Paramount Theatre in Alberni enters digital age

Alberni's Paramount Theatre is showing movies in digital now and the quality is as good as Nanaimo's, the owner says.

Paramount Theatre manager Scott Fournier plays the first movie using the theatre's new digital projector on Tuesday night. The enhanced picture

Paramount Theatre manager Scott Fournier plays the first movie using the theatre's new digital projector on Tuesday night. The enhanced picture

New picture quality and better sound are ushering in a new era for movie-goers at the Paramount Theatre in Port Alberni.

The theatre is the owner of a new Christie model digital movie projector, which Landmark Cinemas  delivered to the venerable Argyle Street venue this week.

More than 200 people were treated to the new picture and sound at a movie on Tuesday night.

“You’re the first audience in the Valley to see a movie on the new projector,” Fournier said to the unsuspecting crowd.

The picture quality and sound are second to none.

“It’s the same as you’d find in Nanaimo theatres,” Fournier said.

“We hope to keep more people here instead of having them go to movies there.”

The new system also means that Port Alberni will get a better movie selection faster, Fournier said.

The industry is moving away from film, which Fournier has used since he started with the Paramount 16 years ago.

“Pretty soon they’ll stop making movies with film so the transition had to be made,” he said.

Seven large film reels had to be used just to show one movie.

Now the same movie can be shown using a VHS cassette-size container.

The Paramount is the last theatre on the Island to be outfitted with the new projector. Landmark outlets in Courtenay and Campbell River have already made the changeover.

Fournier showed his last film movie on Monday night.

“I’m excited that we’re going digital but it’s sad too that it’s the end of an era,” Fournier said.

“But you won’t see scratchy crackling film anymore.”

Combined with the theatre’s new silver screen the theatre will have the versatility to bring in 3-D movies.

The move has been in the works for more than a year and the projector was delivered to the theatre.

“It weighed a tonne and took us a long time just to get it up the stairs and into the projector room,” Fournier said.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com