Funny New Year’s gifts at the start of 2020! A gift that risks having as many upheavals as the arrival of digital in theaters. Even if this progresses with velvet pace, the new screens are anchored in the room with the consequence the pure and simple disappearance of the projection that we know (even with its changes since the origins of the 7th Art). And therefore of a certain idea of ”Paradiso” cinema.
The Parisian cinema Pathé Beaugrenelle has just acquired an Onyx screen. A super TV with 96 individual LED panels mechanically assembled, the final dimension of 10.4 mx 5 m is not far from the surface of standard screens. With this avowed desire to be completely free from the projector in favor of what is similar to a giant TV. What about the profession of projectionist, who remember it has already taken quite a lot for his grade.
No more taking stock, confronting a problem of brightness … Contrast and other twists set for life – well that’s what is said -. We are promised a perfect image world. And the sound? It would become virtual in operation. Too random for Pathé. For now, we keep the good old speakers, waiting for irrefutable proof that the sound does not become a technical reflection of the image. It seems that the other advantage of the system is the relative speed of installation. Four weeks from the first to the last nut. If the project implemented is experimental for the moment (although! Several rooms are already equipped: twenty around the world).
At what price does this technological innovation? Average price: 14.60 euros. This is now equivalent to a monthly subscription to Netfix. In seeking perfection and the absolute happiness of the spectator, one can kill the pleasure. Onyx reminds us that sometimes we are not too bad in our living room facing a large television or video projector (1). We are moving away from the original cinema – understand the disappearance of the cabin for a “television” broadcast of the film. Hopefully the process does not become the norm but I am pessimistic. Especially since another trend is taking shape and spreading in many rooms with the broadcasting of opera, soccer match, rock concert. In a way, a multi-service space is organized on a large scale. A supermarket that will have erased all specificity, all pleasure for the sole purpose of the moment consumed. And yet let us not forget, and whatever the technology developed since the beginning of the 7th Art, that cinema is above all a ray of light in a dark room. A ray that lives to the rhythm of the density of the projected images. Is it the same with the Onyx screen?
(1) words collected at the exit of the Pathé cinema in Lyon