucked. I’m not a fan of Paul Maurice, or a fan of changing up a huge percentage of your players over one summer. If you’re going to make huge changes like that, you’d better do it right. Once again, it’s already starting to look like it’s not working out as well as Ferguson proclaimed it would. I know, it’s the first pre-season game, but the Leafs were really really bad. With very few shots on Buffalo’s goal during the second period, I even started to get bored. Getting shut out 4-0 isn’t good. Of course, I’d be crazy if I had thought that the Sabres weren’t going to kick the Leafs asses.

Anyway, if it continues like this, it’ll further enhance my disappointment in my two favourite Leafs organization members; Pat Quinn and Tie Domi. Quinn, in constant conflict with Ferguson, is an awesome coach when given the latitude to get things done. Tie Domi, is the most down to earth, kindest hockey player who has ever set foot in Toronto in my lifetime. If Quinn was still coach, Domi would have never been forced to either be traded or retire. Today he announced his retirement and his joining of some TSN program. Maybe it’s for the best of the Leafs, but in my opinion, if they’re going to lose, they might as well be entertaining, and entertaining Pat and Tie are. Heck, I’d rather they be entertaining than as boring as many of the American teams have become.

In any case, there’s no one more responsible for the current, and recent, success (or lack thereof) of the Leafs than John Ferguson. I can only hope that he’s the next to go.

BTW… I sat in section 314 right in front of the “Ice Box”. Probably the best seats you can get for $80 (or less).

Add comment September 19th, 2006

People, the public and line-ups

I’ve always known that if you want to identify the most self-centred assholes in society all you have to do is ask people to wait in line. Even knowing that, this week I was surprised at just how little some people care about others.

Friday night, back at the drive-in theatre again, I found the theatre owner, who was in the box office selling tickets at the time, having a stroke. Even though about 50 cars had gone through, nobody had bothered to mention this to the staff or call for help. When I arrived one did have time to immediately complain that the line was moving to slow and that they were going to miss the movie. I, of course, ignored them and opted to call an ambulance instead.

So in anticipation of the ambulance actually wanting to get within a block of the scene, I start asking people to move their cars out of the way of the entrance. There were cars all over blocking the road because, of course, it’d be just to easy to line up orderly (this is a problem that has been getting worse over the last few years — see this post) so that you’re not blocking traffic. So I’m going car to car explaining that we’re making room to get an ambulance through and what do no less than five people tell me (all people who thought lining up their car in the middle of the road was the best plan of action)? “I’m not moving, I might loose my spot in line and miss the start of the movie.” Two people even told me that if we hurried up and sold tickets faster that they’d be soon out of the way. Both of these people could see the guy lying on the ground waiting for his ride in the ambulance. So, as many many years of dealing with the public has taught me, if you really need them to do something and being really nice about it hasn’t worked, swear at them. Cursing ensued and I’m now positive my Irish ancestors would be proud.

So the ambulance arrives and the attendants start doing their thing. In order to keep the owner from trying to get up off the ground to go back to selling tickets I start selling tickets, which is something I do really fast. Nonetheless, as each person pulls up (right beside the ambulance no less) nearly 25% of the women proceed to bitch me out about wanting them to pay for the full ticket price ($7). After all, they’ve missed at most an additional 8 minutes of the first movie of the double bill that they’ve already shown up late for. All of this in ear-shot of the guy on the ground, who the complainers can plainly see less than 10 feet from their car. Some of these people are lucky it’s too hard to climb through the box office window to kick their ass. Others vow never to come back to the drive-in again. I thank them all, the drive-in will be a better place without them.

Intermission comes, no more complaints, except for a few waiting for popcorn (line-up!). Interestingly, and this has happened a few times in the past to me, a number of the husbands of wives who previously bitched me out find me to apologize. Weird. Not one guy complained to me the entire night. Maybe they all thought “that could be me”?
Two nights later, back in the box office again (I’m now working every night until the owner’s family can take over), people start stopping their cars in the middle of the road in the line-up instead of lining up down one side of the road like any sane person would do (and have done for 25+ years). No more than 3 minutes after me going out to the road to tell people not to stop in the middle of the road like an idiot, and being told “what do you know”, one of these cars gets hit by another car going by. What do I know? That you’ll probably get hit by another car if you park in the middle of the road. Especially a back road where people normally do twice the speed limit, including the Southern Georgian Bay OPP.

Another two nights later, Tuesday now, people start lining up on the wrong side of the road (the correct side is obvious from the 50 cars lined up there) again. Once again, I go out to the road to tell them to stop being idiots and to proceed to the back of the line like everyone else. I even tell them that blocking the road isn’t a good idea since getting an emergency vehicle in would be, as I found out earlier in the week, next to impossible, and that you’ve got a good chance of getting hit by another car when stopped illegally in the middle of the road, which I’ve seen many times. Some responses, “That won’t happen” and “I’m not worried about that”. When I respond that, regardless, it’s not very nice of them to cut ahead of 50 other cars in line I get responses of “I know what car was at the end of the line when I got here, I’ll pull in then” and “I don’t care, they should have shown up earlier”. WTF! If you knew where the end of the line is why didn’t you go there. Cutting in at what you’ve determined to be the appropriate time isn’t going to go over well with the good people who got in line. This isn’t grade school anymore, no more of my buddy showed up early to save me a spot crap. And to the person who declared they just don’t care. Why don’t you go see your movies somewhere else. I know that you’ll be the one giving the staff a hard time about stupid things later and they just don’t need it. If you do decide to come back why don’t you show up on time.
People are good. The public is not. Line-ups separate the public from people.

Add comment August 17th, 2006

Drive-In Theatres; a magnet for mosquitoes and idiots alike

So once again, even though I told everyone there was no way I was going to again, I got suckered into running the Midland Drive-In twice a week. When I begrudgingly agreed to, I said that I’d probably regret it. What was I thinking — probably?

A lot of things have changed at the drive-in. For starters one of the co-owners (Paul), the one who actually ran it, died last summer (which was the only reason I ran it on weekends last summer). As a result nearly all of the best staff immediately quit. Those who didn’t quit after he died had already quit before he died after his brother (the other owner) took over and expected them to actually work when they were there. I can’t say I blame them. Having your entire night screwed up for at best three hours pay at minimum wage certainly sucks. I know that, if I was looking to make money, I’d rather just go out or stay home and do consulting work or whatever else I’ve got on the go than waste my time at the drive-in. Luckily for ‘them’ I like to put on a show every once in a while and just do it for fun.

Anyway… I swear that every year both the customers and the staff gets dumber. Maybe one group is wearing off on the other. Maybe they’re both wearing off on each other in a vicious circle of idiocy.

Stupid comments from customers that stand out:

  • Why don’t you have matinees?
  • Do the movies play in the order listed in the program?
    You mean the program that says, “The first feature is… the second feature is… third feature is…?
  • What’s a four feature? Why does it run so late?
  • I left my ignition on for four hours, why is my battery dead?

Stupid comments from staff that stand out:

  • Why don’t we have matinees?
  • I didn’t feel like making any more popcorn.
    Did you tell that to the 150 people standing in front of the empty popcorn machine?
  • Can I have every holiday weekend off this summer?
  • Can I drink while I’m here?

Between all the stupidity and the generally crappy movies I’m becoming quite numb. At least the constant mosquito bites won’t bother me as much. Tip for movie goers: if you plan on swatting the mosquitoes, don’t wear a shirt you don’t want completely covered in your own blood.

Add comment July 27th, 2006


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